SOLVED – iMessage Activation error: “An error occurred during activation. Try again.”

February 1st, 2014

While going through the process of migrating to the iPhone 5c, I got the error message: “iMessage Activation An error occurred during activation. Try again.”

iMessage Activation error after restoring iPhone Backup - An Error occurred during activation. Try Again.

I was also missing incoming iMessages that I could see coming into another device.

My situation is unique in that I am not recovering lost data or a corrupted iPhone. I backed up my old iPhone to iTunes on my computer, and then restored the iTunes Backup onto my new iPhone. There were also errors installing many of the Apps onto my phone. But if you’ve received this error while trying to restore your iPhone backup, this confirmed solution will work for you!

Note: this error has been reported as being quite common for iOS7. Here’s the solution!

What I tried (that didn’t work):

  • Try Restore from Backup again
  • Turn iMessage off, wait a minute or two, turn iMessage back on
  • Turn iPhone off (hold lock button, then swipe), wait, turn iPhone back on
  • Hard Reset iPhone (hold Home and Lock button)
  • Login out and in of iTunes/App Store
  • Re-entered WiFi password

What worked:

  1. If you don’t already have a backup from your old phone stored in iTunes, create one. Plug your old iPhone into iTunes and click Back Up Now.
  2. Plug in your new iPhone to your computer.
  3. In iTunes click “Restore iPhone.” You will be notified that you are about to lose all of the data on your new iPhone. That’s ok so Continue.
    It may tell you that you haven’t backed up your phone. This is referring to your new phone so thats OK. Just make sure you have a backup handy from your old phone.
  4. Allow the Restore to complete, then set up your phone as a New iPhone. Sign into iCloud and iMessage. If you’ve gotten this far you’re in good shape!
  5. Now that you’ve set up your phone as a new iPhone, go back into iTunes and click Restore Backup.
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions and enter all your passwords as you go through the setup process. Make sure you don’t skip the steps to sign into iCloud or set up iMessage. Your iPhone should now work as expected and allow you to sign into iMessage.

Other Solutions:

They didn’t work for me, but other people have found success with these solutions.

  • Sign in and out of iMessage
  • Sign in and out of iCloud
  • Hard Reset (Hold Home +  Lock button for 10s)