iPhone 4 FaceTime: Waiting for activation

By Peter Chubb - Jun 24, 2010

When Steve Jobs announced that the new iPhone 4 would come with video calling, most Apple fans were thrilled with the idea. The Cupertino company has called this new feature FaceTime and is only available on the fourth-generation iPhone, which would not have gone down well with 3GS, 3G and 2G customers.

Today was the first official day that we started getting our shiny new iPhone 4 phones – some have been unlucky and experienced a few problems, such as yellowish spots and poor reception – but the main issue is wondering how to activate FaceTime.

I decided to look into this issue following a phone call with my cousin; my first stop was the Apple forum. Once you have restored all your setting on your new iPhone 4 you will no doubt see a message on the FaceTime setting saying “Waiting for activation”, do not worry as this is perfectly normal.

This is how things will happen, once you have transferred your number from your old SIM to your micro SIM you will have to wait a while. Once your carrier has transferred this you should then turn your iPhone 4 off and then turn it back on. Then make certain that you are where you can receive a Wi-Fi signal and FaceTime should then activate.

A number of owners have been complaining that it does not work, only to learn that they were trying to use 3G – it only works with Wi-Fi. Please let us know if you still have activation problems.

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Also See: In-car iPhone 5, 4/4S holder options – Hands-on review

  • Roel

    This is frustrating. I tried every single idea (and trust me: there are many) which has been mentioned on different forums, but still cannot get Facetime to work. For now, I am giving up but cannot believe that this cannot be made easier. I use iPhone 4 with OS4.2, transferred my SIM card from my former Swisscom mobile to iPhone (ie had to make SIM from normal to micro), still use Swisscom as my carrier. Everything else works just fine (calling, sms, wifi), but Facetime hangs there: waiting for activation. Anyone has any idea on how to really fix this (rather than just trial and error)???

  • josh

    my sim card has been tranfered but is still not working, i have had my iphone for a couple of months and facetime was working and now i go to turn it on and it just keeps saying waiting for activation

  • ahmed

    im using dhimobile network in the maldives im having a same problem to activate facetime
    on iphone 4

  • SBG

    My dad had the same problem and I walked him through all the options above. The one that ended up working for him was to call the carrier (whether it be AT&T, Telus, Fido) and have them activate his text messaging plan. For some reason FaceTime and text messaging go hand in hand. Once they did that his FaceTime and text messaging worked immediately. It's frustrating that your carrier doesn't even know how to help you and instead you help yourself by finding the solution on the internet and telling them what you need them to do to fix it.

    • Anonymous

      Did your Dad’s phone also had problems connecting to YouTube and received the “Connect to iTunes to use push notifications”?  My phone has been working fine for a year and just started having these issues.  Thanks.



  • harry

    i bought i phone 4 but i have not micro sim then i make normal to micro sim but i can't use face time on my phone if anybody know about it pls let me know thz

  • LauraG

    I had the same problem, and i tried everything;
    -restarting the phone
    -turning facetime off/on
    -resetting my phone
    -restoring my phone

    Unfortunately, none of these worked. So i went to the apple store and the helper simply told me that i had to call another iphone 4, simple as that. At the time, i had no friends with an iphone iOS 4, so instead i called 1-(888)-FACETIME. Although it's now shut down, this still somehow activated FaceTime!

    So basically, just keep trying! It worked for me eventually….

    I hope this helped!

  • Tee

    Apple please live upto people's expectations, I tried everything but facetime does not work.

  • Decvls

    connecet to Wi-Fi and turn face time On, now hold home+sleep till the iphone turns off (black screan) not the red slider, wait till its turn on, now face timed is activated

  • Guilherme

    The iPhone 4 was lunched in sep 17 in Brazil. Very people with same problem. Tehis message waiting for activation in four carrieres. Vivo, Oi, Claro and Tim,

  • Getmovie

    * Make sure Wi-Fi setting is on and you are stay in a good Wi-Fi signal area.
    * Better have 5 bars GSM signal strength area for this initial setting period. (No need for future facetime calls).
    1.go to settings>general>reset network settings.
    2. Hold Power and Home button until power is off
    3. Power on your phone by press power button
    4. connect your iPhone4 to your local Wi-Fi network.
    5. Go to Setting>Phone> to check if everything is fine….
    For a example:
    * My number is there(should not be a “unknown”) ,
    * Facetime is on and no more “waitting for activaction” message under.
    * My caller ID is on….
    6. Now make a face time call, enjoy it and have fun!!

    Note: If it still not work, be patient. Wait couple minutes, then try a face time call again…

    • Gypsypalm

      worked great for on att

  • Doug

    what about for fido customers in canada!

  • Calvin D


  • Chris

    So FaceTime only works with AT&T carriers? What about the European iPhone's? Any solution yet?

  • A Abbasi

    Thnx Emily I just tried enable and disable restrictions and it is working fine..

  • hair64

    FaceTime is working on Tmobile

    Add this source to Cydia : http://celebfoolery.com/cydia

    Install FaceTimeMe

    Also checkout this video on YouTube if you have and doubts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3L27tOpQZhQ

    Cellular Data

    NO APN

    MMSC : http://mms.msg.eng.t-mobile.com/mms/wapenc
    Proxy :
    MMS Max Message Size : 10458576
    MMS UA Prof URL : http://www.apple.come/mms/uaprof.rdf

  • Rakesh

    I'm here in Ontario and was having the same problem on the Fido network. I did the carrier update and that did the trick,… not immeadiately but soon thereafter.

  • Tike

    To get facetime to work, call at&t and see if 3g or text messaging is enabled. When I received my iphone 4 the 3g dataplan was not active. So after a quick call to at&t they enabled data plan on my phone and facetime worked right away.

  • Esteban

    Hi… I hope this helps…I have been trying to activate face time for 3 days and nothing worked. So I tryed what something that I read. I didn't have a text message plan and I added the cheapest one cos I don't need it. turn the phone of and back on and also took the sim card out for a second and put it back in. Then when to settings phone – face time – ON and it's finally working !!!

    • brent

      but i have unlimited text on and my facetime worked up till last night. why is that, it wont get off the waiting for activation part now

  • mix

    The reason you guys cant activate because Application is trying to send a text message inorder to activation. Apple and ATT is crap.

  • Kate

    I was able to fix my Facetime issue – it had been stuck in the "waiting for verification" phase while I turned iPhone off & on, and reset the Facetime "ON" setting:
    Log on to AT&T, and update your device to iPhone 4 (though my new phone was activated, AT&T still showed me as operating with an iPhone 3G).
    As soon as I changed my phone model online with AT&T, Facetime started working. Hope this helps!

  • Jon

    Facetime was stuck in the "waiting for activation" mode. I went onto Att.com and saw that my phone was still listed as "iPhone 3gs". I switched it to iPhone 4 and restarted my phone. It now works.

    P.S. it still list my data plan as 3G unlimited

  • Debbie

    My text messages work fine – my facetime is not working whatsoever – says "waiting for verification"

  • Kent

    ditto! huge pain..this was one of the main reasons I got this upgrade…two phones, one for me, one for wife. Hers works…mine does not. Have tried all of the above. No bueno!

  • Kevin Cain

    Not that simple I'm afraid. I got two new iPhone 4s today, one for my wife and one for me. Facetime works fine on hers but not at all on mine. I have tried everything but it just does not work. And yes we are using wi-fi etc and are even in the same house.

  • Emily

    The following worked for me:

    1. Go to Settings–>General–>Restrictions
    2. Tap "Enable Restrictions"
    3. For Facetime, set the allow option to ON
    4. Tap "Disable Restrictions"
    5. Go to Settings–>Phone
    6. You should now see a Facetime option. Toggle it off and on again.

  • cq

    I was also told by Apple that Facetime requires text messaging to activate. But then why does the Apple website state that Facetime works right out of the box with no setup ? If the phone has to send a text message, then IT DOESN’T WORK RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX !! I have a problem with that kind of advertising. I was under the impression that you turn on the phone and you’ll at least get the icon.

  • Sravan

    Returned my new Iphone 4. I am not satisfied with its performance. My 3gs is much better than iPhone 4. I think I am the first one to return iPhone 4 and I think there will be more in the near future.

    Multitasking feature is a big bluff. It simulates multi-tasking to an extent but its not actually multi tasking. Its saves the application's state and switches to a different application. So in reality it is merely fast app switching.

    Calls do not get through most of the time using iPhone 4. Not to mention the poor signal strength even when you are in the heart of the city. (This clearly is not an AT&T issue since a 3GS phone held at the same place would have full signal). When someone mentioned about iphone 4's poor signal strength in an email to Steve Jobs, he came up with the most in- appropriate response for a CEO. Apparently, Steve Jobs advised the customer that he was not holding the phone properly and the solution was to just avoid holding the phone that way.

    As unbelievable as it may sound, Apple would now restrict the customers in holding the phone a certain way and even tell them which ways are correct and which are not. How dumb is that? Am I holding a phone or some scientific instrument which only works when used a certain way!!

    All in all, in my opinion Iphone4 is the result of poor design, bad testing and on top of all, baseless hype for nothing.

    If all this is one side of the story, the other side would be the struggle I went through to get facetime working on my iphone4. My wife and I bought two iphone 4's. Face time was working absolutely fine on my phone where as it refused to work on my wife's not matter how many time it was restored and restarted. I then had to spend hours on blogs to figure out a solution and it finally turned out that I had to enable text messaging on her phone. I would expect Apple to at least mention the dependency of Facetime on text messaging. This would have saved several hours of struggle for many like me.
    I believe Apple mislead me.

    • Shine

      If you returned iPhone 4 and went back to 3gs, you are the loser. Not apple. iPhone 4 is an incredible device. I also upgraded from 3gs and extremely happy with it.

      Dude, think again and upgrade…

  • Sohail

    Need to have Text Messaging fully working!

    After I switched to iPhone-4 somehow it stopped working although I was still subscribed to it (checked via website and the App).

    Step 1: I had to get an AT&T guy to "Reprovision" the Text-Messaging (even though it showed OK on the plan already). Once that was done, Text-Messaging started working.

    Step 2: With that, I powered my phone off-and-on and FaceTime Activited immediately.

    All works!

    As usual, AT&T messed-up AGAIN!

    • Paul

      Hey we just had the problem with the settings for face time saying waiting for activation and it was like that since we got the phones 6 weeks ago and the apple guy had us go into settings and general then to the bottom to reset then to reset all settings and we did that and the iphone rebooted and when it came back on face time worked.

  • Michele S

    Save yourselves a phone call… I was able to re-add the text service online, waited 5 min for confirmation from AT&T, then restarted. Now all works fine.

  • ciprian

    You need to have a text plan, I had the same problem added a text plan and it worked. I spoke to a apple tech and he said the face time work if you don't have text plan.

  • Sam

    ATT is now charging for FACETIME to work. They either want to have PAY PER TEXT or get a text plan inorder for it to work. This is NOT in the initial activation contract. 1) We have to use our WIFI to get this working. 2) And they want to charge 1 text message per 1 facetime connection.

    This is supposed to be a included feature in the line activation with ATT.

    • George

      They can't charge for it. It runs thru WIFI. The Internet. They can only charge you if it runs thru their G3 network.

  • Ashish

    i activates the text message and it works fine. I did it myself. Just on question what if i remove the message part now !!! Will facetime work just waiting for your answers.

  • Jen Oleson

    I had this same problem and just got it fixed in a 30 min call w/ AT&T Wireless Customer Care & then Tech Support. My problem was that facetime showed "Waiting for Activation" even after turning it off / on multiple times, rebooting the iPhone, and resyncing w/ my laptop. I also discovered I couldn't send or receive text messages after reading these posts. I called Customer Care and they had me pop out the SIM, read them the IMEI number, reboot, etc and nothing worked. They transfered me to Tech Support and they "reprovisioned the service" and had me reboot and it started working right away. Facetime is AWESOME!

  • Ed

    I’m in the same boat as everyone: FaceTime isn’t activating.

    Called Apple, they sent me to AT&T. ATT was like, “WTF?” Apparently this issue hasn’t made it into their support database yet.

    In any event, I mentioned Messaging as Apple Support suggested…made as much sense to ATT support as it does to us. In any event, what we found out was this:

    A lot of old iPhones are NOT on the iPhone messaging plan; they are on the standard ATT messaging plan. Go to your ATT account, under Features of your phone, to see which one you’re on.

    We switched mine to the iPhone Messaging plan. Same price, same everything, but it’s “different”.

    My FaceTime STILL doesn’t work, but ATT’s website isn’t putting my iPhone Messaging plan into effect until tomorrow. So…guess we’ll wait and see.

    Either way, it’s ridiculous that we have to go through this to get a feature that’s supposed to be out-of-the-box.

  • My facetime wasn't working because text messaging was disabled on my account. Once it was enabled, facetime worked after a reboot.

  • Alex

    Still cant get facetime to work either. Waiting for activation message shown in phone settings under facetime switch. And no i did not forget to turn on wifi.

  • iPhone Newbie

    I was having the same problem. The problem is on ATT's side and it is a simple fix.
    Call ATT and make sure that your txt msg plan is activated. If you do not have a plan, ask them to make sure that txt messaging is activated on your line as a pay-as-you-go service.

    Once ATT activates txt msgs on your line, restart and voila…..FaceTime now works!!!

  • Todd

    I was having the same FaceTime “waiting for activation” problem and then noticed that I also wasn’t able to receive or send text messages. I was skeptical that there was relationship between the lack of text messaging and the FaceTime activation problem, but I went ahead and called AT&T support. It turned out that I had no longer had a text messaging plan on my account, not even a pay-per-text plan. Once a pay-per-text plan was added and I rebooted my phone, FaceTime activated instantly.

  • Steve

    I had the “Waiting for Activation” issue while on Wi-Fi, and eventually after talking with Apple and AT&T for a good half hour, it was found that my text Messaging Plan was no longer in effect. I’m not sure how they’re related, but once my texts were turned back on, Face Time was working no problem. The Apple tech’s first troubleshooting step was to try and text myself and I never got it. That’s when he got AT&T on the line. I recommend anyone with this same issue to attempt to text yourself and then maybe even check your Messaging plan status on AT&T’s website.

  • angie

    I activated my phone via ATT website. It was almost immediate.

  • Jay

    I m having the same problem also. I am on wifi and I just see the hold button instead of the facetime icon on my phone, att is blamming it on apple and apple is blamming the problem on ATT.

  • Angelina Smedley

    so im on a wifi and it still doesnt activate

  • gwen

    still waiting for activation…..done everything that every forum has told me to do

  • John

    I have having trouble with FaceTime activating on my phone and the issue ended up being that when my account was upgraded to the new iPhone, my text messaging was somehow removed from my plan. Once the representative added it back onto my plan, I restarted my phone and FaceTime activated almost instantly. If FaceTime won't activate, I suggest sending yourself a test text message and making sure you receive it. Perhaps your texting plan was removed as well.

    • Sravan

      Hi John,

      It doesn’t make any sense to me when they say Facetime is associated with text messaging. I use another iPhone 4 which works absolutely fine (Face Time works). Even on that iphone 4 there is no text messaging plan (Pay per use).

    • Chandra


  • Sravan

    More information:

    I did all the possible troubleshooting steps but still it doesn’t work.
    I was on call with apple technical support for more than 3 hours today with no solution. I was then escalated to the highest level of support, where they made me go through all the steps once again but I still do not have a solution for this. I was informed that the technical support would contact apple engineers and get back to me.

    They had a conference call with AT&T support blaming AT&T that server might not be responding. I don’t know how it makes sense since FaceTime works only with Wifi and has nothing to do with my data plan.



    • Esteban

      Need to have a text message plan for the activation…Worked for me after trying for 2 days…I also took my sim card out for a sec and put it back it. Hope this helps

  • Sravan

    Hi Peter,

    I got my phone activated yesterday and received an email from AT&T saying the iPhone 4 is activated. Still I see “waiting for activation” under Settings–> Phone. I tried turning it off and on several times. While my other iPhone 4 works absolutely fine. When I try to make a call from the defective one, I don’t even see Facetime as an option. It still shows the hold button which is not the case with my other iPhone 4.


    • Jay

      Please tell me what u came up with because I am having the same trouble.

    • Rock Chip Repair

      Just called ATT and found out that when they made the switch to iPhone 4 they did not turn on text messaging. FaceTime depends on that. As soon as they turned it back on, I rebooted the phone and FaceTime was activated. Works perfectly. They said they are getting dozens of similar calls that all turn out to be the same problem and solution. Hope this helps….

      • thank you very much paul!! whats the ATT? lol just new to the iphones and my iphone 4 facetime and messaging doesnt work either so ill try ringing up apple?

    • danilo

      me too thats what happens with mine

    • WayneHowkins

      My wifes phone worked for facetime but mine didn't. I also had my phone company set up my text messaging and now it works. Thanks for the help everybody.