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How to Make iMessage and Facetime Work When You Switch SIM Cards

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If there’s one thing we don’t love around here, it’s high roaming charges. We’re big advocates of taking phones on the road, of course, we just prefer not to pay a fortune to use them. That’s why we recommend unlocked smartphones and local SIM cards or eSIMs for almost every traveler.

Cheap data connections like these come in handy for many things when you’re traveling, and we recommend buying one if you’ll be in a country for any length of time. They’re typically readily available, straightforward to install, and let you use your phone just like you would at home.

Well, mostly. As it happens, iPhones can have a bit of trouble adjusting to their new location. While they’ll easily recognize the new SIM for voice calls and general data use, some features may not be quite so compliant. That’s especially true for iMessage and FaceTime.

iPhone 5 iMessages

This little kink first came to haunt me on a trip to Panama. Calling and WhatsApp happily accepted the new SIM, and I didn’t think to check other apps until a friend e-mailed me, a little bewildered, asking me why I wasn’t replying to my iMessages.

Puzzled, I checked the settings on my iPhone, only to find both iMessage and FaceTime were disconnected. Well, technically they were “waiting for activation”, the screen told me, but the end result was the same: they didn’t work.

It wasn’t a fluke, unfortunately, as the same thing happened on other trips: going back to Mexico after Panama, to Spain to visit family, to the US for work. I’m hardly the only one, either: I found plenty of complaints during one particularly-desperate attempt to fix the problem.

Of course, you don’t have to be traveling to encounter this problem. Swapping SIM cards at home (like when you switch to a new cell company) can cause exactly the same problem. Whether you’re in your kitchen or thousands of miles from home, it’s a major frustration.

Here’s what I’ve learned about fixing it.

Why It Happens

The iMessage bug doesn’t only happen when changing to an international number, but also if you change providers within the same country, and even when upgrading to a new operating system.

The first time it was widely reported was after the iOS 7 launch in 2013, and Apple admitted there was a bug preventing iMessage and FaceTime from working properly on both iPhones and iPads in certain situations. The company promised to have a fix ready for the next software update.

Alas, it didn’t, and users have continued to report problems ever since. For a decade now, iPhone and iPad users have been left to their own devices to find a cure.

Girls with iPhone

How To Fix It

There are a number of little tricks to try to fix the problem, but sadly no foolproof solutions. Here’s the simplified version, with the most successful approaches first. If one suggestion doesn’t work for you, just work your way down the list.

Use Your Email Address Instead of Your Phone Number

Probably at least partially in response to this issue, Apple introduced the ability to link your Apple ID email address with iMessage and Facetime. In the past, you could only use your phone number, which then became a problem when that number was no longer accessible. Like, for example, when swapping SIMs.

The problem is that by default, it’s your phone number–and only your phone number–that gets used when you first set up iMessage or Facetime. That’s why it’s worth checking how things are currently set up on your device(s), and adding your email address if it’s not there already.

This gives an additional way for messages and calls to get through, and could well solve your problem. You may need to start a new chat thread with people who’ve used your phone number for iMessage in the past, but that should be the only change you (potentially) need to make.

This simple guide outlines the process: it shouldn’t take more than about 20 seconds, even if you type slowly.

Have You Turned It Off and On Again? No, Really.

IT departments the world over have said it loud and clear: the first order of business when trying to fix anything tech-related is turning the device off and on.

This step is two-fold in this case. You should first try to turn iMessage and FaceTime off for a few minutes, then back on and check if the app has picked up the changes.

If that doesn’t help, turn off your iPhone or iPad, and fire it back up again. In most cases this will have done the trick. If it didn’t, keep reading.

Add a Little Credit

To confirm you own the number you’re trying to activate, Apple sends it a “silent” SMS. In some cases, that SMS can be chargeable, and if your SIM plan doesn’t include text messages and you don’t have any credit on your phone, that SMS will never arrive. End result? iMessage and Facetime don’t activate.

If you think this might be affecting you, try topping up your phone with a little extra credit, then restart it and check iMessage and Facetime again. Several readers have mentioned this approach works for them, so it’s worth trying!

Check You’re Still Reachable

This tip came in from a reader a couple of years ago, and it’s a good one. For them, iMessage and Facetime stopped working after they activated a second number on their eSIM overseas.

Go to Settings – Apple ID – Name, Phone Numbers, E-mail, and look at the “Reachable At” section. Make sure that the number you want to use for iMessage and FaceTime is listed. If it’s blank or incorrect, change/add it.

Next, go to Settings – FaceTime, and look under “You Can Be Reached by FaceTime At”. If the number you want to use isn’t selected (ie, doesn’t have a checkmark beside it,) tap on it to activate it.

Finally, go to Settings – Messages – Send and Receive, and look under “You Can Receive iMessages To and From.” Again, if the number you want to use doesn’t have a checkmark beside it, tap on it to activate it.

Set Date and Time to Automatic

It sounds silly, but something as simple as the wrong date and time can prevent iMessage and Facetime from activating correctly with your new SIM. That can be a common problem when you’re traveling, especially if you’ve manually set your timezone to be your home location.

The easiest way to ensure this isn’t a problem is switching the Date and Time settings to “automatic,” which can then force the messaging apps to work.

iPhone face down

Reactivate the Sim as If It Was New

When everything above has failed, go right back to the beginning: take out the SIM card and start afresh. Begin again with the process of setting up the new card, let the device recognize the number and check that iMessage and FaceTime have started working. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little push.

Reset Network Settings

Next up, it’s time to reset your network settings. This will wipe out all of your remembered Wi-Fi networks, clear cellular settings, and delete VPN configurations. Other data like photos and apps won’t be touched.

To do this:

  • Go to Settings – General – Transfer or Reset iPhone – Reset
  • Choose Reset Network Settings

It’s worth making a note or taking a screenshot of your SIM card’s settings before doing a network reset, in case you need to add back an APN or configure other settings again afterward.

Re-Link Your Apple ID

If the restart and reactivations didn’t fix things, it’s time to try signing out your Apple ID. Turn off iMessage or Facetime, then log out your Apple ID (from Settings – iTunes and App Store). Log back in again, then turn on iMessage or Facetime once again.

This will start the activation process. If it succeeds, you’ll see a list of previous email addresses and phone numbers that have been associated with the app at some stage. Go through and remove any that are no longer valid, or that you just don’t want to receive messages any longer.

Be careful doing this if you have two-factor authentication set up for your Apple ID, as you’ll need to be able to receive the verification code that’s sent when you log back in.

Before you start, make sure you have another Apple device with you (a Macbook or iPad, for example) that’s using the same Apple ID, or that you have another way of accessing text messages or calls to the phone number(s) you specified for two-factor authentication.

If the activation fails, and you’ll be staying in a particular country for a while and really want that SIM to work with iMessage etc, you can also restore your device through iTunes with the new SIM card inserted. It takes a little time, and please make sure you successfully run a full backup before you start, but this last resort usually cures all.

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Wait It Out

Finally, sometimes all you can do is wait things out. iMessage and FaceTime can take up to 24 hours to successfully activate. In this case, patience may truly be a virtue.

Has this messaging bug affected you when switching SIMs? Did you manage to get things working with one of these approaches, or some other way? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Judit Klein (hand with phone), Mizoguchi Coji (white iPhone on bench), Miki Yoshihito (girls with phones), William Hook (white iphone)

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  1. Avatar Pat McGuire says:

    Is it possible that, rather than a bug, it was engineered to be hostile when you unlock the phone and switch SIM cards? Do you think Apple benefits, perhaps indirectly, from those expensive travel packs?

    1. If you think Apple would devote resources to profiting off of travel packs, you don’t know how their business works. The distraction wouldn’t be worth the ROI. Take your conspiracies back to Fox News-land with you.

  2. Avatar Nick Bickford says:

    I few days ago I came to England from Canada for school. The first day, me and my classmates went to a Three store and all got pay as you go sim cards for our phones (that we had unlocked before we left Canada. Immediately after i set up my sim card I couldn’t turn on my iMessage without wifi, and when I had wifi, it would say “Activation Failed” when i tried to turn on my iMessage in my setting but it would still let me send iMessages from my email address but not my UK phone number.

    After being on the phone for hours with Apple tech support people, and Three tech support people, they literally gave me dozens of different possible solutions but nothing worked.

    This is the only article I’ve found that actually describes what has been going on with my phone. So far I’ve tried everything but “Reactivate the Sim as if it was new.” when i take my sim card out and put it back in it doesn’t prompt me to set anything up again it just reconnects me to cell phone service.

    Is there anyway that i can reset my sim card somehow or somehow get my phone to derecognize and recognize it again? My phone is driving me crazy.

    Also not I’m the only one in my class of 19 that traveled here who is experiencing this problem with the iPhone

    1. I’ve had this issue before where the phone didn’t have enough credit to send/receive text messages. So check to make sure you can do that, and also make sure can receive calls and when you make calls you that the phone number that shows up is what it should be. Also check in the Phone app, when you click Contact that it displays the correct number at the top.

      You might also have some weird APN settings set-up. So make sure you can also use data when you’re not connected to wifi.

      Hope that helps.

    2. Avatar Natalia Maida says:

      I have the exact same question and I’m having the exact same issues. Going crazy over here! I got a sim in Chile and Argentina with no problems and now I’m in Spain and all of the sudden this happens. I purchased my phone from Apple unlocked. It’s a 7 plus. PLEASE HELP ASAP!

  3. I traveled from Canada which is my home to Vietnam bought a SIM card and installed it. Everything worked except some people I could not iMessage.
    What fixed it for me:
    Go to settings/iMessage/send receive
    Touch your Apple ID at the top of the screen and “log out”
    Next log back in, a restart may or may not be necessary.
    This also worked in Macau China when iMessage failed to work properly.

  4. It’s truly pathetic, but this is the only good and complete solution I have found to this issue – I leave my USA SIM card at home, in the USA, in an old iPhone which remains on a charger the whole time I’m gone. Then, when I insert a new SIM card abroad, those in the USA who are texting me are still able to do so.

    When you don’t do this, when you get abroad and put in a new SIM, your old phone number becomes dis-associated with your Apple ID, and people texting you at home are no longer able to do so.

    It’s a debacle. For a “instant messaging” service linked to your Apple ID to have so much trouble keeping in touch with you… it’s pathetic.

    1. Avatar Josh Adams says:

      Thank you, Cameron. You’re speaking to a different issue than the one in this article, but it’s the situation I’ve encountered too: my US number gets replaced in iMessage when I swap in a foreign SIM. I was wondering if a single iMessage account could have 2 phone numbers at one time–specifically, an American number and a foreign number–and your answer implies that it can, which is great to know. And also, your solution to how to make that work is a good one to consider. In order to avoid the issue discussed in this blog post (iMessage not activating when you switch SIMs), I don’t want to switch the SIM card in my current phone, so I’m thinking of taking both my current phone and my old phone with me, keeping my US SIM card in my current phone and putting the foreign SIM card into my old phone then turning on hotspot on it and connecting to that from my current phone, on which I will turn off cellular data (so that I don’t get hit with huge roaming fees). That way, my current phone maintains its “ownership” of my US phone number in iMessage and so I should be good to go there, and then the other phone really is just a hotspot and I don’t really care what happens as regards iMessage on it. So I think that should work. I’ll have to carry 2 phones which is a bit of a pain, but it is what it is. At least I won’t have to go to/from the airport without a usable phone as I would if I had to leave my US SIM card home in a phone.

      1. Hey Josh, did that end up working out for you? I’m thinking of doing the same thing when I leave for Europe in a week.

    2. Avatar John Lang says:

      That’s exactly what happened to me last year when I was in Rome! Then when I tried to iMessage someone they saw my new Rome phone number and got very confused on who it was. It definitely deactivated my old phone number and no one recognized it. Maybe before I leave the US I should change to the email address associated with my Apple ID and receive iMessage that way?

  5. We had this same problem. It turns out that as part of the activation process, Apple sends a “silent” SMS message to your phone to verify you actually own the new number you are trying to activate (see If your new prepaid SIM doesn’t include SMS messaging in the initial fee, as happened to us with a prepaid Vodafone SIM in Spain, you’ll need to add money to your prepaid account to cover the cost of receiving SMS messages. We added 5 euro to our account to pay for SMS, turned iMessage off and on on the phone, and it immediately activated.

    We also found that we could not use a US credit card to pay for the Vodafone reload. But we found there are several websites, including a service from PayPal ( that let you use US cards to instantly reload phones around the world. This worked great for us.

  6. I just spent three hours trying to figure this out and absolutely agree with Rocky so thank you so much for the suggestion. Had reset everything, taken my sim out, logged in and logged out, set up a new apple id… anyway the solution was the “silent” apple sms comes at a fee so if you add a small amount of credit this will cover this and then enable the iMessage going forward
    – phew!

  7. I tried them all – finally I took the SIM card out and put it back in and it finally works again!! Thank you thank you thank you!!
    So simple to fix it ?

  8. Yeah the SMS thing worked for me too! Just go to the Vodafone website and “recargar” for 5 euros and then turn facetime and messages on and off and they work fine!

  9. There seems to be another glitch. If a conversation was started while I was on another SIM, and the other party is still using my old phone number for iMessage, there is apparently a switching problem. And it’s not obvious how to get the other party to switch how they’re contacting me. I don’t think any of these solutions will work for that. *scratching head*

    1. Phil, I’m having the same problem. Try deleting the old imessage conversation by hard clicking one of the messages, then click “more”, then click “delete all” in the upper left. That seemed to work for me.

  10. Avatar Charlie C says:

    You’re either missing a step in the article or the steps have been updated. When you go to Settings | Messages | Send & Receive | Apple ID | Change Location, you can set it to the country where you are located, and the iMessage chats will fix itself.

  11. Avatar Tony Hanson says:

    Slightly different problem……. I have given my unlocked iPhone 5s to my partner who has a 3 sim only account. The phone was being used with my Vodafone account. She got a new sim with her original number to fit the phone. She generally doesn’t use either app while roaming and has data turned off most of the time. FaceTime and iMessage video calls won’t work using wifi unless I remove the sim. Please tell me that there is a simple fix. Tried all of your suggestions.

  12. I think I’ve worked out from your article my problem. I’m in Indonesia and have a data only sim. I’m not getting the “silent text message”. Needed to initiate the process.

  13. I have a related problem. I traveled to the UK and used a SIM card in my iPhone when there. On return to the US, messages on my iPhone are working correctly. But on my desktop Mac, Messages app still shows certain contacts’s phone numbers in the UK format.

    I have tried all the standard approaches, turning phone off, signing out and back into Apple ID, checking languages and date/time settings in System Preferences, but the problem persists.

    1. If you start a new message thread with those contacts (rather than replying to an existing thread), does that change anything?

  14. I tried unlinking the Apple ID. I think that is what you called it. The problem is when I tried to sign back in it came up with two process verification or something like that and sent a verification code to my number in the US which isn’t currently working because I’m in the Philippines and using a SIM card from here. I had to do some recover your Apple ID type thing, putting in my new number here. But now I have to wait what it said could be days to sign back in. I just wish the article would have mentioned this possibility before I tried following the suggestion. It will all work out in the end. Just wanted to make that point. Because I wouldn’t have done it had I known.

    1. Good point, and sorry you had to go through this. It’s not a problem that’s been mentioned in the past, I guess because there are usually other ways to get the verification code — from a different Apple device, or having a secondary number set up. I’ve updated the article, though, to make people aware. Thanks for letting us know!

  15. I can only say what worked for me. I didn’t have any odd behaviors switching from Verizon => T-Mobile.

    Just that suddenly, my daughter’s (we all have iPhones) – iMessages from me to her switched to SMS …. I kept sending “test” text messages, but still the same, once you started typing in the bar, the arrow was GREEN, not BLUE which means SMS (as if you’re sending to an android phone). I could see prior messages were BLUE… (indicating iMessage)

    So, I thought about this article and all the things suggested. Then I thought… when we add a contact, we can tell it “mobile”, or “iphone”.. What if telling iOS EXPLICITLY that the phone # is an iPhone may force it to use iMessage (first)

    I changed her contact phone to ‘iphone’ and immediately sent another text message under the GREEN SMS ones …. and it turned BLUE….

    So, that’s my story, help your iPhone out by CATEGORIZING the phone as an iPhone to begin with… That’s what worked for me to force my iPhone to recognize the other phone as a brother/sister and use iMessage (or assume iMessage) first..

  16. Similar problem with iPhone XR and adding an esim that has only network. When you turn off your main line in cellular settings (to avoid connection fees/roaming into another country) you are immediately loosing your main mobile number registration with iMessage and FaceTime. Apple should keep the registration of the main number since you are only turning off that main line while the SIM is still present.

  17. Had this problem for months in Italy. The biggest problem is I am getting charged for the ‘silent’ sms message each time I try to activate. I can see the number it is being sent to but IT STILL DOESN’T ACTIVATE iMessage. Probably wasted 20 Eur so far trying to fix it. For me I don’t think sending the silent sms is the problem but receiving a silent sms back from Apple perhaps?

  18. This just happened to me while switching providers.
    Like the others, I had to turn iMessage and face time off, switch my phone off, take the sim out, count to 10 then put it back in and turn everything back on, it all worked, thank goodness. I feel bad for the new provider that I hassled trying to work it out!

  19. Avatar Lulu Tsui says:

    Same thing happened when I added a 2nd Mexican number via eSIM. Sharing the fix that worked for me after trying all of the above.

    1. Go to Settings > Apple ID > Name, Phone Numbers, E-mail
    *View “Reachable At” section.
    * I noticed that my original US mobile number had been removed.
    * Add original mobile number

    2. Go to Settings > FaceTime
    * View “You Can Be Reached by FaceTime At” section.
    * I noticed that my original US number wasn’t selected (Did not show a check mark next to it)
    * Tap on the original number to select and activate it.

    3. Go to Settings > Messages
    * Tap “Send and Receive”
    * View section “You Can Receive iMessgaes To and From”
    * I noticed that my original US number wasn’t selected (Did not show a check mark next to it)
    * Tap on the original number to select and activate it.

    NOTE: I had to updated FaceTime settings before Messages settings.

    And voila! Blue text bubbles again!!

  20. Avatar Peter Steen says:

    Perfect, changed from e-sim to a new provider. Step 4 (message send and receive) sorted the problem. Thanks for your help

  21. Avatar Miley’s morning says:

    Here’s what worked for me:

    Open messages, hard tap a conversation, delete. Then at the top right is “new message”, which should start with the choice of line (sim) configured in iMessage settings.

    Someone in these comments had suggested to delete the messages, but that is not enough; the entire conversation needs to be deleted.

    Apple should probably invest in a stack exchange sort of forum with paid employees replying & iOS/app versions mentioned. Their current support has hundreds of replies in a large thread with no distinguished answer, and is generally chaotic. Maybe it goes against their mantra “it just works” but you know what, get over it.

  22. Add a Little Credit
    To confirm you own the number you’re trying to activate, Apple sends it a “silent” SMS. In some cases, that SMS can be chargeable, and if your SIM plan doesn’t include text messages or you don’t have any credit on your phone, that SMS will never arrive. End result? iMessage and Facetime don’t activate.

    If you think this might be affecting you, try adding a little extra credit to your phone, then restart it and check iMessage and Facetime again. Several readers have mentioned this approach works for them, so it’s well worth trying!

    I spent hours looking for answers and this one solved it lol I didn’t know I had to add credits. THANK YOU!!!

  23. Experienced iMessage problem recently wit iPhone 11. Additional info: switched sim with saving number (in Russia there’s a 8-days period while you have to use a different number before your former one can be given back in case you change cellular company). So after that period I’ve been able to use everything with my previous number except iMessage, for some reason phone couldn’t recognize number and link it with iMessage server. Despite I was specifically told by phone company that there’s no reason to change SIM, I did which was the solution. So REPLACE SIM. In my case transfer between numbers wasn’t going smoothly which caused troubles. Hope this helps someone, it costed 3 hours of my life to solve 🙂

  24. Glad I came across this. Apparently Apple is STILL having this issue and we’re on iPhone 13 Pro! Well, my mom upgraded from the iPhone 11 to iPhone 13Pro the 1st Friday the phone became available. I activated the phone that evening as usual, using the SIM card that was already installed in the new phone. Everything went fine. I then went to the iPhone 11 to logout of the phone and erase it(as this was an early upgrade the 11 needed to get returned). After doing so a message popped up on the iPhone 13Pro saying “you’re account (312xxxxxxx) has signed out of iMessage and you’ll miss your messages. Go to settings to fix this issue!” Going to settings I saw under iMessage that the “activation unsuccessful” Try turning iMessage back on. So I toggled the button off then on. Nothing just a message that read “an error occurred during activation, try again.” So I did. Nothing. Called AT&T went through ALL troubleshooting methods. Nothing. AT&T transferred me over to Apple. Went through ALL troubleshooting methods plus a few more that included restoring iOS 15 while hooked up to PC and a factory reset. Nothing. Now from Friday evening to Sunday evening I’ve been bounced from AT&T to Apple, sometimes after being on the phone so long call would suddenly drop or I wouldn’t hear the agent on the line. And that’s from both companies. Needless to say my mom was in actual tears from not having use of a new phone, so we decided to take the SIM card out of the new phone and put it back into her old iPhone 11(the old SIM card had been destroyed and thrown away)! Well the same activation unsuccessful message popped up on the 11! My mom was devastated! So Monday called AT&T AGAIN, this time the agent had me on phone with so much silence on their end I thought I was being ghosted again. But she would call out my name ever so often and give me some instructions when something popped on the phone(iPhone 13Pro as the agent has me put the SIM back from the 11). I went through adding a cellular plan and I asked “hey this is not changing or adding another line to my moms plan?!” “No, don’t worry about that, it’s fine!” Then silence. Now power off and turn phone back on agent told me and I did. My mom now has 2 SIM cards active on her phone (one being the eSIM labeled travel) and guess what iMessage or FaceTime STILL was giving the same activation unsuccessful message. Agent told me she’d send me a case number so someone could get back to me(she never did and no one never got back to me) So called AT&T AGAIN this agent tried their best to transfer me yet again to Apple but I suggested after all I went through to just send me another SIM, the agent said okay then came back to say the system wouldn’t let him complete a SIM card purchase to my line because of something really weird I can’t remember something about my upgrade needing to be completed. Well Tuesday Day 4 of this mess, I’m reading all over the internet trying to find some sort of solution, I remember I have a SIM card from an unlock iPhone I purchased a few months ago(I never used the SIM because I just use my old one). I took that SIM put it in my mom’s iPhone 13Pro and the phone recognized a new SIM and a window popped up saying add cellular plan, I canceled that option and went to iMessage and it was already on so I went to send and receive and checked off my mom’s number and guess what it ACTIVATED HER IMESSAGE AND FACETIME! I took the SIM out and put my mom’s SIM that came with her phone back in made sure I set her Travel SIM(the eSIM the agent activated and deactivated the physical SIM) was checked as primary. If anyone goes through what I went through I hope they find this and it helps. No one should go through any of it especially when purchasing $1,000 phone!

  25. I’ve had an unlocked iPhone 8 for a couple years that I just used as a WiFi device without a cell plan. A couple days ago I had ATT store employee move my prepaid plan from an old flip phone to my iPhone 8. Since it’s an old 10 cents per minute prepaid plan and I only wanted to use it on my iPhone to text and make phone calls, they told me to turn cell data off. I have over $400 balance. I received ATT welcome text via SMS in Messages app after they moved my plan to iPhone. However, I’m having problems SMS texting other iPhone users when I’m not in WiFi. These are people that I had previous Messages conversations with that were started when I didn’t have a cell plan on the iPhone and we started the conversation using my Apple ID/email. I have checked the settings for Messages and both email and my cell number are listed to receive messages and my cell number is the one checked to start messages. I have also turned on send as SMS and rebooted phone. However, I’m still not getting replies from the previous conversations as SMS when I’m not in WiFi. I get them as iMessages when I’m back in WiFi. I’m thinking I will have to have both of us delete the entire old conversations and start with new ones using the cell number. If anyone can confirm or have thoughts, I’d much appreciate it.

    1. Try starting a new message to one of those recipients rather than replying to an existing one, and if that doesn’t work, then yes, try deleting the old message thread(s) to that person and starting over.

  26. I have TFW, which uses the Verizon network but does not provide for any out of country service. I can get calls and messages through WiFi calling, but it seems the Apple SMS for activation doesn’t come through. Will I be cut off from iMessage until I reenter the country in a month?

    1. I’d need more information to be able to try to answer this – which country are you in now, are you using/have you used a different SIM card while you’re away, what problem(s) are you having, and what have you tried so far to fix it? Let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

  27. I had some trouble with the error “there was an error during activation” after porting my number from one telco to another. The way i got it to work was to go to Settings > Messages > Send and receive, then remove the Sim card, give it a wipe and reinsert it. I did this twice before the number started to activate. Also refrain from wiping the phone clean as this did not work.

  28. Thank you so much for this! Finally worked when I reset the network settings hurrah.

  29. Avatar David Cretney says:

    I wanted to add my experience angst and resolution on this matter for others benefit. Date is March 2022 and we are Canadian visiting USA and I was setting up a Keepgo data only sim in an unlocked iPhone 8.

    iMessage and FaceTime would not activate despite running the routines mentioned in this blog and comments.

    So, I reinserted the original SIM card and opened iMessage settings and removed the telephone # from the send receive addresses leaving only appleID email addresses.

    Then I turned off iMessage and face time, rebooted the phone while on wifi and then removed the Canadian SIM card and inserted the data only SIM card

    This fixed the problem and we were up and running with iMessage and FaceTime on data only sim.

    I think by default apple was trying to verify the primary appleID credential by silent SMS since it was a tel#. Once I reverted and removed that it was then not necessary when I reinserted the data only sim.

    Hope this helps someone.

    1. This is great. Thank you.

      However by doing this, were you able to still send and receive iMessages to your Canadian number, on the sim only card, as opposed to when people message your appleID?

      When I first switched cards it said I could use my old number for 30 days. However that old number’s disappeared. So people imessaging the number end up sending green messages. While only those imessaging my appleID are coming through.

      Keen to hear your thoughts!

  30. Great advice – worked a charm – thank you

  31. 👍👍👍 Thanks so much!!
    I had a new SIM card sent to me because I changed my phone plan and my iPhone picked up the new phone number on FaceTime and iMessages. Relatives didn’t pick up my FT calls because it came from a random number. I had googled for solutions and tried several suggestions. Your simple suggestion to take out the SIM card and put it back did the trick. The iPhone reverted to my original number. 😅

  32. Thanks for posting this. It was a simple fix for my husbands phone when he switched from Verizon to AT&T!

  33. My problem with iMessage while using a foreign SIM card abroad is that some iMessages from my contacts are linked to my US number which once I take out my US SIM card is no longer able to be registered to my Apple ID. Apple doesn’t seem to let two phone numbers be registered. So people in the US who send me an iMessage if they are linking it to my US phone #. If they link it to my e-mail address I can get it since Apple lets you have multiple e-mail addresses linked to your Apple ID.

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