8 Solutions to Fix the ‘iMessage Needs to be Enabled to Send this Message’ iPhone Error


iOS updates usually bring long-awaited features and security enhancements, but sometimes they introduce more problems than they solve. Users often have to deal with several bugs almost immediately after iOS updates, until Apple can roll out further patches to fix these issues.

One of the recurring issues that iPhone users experience following iOS updates is a failure in sending their text messages. Instead, they see the error message “Cannot send message, iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message.”

if you are a victim of this bug and want to get this issue resolved immediately, continue reading. You will learn 8 effective solutions to fix this iPhone error message. 

What Causes the ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ iPhone Error?

Most of the time, this iPhone error appears after updating your iPhone to the latest iOS release. Apparently, when an iPhone receives an iOS update, it can lead to undesirable problems. Some of the root causes behind these error messages include:

  • Your iMessage service and settings have been disabled or corrupted. 
  • Your network settings have been corrupted.
  • Apple iMessage service is down.
  • A specific iMessage thread is corrupted.

8 Solutions to Fix the ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ iPhone Error

1. Restart your iPhone

Before doing anything else, you should always restart a computer, tablet, or smartphone when trying to solve issues. To restart your iPhone, find your iPhone model below and follow the steps:

Restarting iPhone X, 11, 12, or 13

  1. Press and hold one of the volume buttons and the side button (right side). A power-off slider will appear. 
How to restart iPhone X, 11, 12, or 13
  1. Drag the slider and allow the device to power down. 
  2. Wait 30 seconds and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears and then release.

Restarting iPhone SE (2nd or 3rd Gen), 8, 7, or 6

  1. Press and hold the side button (right side). A power-off slider will appear and you can release the side button.
how to restart iPhone SE, 8, 7, or 6
  1. Drag the slider and allow the device to power down. 
  2. Wait 30 seconds and then press and hold the side button until the Apple logo appears and then release.

2. Check if the iMessage Server is Up

Before you dig further into this issue, you should check if the iMessage service is up. If iMessage servers are down or experiencing issues, this will prevent you and other iOS users from sending messages via iMessage. While outages on this scale are rare, they are not impossible. To check the status of iMessage’s services:

  1. Navigate to Apple’s System Status page. You can check this page on your iPhone, computer, or tablet. 
check iMessage server to fix iMessage needs to be enabled to send message error
  1. Click the plus button to expand the list of services. The services are listed alphabetically, so scroll down until you see iMessage.
  2. If the server is Unavailable, then you’ll need to wait until Apple fixes the issues and restores service. 
  3. If the server is Available, then there are no issues with iMessage services, and the issue is isolated to your iPhone. You’ll need to continue working through the list of solutions to solve the ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ error.  
check if iMessage server is available

3. Enable iMessage

The iPhone error message ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ indicates that iMessage might be disabled on your phone. The update might have inadvertently disabled your iMessage without notifying you. Thankfully it’s very easy to re-enable iMessage and quickly get back to sending messages if this is the cause. To check if iMessage has been disabled and needed to be re-enabled to solve this issue, here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the Settings application.
iPhone settings
  1. Scroll down until you find Messages.
scroll down iPhone to search message
  1. If iMessage is toggled off, then this is the source of your iMessage problems. Toggle iMessage back on.
turn on iMessage
  1. Check if you can now send iMessages to your contacts. If you can’t immediately send iMessages, try restarting your iPhone.

4. Disable FaceTime and then Toggle iMessage

Some iPhone users have solved this problem by first disabling FaceTime and then toggling iMessage off and back on. If you would like to try this option, then follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings application.
  2. Once in the Settings app, scroll down and click on FaceTime.
search face time in iPhone
  1. Disable FaceTime by toggling the green switch to gray. 
disable face time - fix iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message error
facetime off setting
  1. Now go back to the main settings page (press back once) and select Messages. It should be right about FaceTime.
  2. Toggle the iMessage switch off, wait 10-30 seconds, and then toggle it back on. 
restart iMessage
  1. Check if you can now send iMessages to your contacts. 

You will not be able to contact anyone via FaceTime, but this may resolve your iMessage issue. 

5. Reset iMessage Settings

If all that toggling services on and off didn’t work, then there’s one more thing you can try within the iMessage settings. Reset iMessage settings to try clearing corrupted settings:

  1. Navigate to the Settings application.
  2. Scroll down until you find Messages.
  3. Find and select Send & Receive. 
  4. Under the section, YOU CAN RECEIVE IMESSAGES TO AND REPLY FROM, uncheck your email address and phone number. 
resetting iMessage settings
  1. Tap your Apple ID and select Remove or Sign Out.
sign out and sign in again in Apple ID
  1. Now exit the Settings application and power off your iPhone. Restart your device and navigate back to iMessage settings. 
  2. Reactivate iMessage and sign into your Apple ID using your email and password. 

6. Reset Network Settings

To send iMessages you need a connection to your data plan or Wi-Fi. If the iMessage issue is originating from a network problem, like incorrectly configured network settings, then you’ll need to reset your network settings to fix this issue. If you are using iOS version 15 ( released September 2021) or later:

  1. Navigate to the Settings application.
  2. Once in the Settings app, scroll down and click on General.
resetting iPhone network settings
  1. Now scroll through the General settings until you see Transfer or Reset iPhone. Click on this option.
transfer or reset iPhone network setting
  1. Click Reset and then select Reset Network Settings.
An iPhone on the Settings > General > Transfer or Reset [Device] > Reset screen. Reset Network Settings is selected.

7. Delete the Message Thread Causing Issues

While you are eyeing a larger issue with your iMessage application or iPhone, the problem may just be coming from a specific message thread. If you haven’t tried to message more than one contact or message thread, you should do so. If that iMessage goes through without an issue, then you have a corrupted message thread. 

You can delete the problematic message thread and then send a new iMessage to that contact to start a new thread. To delete an iMessage thread:

  1. Open your iMessage application. Find the iMessage thread that is displaying the ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ error. 
  2. Press and hold your finger on the message thread. A popout window will display a summary of the message thread and a few options, including Pin, Hide Alerts, and Delete.
delete message thread to fix the iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message error
  1. Click Delete to erase the entire message thread. You will lose any texts, photos, or videos that have been sent in this thread. Be sure to download any images or videos you want to keep from this thread beforehand. 
  2. Instead of pressing and holding your finger on the message thread, you can also swipe right. From there, you can click the red trash can button to delete the thread.
deleting message thread using the red trash can button

8. Factory Reset Your iPhone

If all else fails after several attempts of solving the “iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ error”, you might be forced to factory reset your phone. 

Warning: A factory reset will erase ALL of your data from your iPhone, as it will return to its original state like it was just shipped from the factory. 

Sometimes when you have very persistent bugs caused by corrupt files somewhere in the iPhone’s operating system, a factory reset is the best bet. 

Since your iPhone is still functional, aside from iMessage, we strongly suggest you back up your information. For this, we recommend iCloud Drive. If your phone has more than 5GB, you will need to purchase an expanded iCloud plan, but it’s worth it in this instance. 

Once iCloud has backed up all of your data, you can safely factory reset your iPhone. You won’t believe how easy it is to restore your iPhone to its previous condition (with all your personal files, pictures, contacts, and apps) using an iCloud backup. 

  1. Navigate to the Settings application.
  2. Once in the Settings app, scroll down and click on General.
  3. Now scroll through the General settings until you see Transfer or Reset iPhone. Click on this option.
factory resetting your iPhone
  1. Now you can select to make an iCloud backup right here from the Transfer or Reset iPhone page. Once you’ve made a backup of your iPhone, click Reset
backup data and factory reset your iPhone
  1. Then select Reset All Settings. You will be asked to enter your Apple ID password or passcode to verify that it is the owner who is trying to reset the iPhone. Now you’ll need to wait for the reset to finish. Your iPhone may restart multiple times, but when the reset is complete, you need to set up your iPhone like it just came out of the box.
An iPhone on the Settings > General > Transfer or Reset [Device] > Reset screen. Reset Network Settings is selected.

The iPhone Error “iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message” is Resolved

Hopefully, one of these 8 solutions fixed the bothersome ‘iMessage needs to be enabled to send this message’ iPhone error for you. Usually, this error crops up after applying a new iOS update. 

This guide starts with simple, minimally invasive solutions, like restarting your iPhone and checking the status of Apple’s iMessage services, before moving to more sweeping solutions like resetting all network settings or factory resetting your iPhone. 

If you’re still having issues with iMessage, consider reaching out to Apple Support for more assistance. 

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