Some users have reported that they get this error when trying to activate FaceTime: “Could not sign in. Please check your network connection and try again,” “an error occurred during activation,” and other errors activating FaceTime. Since it often takes 24 hours to activate FaceTime, wait at least 1 full day before troubleshooting. If after 24 hours, FaceTime is still not activated or you continue to get these types of errors, follow these steps.
- Fixing FaceTime Activation Errors
- Look at Your Apple ID
- Sign Out and the Back In
- Try A Different DNS
- Think There’s a Block or Throttle on Your FaceTime and iMessage Account?
- Enable Location Services
- Additional Fixes for FaceTime Activation on Macs
- Look at Your Keychain
- Try Terminal!
- Seeing an Error Occurred During Activation Message?
- FaceTime’s Not Working on iPhone or iDevice
- FaceTime not working; how to troubleshoot FaceTime to fix your problems
- How to Fix FaceTime / iMessage Waiting for Activation
- FaceTime Help & Tips – How to Fix Your Problems
Fixing FaceTime Activation Errors
Look at Apple’s System Status Site
Check Apple’s System Status page for any server issues impacting FaceTime. If it’s listed in green, everything should work normally. However, if FaceTime is listed in yellow, there are known problems on the server that Apple is currently working on.
Check Some Settings
- Connect to WiFi or a Cellular Data Network. All iPhones require SMS messaging to activate your phone number for both iMessage and FaceTime
- Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and select Set Automatically
- Reset Your Network Settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset and choose Reset Network Settings. This action removes any saved IDs and passwords for all saved networks. So perform this step only if you know your IDs and passwords
Look at Your Apple ID
Make sure that your Apple ID and password are correct. Are you using an Apple ID that is an e-mail address or simply a username? FaceTime on the iPod Touch requires an Apple ID that is actually formatted as an e-mail address so if your ID is a simple username (i.e., no @ sign in it), then you’ll either need to change it to an e-mail address or use/create a different Apple ID for FaceTime.
Sign Out and the Back In
Go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle it OFF. Restart your device and then return to Settings > FaceTime and toggle it back ON. For Macs, go to FaceTime > Preferences > Settings and click Sign Out. Restart your Mac and then return to FaceTime > Preferences > Settings and click Sign In.
Make sure you sign in with the same Apple ID you used on the Apple ID account page.
Try A Different DNS
Some users report that changing the DNS Setting to Google’s public DNS; 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206 fixed their FaceTime activation problem. The Google Public DNS IP addresses are as follows: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
Once you update your DNS, shut down and then power up your device or Mac. Then try FaceTime again.
For more information about how to change your DNS, see this article.
Think There’s a Block or Throttle on Your FaceTime and iMessage Account?
Sometimes, the reason iMessage and FaceTime are unavailable are due to a backend throttle or block.
If Apple suspects your account is hacked in any way, they flag the account and placed a block or throttle on accessing these services.
If you suspect something like that, contact Apple straightaway!
Enable Location Services
Make sure location services is turned on. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and verify this is turned ON. If not, Tap Location Services and toggle this feature ON.
For Macs, go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Privacy tab and tick the checkbox for ” Enable Location Services.”
Additional Fixes for FaceTime Activation on Macs
- If you are using FaceTime behind a firewall, see this Apple Support article. It may be necessary to disable any third-party firewall or malware software and then try FaceTime again
- Reset your NVRAM. Sometimes the settings stored in NVRAM cause issues with FaceTime activation. So shut down your Mac, then turn it on and while pressing these four keys: Option, Command, P, and R. Hold until your Mac appears to restart (or plays a second startup chime)
- Reset SMC
- For Desktops: Shut down. Unplug the power cord. Wait 15 seconds. Plug the power cord back in. Wait 5 seconds then press the power button to turn on your Mac
- For MacBooks: Shut down. Unplug the power adapter from your computer. Using the built-in keyboard, press Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10 seconds. Reconnect the power adapter. Press Power button to start up your MacBook
- Some users have stated that Peer Guardian was running in the background. Once they disabled it, they were able to use FaceTime
- Some users from the U.S.A have reported that they went to a different location or back to the store where they bought and activated there; this might be a firewall issue
Look at Your Keychain
- Disable iCloud Keychain. Go to System Preferences > iCloud and uncheck the Keychain option to stop using iCloud Keychain temporarily
- Open Keychain Access (Application > Utilities)
- Search for any items that contain “ids”–they should all list under Kind as application passwords
- Delete those items from your keychain
- Search for any items that contain FaceTime and delete those
- Do the same for any items that contain iMessage
- In particular, look for these two: iMessage Signing Key and iMessage Encryption Key–you may have just two, or you may have a lot (some readers discover they have hundreds of them)
- Delete all of those
- Restart your Mac
- After rebooting, macOS requests and generates new key pairs for iMessage encryption
- Try singing in again to iMessage or FaceTime
- Or try resetting your login keychain: Finder > Utilities > Keychain Access > Keychain Access Menu > Preferences > Reset My Default Keychain and then restart your computer
- WARNING! If you save passwords in Keychain, performing these steps clears all those saved passwords and info. So proceed with caution
Using Terminal to clear some old data my help get your iMessage and FaceTime working again. Before we do anything, let’s backup our Macs via Time Machine or your backup method of choice. Better safe than sorry!
Open a Terminal Session
- Type in this command exactly: sudo rm /Library/Preferences/com.apple.apsd.plist
- Press Return to execute the command
- Quit Terminal
- Restart your Mac
- Open iMessage or FaceTime and try and sign in again
If you’re still getting this message, please take a look at our in-depth article on how to handle this particular error on your Mac!
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.