Several of our readers using report that they are experiencing iMessage problems in iOS 9 and previous iOS versions. If you’re using iOS 10 or later and experiencing Message problems, please see this article. But if you’re sticking with iOS 9 (or below), these errors particular to earlier iOS versions often cause serious problems for our readers’ Messages and iMessage app.
It seems that some users are experiencing a few annoying problems with Messages not working correctly. If your iDevices are running iOS 9 and are having issues with Messages, here is how you can troubleshoot those problems.
Using a Different iOS version?
- See this article for problems with iOS 12 iMessage and Message App
- For iOS 11, take a look at this article
- If you’re using iOS 10 and experiencing Message problems, please see this article
- iMessage and Messages Not Working in iOS10, How-To Fix
- iPhone Storage Full? Tips Managing iOS 10 iMessage and Message Data
- Save iMessage Images to your Phone’s Photos App
- Want iMessage on Your Windows PC? Here’s How
Before we start, the following eight tips may fix most issues
- Restart the Messages app by double tapping the Home button then swipe to the app to force quit. This action force quits the Messages app. Don’t worry you will not lose any data or messages. Then relaunch the Messages app.
- Go to your iPhone’s message Settings and make sure your iCloud email is selected in the “send and receive” section. This often fixes things immediately.
- Restart your iOS device by pressing and holding the off/on button until you see the slider. Then slide the slider to turn off your device.
- Turn on Airplane Mode and turn off by going to Settings > Airplane Mode
- Turn off and on iMessage by going to Settings > Messages
- It is likely that a connection problem may cause this issue. Resetting network settings may fix this. Simply Tap Settings > General > Reset > choose Reset Network Settings
- Some users stated that turning off Wi-Fi Assist fixes this problem. If you want to try this tip, go to Settings > Cellular > and turn off Wi-Fi Assist
- Make sure that the Date and Time setting is chosen “Set Automatically” by going to Settings > General > Date & Time
- You may try to change your DNS settings and try again if this solves your iMessage problem. To do this, tap Settings > Wi-Fi. Locate your wireless connection then tap the (i) button. Now touch the DNS field and enter 22.214.171.124 (this is Google’s public DNS).
iMessage problems in iOS 9: Problems sending or receiving messages
With iOS 9 or below, you may experience problems when sending or receiving messages. Your messages may show as posted but failed to get delivered. Your messages may also appear as blue on the iMessage and show as not delivered, but you get a response from the person you sent the message to.
This problem can occur in both single and group text messages but seems to affect group texts most often.
If you have this problem, try hard restarting your phone, toggling the iMessage application on and off, and restoring the device to factory settings. If these steps do not solve the problem, try turning off WiFi Assist. These problems may occur due to a glitch in the system.
See also: Messages (iMessage) not working, How to fix
iMessage problems in iOS 9: Delayed text messages
If you recently updated your iPhone or iPad, you may be experiencing delayed messages. When you use iMessage, you may find you are not receiving messages until several hours after they have been sent. Conversely, your recipients may not get your sent messages until hours later.
You may get a ‘text delivered’ notice, but the receiver does not receive the message immediately. This problem usually occurs if your phone number is not checked on the FaceTime app.
You can solve these ‘delayed message’ problems by changing your phone’s settings.
Go to Settings and access the FaceTime app. Turn the FaceTime app off, then back on, and tap ‘use Apple ID for FaceTime.’ Your phone number will show a solid check, and your iMessage should start working properly.
iMessage problems in iOS 9: Friends receiving the same iMessage twice
When sending an iMessage to your friends, it may be delivered two or three times without your knowledge. If you have this problem, try turning your mobile device on and off, hard restarting it, and resetting it to the factory setting.
If this still does not solve the problem, try resetting your phone’s networking features under Settings. You may also try to turn off and then on your iMessage app to address the problem. If you continue to experience the same problem, you can contact Apple to see whether they have found a solution.
See also: How to send/receive iMessages in airplane mode
iMessage sound goes off twice in a row
Sometimes you may hear the iMessage sound twice in a row after updating to iOS. This sound can be annoying if the problem is not solved.
To solve, go to Settings -> Messages, and turn off iMessage. Reboot your phone, wait for one hour, and then turn iMessage back on. If the annoying repeating sound comes back again, try activating and deactivating the Repeat Alert setting.
If the problem is not solved, try turning the iMessage app off and on.
See also: iMessage not working – how to fix
‘Service Denied’ text message from ‘Unknown.’
Another iMessage app problem with the iOS 9 update is receiving a ‘Service Denied’ text message from ‘Unknown.’
If you keep receiving this kind of text message, report the problem to your carrier. The problem may have nothing to do with Apple. However, users who have been saying this issue to their carriers often get referred to Apple.
Troubleshooting tips for this issue include backing up your phone, restoring it to its original factory setting, and then sync with iTunes to regain your apps, music, pictures, and other files.
Remember when restoring your device to restore it as a “New Device.” Don’t try restoring from “back up” or you will end up with the same problem. Also, ensure you sync your phone with iTunes before wiping your files.
iMessage Waiting for Activation Error, How-To Fix
- Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage. While at it, please disable Facetime as well.
- Sign out apple ID, Go to the Settings > iTunes & App Store > Tap Apple ID > Sign Out.
- Turn on the Airplane mode. Wifi will be turned OFF automatically. Turn on your Wifi
- Go back to Messages and turn-on iMessage.
- You’ll be prompted for your Apple ID. Please enter your credentials.
- Go to Settings and turn OFF Airplane mode.
- Mostly, you’ll be shown a notification that says ‘Your carrier may charge for SMS’ – Tap on O
- If not, go to Messages, turn OFF iMessage and then turn it ON again
- Give it a few minutes, and your iMessage should get activated.
Problems with deleting Unknown messages on the iMessage app
Another issue you may encounter is difficulty in removing “Service Denied” text messages. One of the solutions is calling your mobile operator, who will give you the SMS center number and dial code to help you identify the source of the text message.
You will need to make sure you are using the SMS center number and dial code provided by your mobile operator. If you are using a wrong SMS center number, call your service provider and request them to reset your network.
After they have reset your device’s network, restart your phone. You should not see any more “Unknown” messages.
I don’t usually experience these issues while using both Messages and iMessage features. However, some users might configure something differently, and that may lead to these problems. Let me know if you still need help.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original 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.
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