After updating to iOS 13 and iPadOS, some readers discover that their Messages App and iMessage aren’t working normally.
So if your iOS 13 and iPadOS iDevices have issues with texting and iMessaging, let’s try and get it fixed!
- Quick tips
- What’s new for iMessage and Messages in iOS13 and iPadOS
- Repeat alerts not working for iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad with iOS 13 and iPadOS? Update to iOS 13.2!
- For folks using older iOS versions, check out these iOS-specific articles for your iMessage problems
- Improved search is one of the best new Messages App features for iOS 13 and iPadOS
- Create animoji or memoji stickers in Messages and almost any app that supports them!
- iMessage stuck on waiting for activation and won’t activate after updating to iOS 13 or iPadOS?
- Does iMessage show a message that it’s indexing? Or not seeing your message photo history?
- Seeing error message Message in iCloud is currently disabled?
- iMessages and texts appearing out of order on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac?
- Don’t want to share your name and photo in your texts? Want to turn off the iMessage profile feature?
- Can’t share your name and photo? Seeing a message that sharing name and photo not available?
- Can’t click a link in iMessage? Links not working?
- Can’t delete photos and attachments from Messages in iOS 13 and iPadOS?
- Having problems texting with Android and other non-iMessage folks?
- Announce Messages with Siri not working?
- Additional support for problems with iMessage and the Message app
Follow these quick tips to help with many of the common iMessage problems following an iOS or iPadOS update
- Check Apple’s System Status online. If you are not receiving texts or iMessages, Apple’s iMessage Servers just might be down. This site offers real-time information for all of Apple’s services, including iMessage and iCloud
- Shared Apple IDs cause a lot of problems. Do not share an Apple ID with anyone else, including your child or spouse. Instead, get a unique Apple ID for everyone and sign up for a family sharing plan
- Verify that your device’s date and time are set automatically via Settings > General > Date & Time
- Remove and reseat your device’s SIM card (or replace it if damaged or not working properly)
- Force close the Message app and relaunch it. To close it, double-tap the Home button or swipe up the Home Gesture Bar and then swipe up to the app to force quit. Then, relaunch the Messages app
- Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and make sure your phone number AND Apple ID’s email address is checked under “you can receive iMessages to and reply from”
- Toggle AirPlane mode on, wait a few seconds, and toggle back on
- Verify that SMS and MMS are toggled on. Go to Settings > Messages and turn on Send as SMS and MMS Messaging
- Reset your network settings via Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- Toggle iMessage off via Settings > Messages > iMessage, wait 20 seconds, and toggle it back on
- Restart (power off then power back on) or force restart your device
- For sync issues with other devices and Macs, toggle Messages off and on in your iCloud Settings
- For group iMessage issues, check that you toggled on Group Messaging in Settings > Messages
- iMessage Not Working – How to Fix
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- No Text or Message Notification Alerts or Sounds on iPhone? Fixes
- The Complete Guide to Disabling or Deregistering iMessage (And FaceTime)
- How to tell if you’re blocked on iMessage
- How to Use iMessage Group Chat on iPhone or iPad
What’s new for iMessage and Messages in iOS13 and iPadOS
Every year, Apple takes our user feedback and makes modifications and improvements to its Messages App. And this year is no different.
Here’s a quick rundown of all the new and updated features for messaging in iOS 13 and iPadOS.
- Dual-SIM support for iMessage—you don’t need to choose a number to use with iMessage anymore—both numbers work at the same time!
- Quick Action replies for non-3D Touch devices. Tap and hold a text conversation to quickly reply with suggested responses
- Better searching in Messages
- Create a new user profile and choose to share your name and photo or avatar in your chats with your contacts or people you choose. Or turn this feature off so no one sees your name and/or photo
- Newly designed info details section. Tap on the “i” icon at the top of your texts and see all the links, locations, and attachments a conversation shared in one quick snapshot
- Messages now fully integrates with the Reminders app
- The Message app keyboard features separate emoji and globe keys
- Swipe typing or swyping (Apple calls this QuickPath typing) is fully supported in iOS 13 and iPadOS
- Plus, lots of Memoji and Animoji updates
- New Animoji characters — mouse, octopus, and cow
- More Memoji customization options, including makeup, additional hairstyles, hats and headwear, earrings, glasses, and even add piercings to your nose, eyelids, eyebrows, or mouth
- Create Memoji in different apps including Contacts!
- Use your Memoji or Animoji as image stickers to share in any app, including Mail or even third-party apps like Facebook
And featured with iOS 13.2
- Announce Messages with Siri, Siri can now read your incoming messages through your AirPods the moment they arrive. And you can reply immediately to that message with your voice and AirPods using Siri. This feature works with Apple’s Message app as well as many third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp. Announce with Siri requires iOS 13.2 or later
Repeat alerts not working for iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad with iOS 13 and iPadOS? Update to iOS 13.2!
Unfortunately, when users updated to iOS 13, they encountered an unexpected bug–repeat alerts do not work at all, no matter what you set them to repeat for! Since updating, even when users set their repeat alerts to once or up to 10 times, iOS only sends one notification and never repeats at all.
This is an issue that Apple is currently working on. In the meantime, the only workaround is to change your notification banner settings from temporary to persistent.
This issue is now fixed in iOS 13.2, so update your iPhones and iPads to the latest iOS version and you should be good to go!
For folks using older iOS versions, check out these iOS-specific articles for your iMessage problems
Improved search is one of the best new Messages App features for iOS 13 and iPadOS
In the past, looking for something in an older text message was a bit of a stab in the dark. But no more!
With iOS 13 and iPadOS, when you swipe down spotlight search in Messages you now see lists of recent photos, attachments, links, and the most recent people you texted.
All this information before you even type in your search.
And when you type in a search, the Messages app automatically categorizes the results and highlights the search’s matching terms. So finding that message or information just got a heck of a lot easier!
Unfortunately, we still can’t perform a search within an individual message thread—but hopefully, Apple will add this enhanced search function in a later update.
Create animoji or memoji stickers in Messages and almost any app that supports them!
- Open Messages or an app that supports stickers
- Access your on-screen keyboard
- Select the emoji keyboard or tap the Memoji app from Message’s app strip
- Look for the three-dot More button (…). You may need to swipe right to see this button under frequently used
- Scroll through the options to choose a sticker
- Or tap on the + to create a new Memoji (if supported)
For more information on creating and using Memoji and Animoji stickers, see this post How to edit and create customized Memoji in iOS 13.
iMessage stuck on waiting for activation and won’t activate after updating to iOS 13 or iPadOS?
First, manually toggle iMessage off, wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle it back on. Wait a few minutes and see if iMessage activates.
If iMessage still doesn’t activate, try these steps
- Disconnect from all WiFi networks by toggling it off
- Toggle off iMessage
- Sign out of the iTunes & App Store
- Reset network settings
- Sign back into iTunes & App Store
- Toggle back on iMessage
- If that didn’t work, take out your iPhone’s SIM card, wait 20-30 seconds, and put it back in. Then try again activating iMessage again
Does iMessage show a message that it’s indexing? Or not seeing your message photo history?
Apple greatly improved the search capabilities within the Message App for iOS 13 and iPadOS. So the first time you open Messages after updating, you might see a message saying “More suggestions (results) will be shown once Messages finishes indexing.”
All this message means is that your iOS or iPadOS is cataloging your messages for spotlight search and Siri search. It’s just a notice that Messages is performing this indexing after updating.
How long it takes depends on how many messages it needs to index. So if you’re one of those folks that keeps your message conversations forever, this could take some time.
Apple really improves the search function in the Messages app with iOS 13 and iPadOS.
And the details pane, the information that shows up when you hit the “i” info button, has a lot more features.
Your device now organizes your messages links, locations, and attachments shared in your conversations in a quick snapshot.
For folks that just updated, you might find this area temporarily empty
If you click on the “i” icon in an iMessage thread or message conversation and you don’t see any media, photos, or attachments underneath the message contact details, it’s likely that the Message app is still indexing all that information.
The remedy here is time–make sure your device connects to WiFi and power and then wait for the indexing process to complete. Many folks find placing their devices on the charger helped the pictures appear in the info section.
Also, make sure you toggle on Messages in your iCloud account
- Go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud
- Scroll down to Messages
- Toggle it on–if it’s already on, toggle it off, wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle it back on
If you’ve already waited several days for your photos and attachments to index, some readers found a restart or force restart solved the problem–and their history reappeared after that. Other readers tried rebuilding their Message app index, and that seemed to work for them.
Force your device to rebuild the Message app index
- Go to Settings > Siri & Search >Messages > and toggle everything off
- Restart your device
- Go back to Settings > Siri & Search >Messages > and toggle everything on
Seeing error message Message in iCloud is currently disabled?
If after updating, there is a small message at the bottom that says “Messages in iCloud is currently disabled. Repair Account,” your iPhone, iPad, or iPod is likely still in that indexing process.
We suggest you wait 24 hours to allow indexing to complete and then see if that message goes away
Still seeing the error message Message in iCloud is currently disabled after 24 hours?
- If that error remains after 24 hours, first restart your device by powering it off, waiting for a few minutes, and powering it back on
- Try toggling Mesaages off and on in your iCloud Settings. Go to Settings >Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud and turn Messages off and back on. If this toggle is off, turn it on and see if that fixes the issue with the error message
- If you continue to see the message, tap on Repair Account
- Once chose, your device lets you know that it is repairing you iCloud Account and warns you that it may take a few minutes–our experience tells us that this process often takes a few hours, especially if you store a lot of data in iCloud
iMessages and texts appearing out of order on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or Mac?
- Toggle iMessage off, wait 20-30 seconds, and then turn iMessage back on to refresh your connection to Apple Servers
- Check for a carrier update by going to Settings > General > About. If an update is available, there’s an option to update your carrier settings. Press Update to get those changes applied to your device
- Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and toggle off Set Automatically. Then restart your device and turn Set Automatically back on. If you use a Mac too, go to System Preferences > Date & Time and perform the same steps of turning off and on set automatically
- If you use the same Apple ID on your devices and Mac, toggle on Messages in iCloud
- For iDevices, go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud > Messages
- For Macs, open the Message App > Preferences > iMessage tab > tick the box for Enable Messages in iCloud
- Check that the Date & Time on each of your iDevices and Macs are the exact same. It’s best if you use the feature Set Automatically per each device but if thats not matching, change the time on each device manually. Setting the exact same time on all Apple ID connected devices helps to correct the timestamps on your messages
- On a Mac, deselect “Set date and time automatically,” click today’s date on the calendar, drag the clock’s hands to show the correct time (or enter the time) then click Save
- On iDevices, toggle off Set Automatically and tap Time Zone and enter the name of the city one letter at a time with the time zone that you want and press Search. If iOS cannot identify your city, choose a nearby town that’s in the same time zone. If that’s not an option, press the Date and select your current time using the selection tool
If you don’t want to automatically share your name and/or your photo when you start a message or respond to a conversation, it’s easy to adjust or turn off this feature
- Go to Settings > Message
- Scroll down and tap Share Name and Photo
- Toggle off Name and Photo Sharing to turn the feature completely off
Other options for name and photo sharing in Messages when toggled on
- Choose Contacts only to share with folks in your Contacts App. With this option, all the people in your contacts always see your name and photo
- Tap Always Ask to select when and with whom to share your name and photo when texting. With this option, whenever you send a message to someone new, you see a message at the top of your screen asking if you want to share your name and photo with that person. To okay sharing, tap the Share button in this message
If you are unable to toggle on Share Name and Photo and see a message about Sharing Name and Photo not available, check that you do the following:
- Toggle iMessage on in your Message app settings
- Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID–you cannot share your name and photo without signing in
- Use the same Apple ID for iMessage and iCloud
- Not sharing an Apple ID with any other iPhones
This feature does not work when multiple phone numbers are associated with a single Apple ID. For example, if you and your child or spouse share one Apple ID but have multiple phone numbers, this feature is unavailable.
If possible, remove any additional phone numbers associated with your Apple ID. Remember, Apple recommends everyone in your family have their own, unique Apple ID. You can still share purchases, storage, and locations via an Apple Family Sharing plan.
Remove phone number(s)
- On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive
- Select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out
- Then go to Settings > FaceTime. Select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out
- Sign back into iMessage with your Apple ID
- After signing back in, tap Send & Receive and untick any phone numbers and/or emails that you want to remove—ensure that only one phone number is selected (checked)
- If the phone number that you want to remove belongs to an iPhone that you can’t access, change your Apple ID password. This removes all phone numbers from your iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
- Messages for any removed numbers won’t appear on your devices anymore
Turn iMessage off and on
If removing phone numbers didn’t work, try toggling off iMessage temporarily, waiting 20-30 seconds, and then toggling it back on.
Then see if you can use the feature to share your name and photo.
Sign out of iCloud
If you still are unable to edit your name and photo in Messages, sometimes you have to sign out of iCloud completely on your device then sign back in.
- Go to Settings > Apple ID > Sign Out
- Enter your Apple ID passcode to turn off Find My iPhone
- Select the options to keep all your data on this iPhone
- Tap Sign Out to confirm
- Sign back in with your Apple ID
- Choose to turn on Find My iPhone
- Remember to use the same Apple ID for both iCloud and iMessage
- Try force closing the Message app
- On an iPhone or an iPad with no home button from the Home screen, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and pause slightly in the middle of the screen
- On an iDevice with a home button, double-click the Home button
- Swipe right or left to find the Messages app
- Swipe up on the app’s preview to close it
- Open Messages and choose the text message with the link again
- Tap the link to see if it now opens
Can’t delete photos and attachments from Messages in iOS 13 and iPadOS?
- Open your Messages app
- Tap a message thread
- Find an image you want to delete and long press on it until a drop-down menu appears
- Select More…
- Tick the circle next to all the images in the thread you want to delete
- Tap the trash can
- Confirm you want to delete those images
- Open a text message thread
- Tap the person(s) name or profile photo(s)/icon(s) at the top of the text conversation
- Choose the “i” button
- Long press the item (photo, link, or attachment) you want to delete and wait for the Quick Action menu to appear
- Choose Delete from the quick action menu options
- Confirm you want to delete that item(s)
Unfortunately, at this time with iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1, you cannot delete multiple attachments and images at once using this method–tapping on the “i” button. Currently, you can delete images one-by-one using the Quick Action Delete.
How to deleting multiple attachments and images at once in Messages in iOS 13
If you want to delete multiple images, follow the instructions in the above section. As a summary, tap the Message thread and press on an image inside the conversation and choose More to access editing options.
Having problems texting with Android and other non-iMessage folks?
Quite a few iOS 13 and iPadOS users have issues texting and sharing content with friends and family members that use other types of devices, like Android phones, and with people who don’t use iMessage on their Apple devices
Not able to join single or group chats with non iMessage users?
- Go to Settings > Phone
- Toggle on Send as SMS and MMS Messaging
- If SMS and MMS are already on, try and toggle them off and then back on again
- If that doesn’t work, try to reset all settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
Use the Message App’s Not Delivered function to resend your texts
- Turn off both WiFi and Cellular Data in the Settings app
- Text the person(s) with these settings off
- After repeated attempts, your Message app should show the message Not Delivered
- Now, turn both WiFi and Cellular Data back ON
- Tap that exclamation point icon next to not delivered
- Choose to Send as a Text Message or tap Try Again and see if the message gets delivered
- Rinse and repeat for each person you are having message problems
Can’t text photos or videos via SMS or MMS to Android or folks that don’t or can’t use iMessage?
- First, make sure both Send as SMS and MMS Messaging are toggled on in Settings > Phone
- Open Settings > Cellular
- Tap Cellular Data Options
- Make sure Data Roaming is ON
- For LTE users, verify that Enable LTE is working for both Voice & Data
- Toggle off Low Data Mode
- Restart your phone
If that doesn’t work, try a reset all settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings.
Announce Messages with Siri not working?
This feature arrives with iOS 13.2. So if you don’t see this feature now, it’s likely still in testing. Here’s a quick preview of what we know about this feature.
One awesome feature for folks that use AirPods 2+ and PowerBeats Pro is that Siri can automatically read all your new texts to you. And it doesn’t just read your iMessages and SMS texts! You can set Siri up to read supported third-party messaging apps too!
If Siri is not reading your texts and iMessages on your AirPods or other headphones, check that you have this setting turned on.
- Go to Settings > Notifications
- Tap Announce Messages with Siri and toggle it on
Unfortunately, at this time Announce Messages with Siri only works for devices with Apple’s H1 chip. That includes Apple’s AirPods 2 and Beats Pro.
To our huge disappointment, Announce Messages with Siri does not work with AirPods 1 (first generation.)
For more on Announce Messages with Siri, see this article Siri not announcing your messages on your AirPods or Beats? How to fix.
Additional support for problems with iMessage and the Message app
If your specific problem wasn’t addressed in this article, we have a bunch of additional posts for topic-specific problems. So take a look and see if your problem is listed. And if not, let us know in the comments section and we’ll do our best to help you out!
- iPhone Messages Back Button Not Working? How to Fix
- No Text or Message Notification Alerts or Sounds on iPhone? Fixes
- Messages App Notification Badge not clearing after reading texts
- How Do You Share Photos in Messages and iMessage iOS 12+?
- How to Use iMessage Group Chat on iPhone or iPad
- Error Occurred During Activation for iMessage or FaceTime on Mac?
- The Complete Guide to Disabling or Deregistering iMessage (And FaceTime)
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.