How to fix FaceTime/iMessage Activation Error on your iPhone or iPad

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 13 Jan 2015

Yesterday, while testing the iPhone Cellular Calls feature on my iPad Air 2, I ran into a weird issue.

I was logged out of FaceTime and iMessage, though I am not sure why that happened. Since I need to be logged into the same iCloud account as my iPhone for the feature to work (in addition to being connected to the same Wi-Fi network), I tried to login to FaceTime, but I kept getting the following error “FaceTime Activation Error: Could not sign in. Please check your network connection and try again”.

I tried the regular troubleshooting tips, such as restarting and reseting my iPad Air etc, signing into the iCloud account again, but nothing seemed to help.

The thing that seemed to do the trick and finally fix the issue was to set the time zone to set automatically by going to Settings > General > Date & Time > Set Automatically. Apple does suggest to check if the time zone is set properly in the knowledge base article if you get an error when trying to activate FaceTime or iMessage, but I didn’t realize the problem could be because I had set the time zone manually.

Set timezone automatically - Settings


I was able to sign in to FaceTime without any issues after setting timezone to automatic, and was also signed in to iMessage. I am assuming that you will hit a similar issue with iMessage as well. You can change the time zone manually again after the FaceTime/iMessage activation error is resolved.

Set Date & Time Automatically

If the above method does not help in fixing the error, then you check if the Date & Time are set automatically. To check, launch the Settings app, and navigate to General > Date & Time, and ensure that the toggle next to ‘Set Automatically’ is enabled. You can try activating iMessage/FaceTime again to see if it helps. You can set the time manually after you’ve successfully activated FaceTime or iMessage.

I didn’t have the foresight of taking a screenshot of the error, so please share the screenshot if you’re getting this error. I hope this helps someone who is facing this issue. I had almost given up hope.