Thursday, October 09, 2014

iMessage problems on iOS 8.0.2.

I'm an Apple user. iMac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Time Machine. My home runs on the Apple ecosystem and everything just works.

Till the iPhone 6+ came along.

I got the new iPhone 6+ for J as an anniversary present and he's over the moon with the new toy phone. I took over his iPhone 5S because surprise, surprise, I was still using my iPhone 4S from yonks ago. Popped in my sim card on Saturday (Day 1) and expected things to magically work like always.

iMessage did not work.

That's strange, i thought. I toggled the iMessage button on and off and got the "waiting for activation". Moments later "an error occurred with activation" message. Hmmmm this had never happened before. Toggled it on and off again, and got the "activation unsuccessful" message.  I turned iMessage off, on, reset my network settings, reset all settings, wiped the phone and restored from backup.

I did everything I could find on Google, Apple support forums and troubleshooting guide from Apple. Nothing worked.

I called up my carrier on Sunday. My carrier said my phone plan was still intact so I should not have any problems making calls, sending sms or using 2G, 3G or 4G network.

I called up Apple technical support on Tuesday (Day 4) and told them my problems. Technical support guy was very patient and walked me through all the steps on their troubleshooting guide. He was puzzled why they didn't work. My problem was very specific. iOS 8.0.2, iPhone 5S, can't activate iMessage to send using my mobile number. "Don't worry, I'll escalate this to senior technical support."

Jason, senior technical support, was very patient. He asked me to reset my network settings with my wifi turned off and activate iMessage again. I got the "waiting for activation" which was normal but the strangest thing happened. In "Send & Receive", my phone number disappeared! I didn't think this was normal and Jason didn't think so either.

-- That bit where your number is listed? Mine disappeared :(

"I'm using iPhone 5S on iOS 8.0.2 so let me check my phone. Oh that's strange, my number has disappeared too. Hmmm maybe that's why I haven't been receiving any iMessages today. No worries I'll escalate this to Engineering. I'll call you back as soon as I have an update."

Its both reassuring and disconcerting at the same time when senior technical support is having the same problem as you. I'm not alone. He works there and he's having the same problem. At least now it went to the Engineering department.

Day 6, Jason called back at 7.30am and told me to check again. I toggled the iMessage button and voila, iMessage was back.

Kudos to Apple technical support. They called everyday to see if my iMessage worked, and when I missed their call, they called back on the same day. Jason, senior technical support, was very patient and I don't think he works out of the Singapore office. Judging by the time he called me over the past couple of days, i think he was working either shifts or plain ol' overtime. Kudos to everyone.

So if you are having weird issues with iMessage on iOS 8, try these steps from the Apple troubleshooting guide:

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