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Thursday, March 9, 2017

iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again - [ Solved ]

There is no doubt that Apple provides its customers with the best possible user experience but still as we know, nobody is perfect in this world and so the Apple's services suck too. A good example of this could be the iMessage and Facetime activation error that cripples you the most. Almost every Apple user has encountered this tragedy at one time or another that he/she could not login to iMessage and/or Facetime on Mac and gets error message "An error occurred during activation. Try again".The same user can login to iCloud with no problems. Yes, this is a very well known issue with Apple devices which has been ongoing since the launch of iOS 5 and OS X Mountain Lion (version 10.8). Apple made changes to its iMessage and Facetime authentication process at the launch of its new iOS 5 and OS X Mountain Lion to block Hackintosh users and hackers from using iMessage and Facetime. As a result of which some of the genuine Apple users got blocked and some still gets blocked temporarily and could not sign in to iMessage or Facetime. If this issue occurs only on just one device and you can login to iMessage or Facetime on other devices then it could be an issue with the device you are unable to login from. In this article I will be covering the troubleshooting steps to fix this activation error during login to iMessage or Facetime on Mac. This article is targeted to those users who have already activated their iMessage once but could not use it either after upgrading to macOS Sierra or after signing out of the iMessage app and trying to re-login and then he/she gets one of the following error messages.

  • Activation unsuccessful
  • An error occurred during activation. Try again.
  • Could not sign in, please check your network connection.
  • Unable to contact the iMessage server. Try Again.

iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again
Sometimes when attempting to sign in, nothing happens and no error message pops up after entering your Apple ID and correct password and process seems to act like its working, but it never completes as if it is timed out. Apple uses separate server for iMessage and thus the affected users can login to iCloud without any worry. This problem most of the times occur due to incorrect date and time or incorrect location or Auth- token settings on your Mac. In order to fix this iMessage activation error, follow the below mentioned troubleshooting steps in the same order as written.
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again


What is iMessage?

iMessage is one of the best instant messaging (IM) services by Apple Inc. It allows macOS and iOS users to send and receive text messages, group messages, documents, animations, pictures, videos, and contact information over Wi-Fi or mobile internet data. iMessage is integrated with general text messaging app on an iOS or macOS, so if a user sends a text message or an iMessage to an iPhone users it is received in iMessage app. If an iPhone user sends a text message to another iPhone user it is sent over the Wi-Fi, mobile internet data or any other form of internet access rather than being sent over the cellular or wireless service provider's network and thus saving on the cost of sending a text message. This all has become possible by the smart technologies used by iMessage that checks with Apple server if the mobile number is registered with iMessage before routing any message and if the number is not registered it will automatically be transitioned to a normal text message and sent over the wireless carrier's network. New iMessage with OS X Yosemite and above also allows you a remotely control the screen of other Mac user using the Apple ID.

iMessage Allows to share screen for Remote support
iMessage Allows to share screen for Remote support


How to fix iMessage activation error on Mac - "An error occurred during activation. Try again"?

There are so many myths and misconceptions about this activation error. Many users have reported several workarounds consisting disabling and re-enabling the two-factor authentication during login, logging-in with app-specific password, updating the OS and performing clean installation, but none of them seems to be a reliable solution.

# 1. Make sure you are logging in with correct Apple ID and password. Verify by logging on to https://appleid.apple.com.

# 2. Check for a service outage

There may be a temporary service outage affecting iMessage or Facetime. Check the Apple System Status to find out whether the iMessage service is experiencing any outage in your country. Select your country from the bottom of the page or choose one of the page from here or just replace the two digit country code.
Apple System Status Page for Canada : http://www.apple.com/ca/support/systemstatus/
Apple System Status Page for UK: http://www.apple.com/uk/support/systemstatus/
Apple System Status Page for Australia : http://www.apple.com/au/support/systemstatus/
Apple System Status Page for India : http://www.apple.com/in/support/systemstatus/

Check for iMessage service outage on Apple System Status Page
Check for iMessage service outage on Apple System Status Page
If there is any outage affecting iMessage in your country then wait until the outage is cleared and try again.

# 3. Try to login in Safe mode

Restart your Mac in safe mode by holding the Shift key down during boot up. If the iMessage works and you do not get any activation error then restart in normal mode and try again. If you still get activation error during login then move to the next step.

# 4. Turn off inbuilt firewall and any antivirus or security software temporarily as they might be blocking the connection with Apple's iMessage server.

# 5. Set the date and time to synchronize automatically with Apple Server.

Check if your Mac has the correct date and time and set to synchronize automatically with the right Apple's server. Click on Apple icon on the top left hand corner and select system preferences > Open Date and Time settings > Click on Date and Time Tab and Select the checkbox for ”Set date and time automatically”. If its already selected then deselect it and select it again. You will have to open the security lock at the bottom left hand corner to make changes. Enter the administrator password when asked.
Set date and Time automatically if you get iMessage activation error during login
Set date and Time automatically if you get iMessage activation error during login
Similarly go to Time Zone tab and deselect and then select the checkbox for " Set time zone automatically using current Location".You location should be the nearest possible.
Set time zone automatically if you get iMessage activation error during login
Set time zone automatically if you get iMessage activation error during login

# 6. Enable Location Services

Go to system preferences from Apple menu and > Open Security and Privacy applet > select Privacy tab and make sure the checkbox for " Enable Location Services" is selected. Try to login to iMessage on your Mac and see if works.If you still get the activation error then move on to the next step.
Enable location services to fix iMessage activation error during login on Mac
Enable location services to fix iMessage activation error during login on Mac


# 7. I
nstall any pending software update and make sure the macOS is up to date.




# 8. Delete all the old plist and configuration files for location and iMessage authentication

This is the major reason why iMessage can not sign in and gives an authentication or activation error during login. Go to ~/Library/Preferences/ and delete all files and folders beginning with the following prefixes:

com.apple.ichat
com.apple.icloud
com.apple.ids.service
com.apple.ids
com.apple.identityserviced
com.apple.imfoundation
com.apple.imessage
com.apple.imservice
com.apple.madrid
com.apple.imessage.bag
com.apple.imagent.plist
com.apple.security

# 9. Kill the services associated with iMessage

You may not be able to delete some of the above plist as they are already in use by the app. Kill all the following services in order to delete the old configuration and plist files associated with iMessage. Open terminal from /Applications/Utilities/ folder and run the following command.

killall identityserviced
killall imagent
killall securityd
killall securityd_service

# 10. Backup the messages and delete them all from Library

Go to folder ~/Library/Messages/ and move all of its contents to desktop and delete all the files from Messages folder.

# 11. Disable iCloud Keychain

Go to system preferences > open iCloud and uncheck the Keychain option from the list to stop using iCloud keychain temporarily.

Disable iCloud Keychain to fix iMessage activation error on Mac


# 12. Delete the old Auth Token and iMessage app password from Keychain

macOS uses an Auth Token named "IDS: Your Apple ID-Auth Token"( For example: IDS:johnappleseed@icloud.com-Auth Token) stored in Keychain app to have a Unique Login to the iMessages servers.You should delete these old entries from keychain and also delete the old application password for iMessage and Facetime.
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again

Open Keychain Access app > Select "Login' from top left and "Passwords" at lower left and then look for IDS: Your Apple ID-Auth Token and iMessage application password like iMessage Signing key, iMessage-protection-Key, ids:message-protection-key and delete them one by one.

iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again
iMessage activation error on Mac - An error occurred during activation. Try again


# 13. Reset SMC and NVRAM

Shutdown the computer and Reset SMC as it fixes hundreds of problem with application and macOS. Reset the NVRAM during startup too as the iMessage might still be using the old settings stored in NVRAM. Resetting it will force the macOS to create fresh entries for system settings that will enable iMessage to connect and login to the server. Try to login to iMessage now, it should work. If it still gives activation error or network error then move to the next step.

# 14. Add a public DNS in network settings

Open System preferences from Apple menu at the top left hand corner > Select network > Click on the active network interface on the top left pane > click on "Advanced.." button > Select DNS tab from top and click on the "+ " sign to add public DNS.
Type 8.8.8.8 and press enter and type 8.8.4.4 to add the these two public DNS.

Add public DNS if you get iMessage activation error on Mac during Login
Add public DNS if you get iMessage activation error on Mac during Login


# 15. Contact Apple Support


If you have tried all the above steps and you are still getting the iMessage activation error- "An error occurred during activation. Try again" then it has something to do with the Apple server. There might be a possibility that the iMessage server has blocked you Mac specific login and only a reset to iMessage server regarding your Mac's use of the Apple ID will fix it. Contact Apple support at https://getsupport.apple.com/ and tell them the story about the troubleshooting steps that you have already performed. They may transfer your case to a level 2 engineer and it may take 24 hours or more.



*******End of the Article*******

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