My iPhone 5 suddenly ceased using iMessages. The phone is unlocked, has ios 9.3.2 installed, I have very few apps installed, and no new apps installed recently.

When I go to Settings > Messages > iMessage and try to toggle, I get the following:

iMessage Unavailable
Turn on cellular data or use Wi-Fi to set up iMessage.

However, cellular data is enabled in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data. Cellular data seems to be working fine in Safari, apps, etc. I get the same behavior with LTE or 4G cellular.

I have tried all of the following based on hunches and information gleaned from non-stackexchange sites:

  • Restarting Messages
  • Restarting the phone
  • Resetting network settings
  • Resetting the phone's passcode
  • Resetting the AppleID account password associated with this phone
  • Erasing all content and settings from the phone, and then restoring from backup
  • Ejecting the SIM card, and replacing it.

How to get this basic functionality to work again?

1 Answer 1


Ok, so there's at least one solution:

  1. Establish a Wi-Fi connection using Settings > Wi-Fi (switch on, etc.).

  2. Log-in the iphone using AppleID when prompted.

  3. Disconnect cellular using Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data (switch to OFF).

  4. Switch iMessage on (Facetime, etc.) in Settings > Messages > iMessage.

  5. Switch cellular data on by reversing step 3.

  6. Switch Wi-Fi off if so inclined by reversing step 1.

That did it!

Also? Screw Apple! Talk about cut-rate functionality…

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