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Everytime I restart my iPhone, I have to verify/activate my iMessage services(both FaceTime and iMessages) and everytime I have to pay carrier charges.

Edit: I selected the option to use Apple ID to send and receive messages, will update the question if I am still being charged.

How do I avoid this?

Note: Not sure if it is helpful but I have a Sim Card Lock enabled.

  • You probably have to ask your carrier why you’re being charged in the first place. Secondly, why are you restarting your phone so often? – Allan May 6 at 14:57
  • @Allan The alert notification that pops up says that carrier charges may apply, so messages with the OTP might be sent, so that is the reason my carrier is charging me for. And I restart my phone often because I need to free up my RAM. Because let’s face it iPhones have the least amount of RAM provided even on their flagship phones. – Valay_17 May 6 at 15:14
  • iPhone RAM capacities not withstanding, a legal disclaimer popping up saying “carrier charges may apply” does not mean you were actually charged. So, the next, most logical question to ask is “were you, in fact, charged for reactivating your phone?” If no, there’s no actual problem to solve. – Allan May 6 at 15:17
  • @Allan Yes I receive a message saying that I was charged with 0.1 dollars. – Valay_17 May 6 at 15:20
  • Ok...then I go back to my very first comment and ask them when you are being charge 10 cents (0.1 dollar) for activation. We can’t answer questions about your carrier’s policy here. – Allan May 6 at 15:21
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Apple iMessage only works with an Apple id and your iPhone mobile number. Since SMS activation is only required if you want to use your phone number with iMessage / Facetime chat, removing your phone from iMessage should stop the request for repeated SMS activation.

To remove your phone number from iMessage follow these steps:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out.

  2. Then go to Settings > FaceTime, select your Apple ID and tap Sign Out.

  3. Additionally, some may require to go back to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and TapUse your Apple ID for iMessage” and sign in with your Apple ID.

(Note: If Messages and / or Facetime section in settings is disabled / greyed out, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Account Changes and tap 'Allow')

Source: Add or remove your phone number in Messages or FaceTime on all your iDevices and Mac.

ºº(This didn't work for me on an old iPhone with an outdated version of ios and still kept asking for SMS activation. So update ios on your device if you still have issues.)


Yeah, this is an issue with iMessage / Facetime and I would even label it a bug, even if Apple doesn't consider it so.

In fact, it's even more irritating for users like me who have to pay international rates for the SMS that iMessage / Facetime wants to send to Apple for activation.

This is an Apple issue and not a carrier / cellular phone provider as this is about activation of an Apple service (iMessage / Facetime). So talking to your carrier support won't help with this.

Before you can use iMessage / Facetime chatting service on your iPhone, it requires that an SMS be sent from your phone to Apple to activate it. This SMS is sent the first time you try to use iMessage / Facetime or if ios thinks your iMessage needs to be activated. So for me, and many others outside US, it sends a costly international SMS to Apple.

This SMS activation is required if you want someone to also be able to iMessage you using your mobile phone number. (Note that by iMessage I mean message that is sent through iCloud and internet and not SMS, which are messages sent through your carrier network. You can always send SMS through the Message app without requiring any such Apple activiation.).

I presume that iMessage / Facetime keeps asking to send SMS activation on every restart, because it probably wants to verify if you have changed your SIM card or phone number.

There is currently no known method to avoid sending this SMS to activate iMessage on the iPhone. (Apple iPad and iPod Touch don't require SMS activation for using iMessage as you can only use your apple id for iMessage on these devices).

The only way to avoid paying the SMS charges is to change your plan to one that includes free SMS (but this option will work only for US citizens, as no plan I've heard of includes free international SMS!). Or to a different carrier that has an understanding with Apple to not charge for such SMS sent to Apple. (Yeah, I know both options suck).


Note: If you frequently have to restart your iPhone because the phone seems to hang or struggle, it may be time to change your iPhone's battery. As your battery becomes older, ios throttles your phone so that the battery is not strained and can give you longer battery life. But ofcourse, this means that your phone becomes slower and everything feels sluggish.iPhone's

More information on this can be found here -

  1. iPhone Battery and Performance
  2. What is iPhone throttling and why does it happen?
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  • Let’s not discuss about the RAM part as it is a topic for some other day. – Valay_17 May 8 at 3:33
  • What if I used only my Apple ID and removed my phone number from the iMessages and FaceTime? Then it won’t require me to authenticate. I have actually did that and even after restarting, I wasn’t charged for the same. Maybe add this part to your answer so that I can mark it as an accepted answer. – Valay_17 May 8 at 3:36
  • @Valay_17 - removing the phone number didn't work out for me but I've added that info as requested as it may help others. – sfxedit May 9 at 14:17
  • I did restart a several times and I wasn’t asked for the activation. Also, I own 2 iPhones, incase you might have guessed from my other question yet they are both on iOS 13.4.1. – Valay_17 May 9 at 16:07
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    @Valay_17 I've edited and removed the ram part but left the battery part in there as it is useful information that may help someone else. – sfxedit May 15 at 20:25
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Carrier activation is handed, well, at the carrier level. You have to activate your phone with their servers so that it can’t “talk” on their network. Note: this is outside of Apple’s activation of the iPhone which is a completely separate process.

As to why they charge a fee every time you activate, it comes down to being their policy.

Can you circumvent this?

No. In order for your phone to work on a carrier’s network, it must register several things like your IMEI number and SIM card number to the network and get authorization to connect. Every time you reset a phone it’s setting it back to the “factory” state where it hasn’t been registered to a network. So, the moment you start it up, it’s going to go through the process of registering itself to the carrier’s network.

The problem you stated (in comments) as to why you’re resetting your phone being the lack of RAM; well, unfortunately, there’s only two solutions:

  • get a phone with more RAM
  • don’t install every single app you encounter on your phone

I personally don’t install highly technical apps or point of sale apps or network analysis apps on a phone that I use to do my personal banking and check my medical records. I get a separate device for that. If you’re a gamer and want to test/play with/review every other game that comes out, perhaps an iPod touch would be more your style. This way, you can accomplish what you wan’t without the constant re-activation charges.

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  • I have issues with the term "carrier activation charges" as it can be misconstrued as an "activation charge" you are paying for some service offered by the carrier. This is not the case as iMessage and Facetime on iCloud platform is an Apple service independent of your cellular provider. For most carriers who don't have a tie up with Apple, the SMS sent by iMessage / Facetime to activate itself is just another SMS and they charge us accordingly. Removing that confusing term can improve your answer. – sfxedit May 9 at 18:26
  • Also, OP is not wondering why he is being charged for activation (as Apple clearly displays a popup that you may be charged) but why Apple needs to repeatedly try to send activation SMS (that is costing him money) everytime he restarts his phone. – sfxedit May 9 at 18:31

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