A: Why is my iMessage phone number blurred out and I can’t click on it? When I send iMessages to my friends, they receive them from my email address and not my number.

Phone number inactive in iMessage

– Jalita

A: On an iPhone, your device’s phone number will always appear in your Messages and FaceTime settings. This number normally appears greyed out and you cannot select or de-select it since it is usually enabled automatically by the iMessage and FaceTime cellular activation process. Under normal circumstances, this should be indicated by a checkmark beside the number.

If, however, a checkmark does not appear beside your number, it means that your iPhone has been unable to complete the iMessage activation process to verify your number. In this case, you will only be able to use your e-mail address for iMessage or FaceTime. In this case, you will probably see a “Waiting for Activation” message on the main Messages settings screen, right below the switch for toggling iMessage on or off.


Phone number inactive in iMessage

The iMessage activation process works by sending an SMS message to Apple’s servers in order to verify your phone number. You must therefore have an active cellular plan on your device and be able to send and receive text messages. If you’re out of cellular coverage, do not have a cellular plan at all, or have SMS blocked on your account for some reason, you will not be able to use your phone number for iMessage or FaceTime, as Apple has no other way of verifying it.

If you’re sure that your cellular plan is active and supports standard SMS text messages, you can try to force reactivation by toggling iMessage OFF for a few minutes and then turning it back on. Restarting your device or removing and reinserting your SIM card may help as well.



Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.