If you’re trying to activate FaceTime on your device for the first time and it shows an error message that reads “FaceTime: an error occurred during activation”, then that means there’s an issue with one of the elements that FaceTime uses for its activation. Until and unless these issues are sorted out, you’re going to face issues while activating the service on your devices.

Apple actually officially admits the issue and even offers recommendations on what you can do to fix it on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. There are a few basic things you can always try and apply on your devices to see if they help successfully activate FaceTime on your iPhone or Mac.

Table of Contents
    Fix FaceTime Activation Errors

    Check To See If The Apple Servers Are Facing a Downtime

    When you set up a feature like FaceTime, it needs to talk to one of the servers at Apple before it can actually function on your device. The activation process actually takes place with the help of an Apple server, and if that server is experiencing downtime, your activation process isn’t going to get through.

    So, the question is: how in this world can you find out if Apple’s FaceTime server is down? Well, Apple has put up a web page to tell you about it.

    Server Status page on Apple website

    There’s a server status page on the Apple website that tells you which of its servers are up and down. You can head over there using a web browser and find out for yourself if the FaceTime server is indeed experiencing downtime.

    If that’s the case, you’ll need to wait until Apple brings the server back up. There’s nothing you can do about it, unfortunately.

    If you’d rather have something on your Mac desktop, StatusBuddy also tells you if an Apple service is experiencing downtime.

    Make Sure The Internet Works On Your Device

    Since FaceTime is one of the features on your device that requires connecting to the Internet, you must make sure your phone’s Internet actually works. If you’re in an area where you have spotty Internet or your WiFi router’s acting up, you’ll need to fix it first before you can activate FaceTime.

    On an iOS device, though, you can reset the network settings and it might help you fix your network configurations.

    • Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
    • Tap on the option that says General to view your general settings.
    General in Settings menu
    • Scroll all the way down on the following screen and tap on the Reset option.
    Reset button in General menu
    • Select Reset Network Settings on the screen that follows. It’ll help you reset your network settings to the factory defaults.
    Reset Network Settings in Reset menu
    • It’ll prompt you to enter your passcode. Enter it and continue.
    Enter your passcode prompt

    Enable Your Apple Account For The Messages App

    If you haven’t already, you may want to enable your account in the Messages app on your Mac. It can help you fix the FaceTime activation error you’re facing on your devices. Enabling the account only takes tick-marking a box in the app on your machine.

    • Click on Launchpad, search for Messages, and launch the app on your Mac.
    Messages app in Search Bar
    • When it opens, click on the Messages option at the top and select Preferences. It opens the settings menu.
    Messages > Preferences selected
    • On the following screen, click on the Accounts tab at the top to view your available accounts.
    • You’ll now see your account listed there. What you want to do is tick-mark the box that says Enable this account next to your account.
    Enable this account checkbox in Settings tab
    • Close the app, reboot your Mac, and see if you can activate FaceTime.

    Ensure Your Time Zone Is Correctly Configured

    An incorrectly configured timezone can often cause many issues on your devices, as some apps require you to use the correct time zone that you’re actually in. You can fix it pretty easily, though.

    Change Time Zone On iPhone/iPad:

    • Open the Settings app on your device.
    • Tap on the General option as your time settings are located there.
    General in Settings menu
    • Tap on Date & Time on the following screen.
    Date & Time under General menu
    • You can select a time zone from the options available on your screen.
    • If you don’t want to manually specify a time zone, enable the Set Automatically option and it’ll automatically set up the correct time zone for you.
    Set Automatically toggled to on

    Change Time Zone On Mac:

    • Click on the Apple logo at the top-left corner of your screen and select System Preferences.
    System Preferences in Apple menu
    • Choose Date & Time on the following screen.
    Date & Time in System Preferences menu
    • Click on the Time Zone tab and you can specify a time zone for your machine.
    Time Zone tab with Closest City menu

    Turn Off FaceTime & Then Turn It Back On

    Apple recommends you to turn both Messages and FaceTime off and then turn them back on and this should likely fix the “FaceTime: an error occurred during activation” issue on your devices. Sometimes, all that some features need is a reboot and they start working normally, magically.

    • Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
    • Scroll down and tap on the option that says Messages.
    Messages menu in Settings
    • On the following screen, you’ll find a toggle next to iMessage. Turn the toggle to the OFF position.
    iMessage toggle in Messages menu
    • Head back to the main settings screen and tap on the option that says FaceTime.
    FaceTime option in Settings screen
    • Turn the toggle next to FaceTime to the OFF position.
    FaceTime toggle in FaceTime settings
    • Restart your device.
    • Go to Settings and enable both the options that you turned off above.
    • Try activating FaceTime and see if it works.

    Remove FaceTime Entries From Keychain Access

    Deleting the FaceTime entries from Keychain Access on your Mac can help you fix the FaceTime activation error, and it’s fairly easy to do.

    • Launch the Keychain Access on your Mac.
    Keychain Access in Search Bar
    • Click on login in the left sidebar and also click on All Items in the same sidebar so all of your Keychain saved items are displayed.
    • Use the search box at the top to search for FaceTime.
    Search box in Keychain Access
    • When the search results appear, right-click on the FaceTime entries and select Delete.
    Delete in right-click menu
    • Do it for all the entries you find in the app.

    Whether you’re a regular FaceTime user setting up the feature on a new device or you’re completely new to this video and audio calling feature on iOS, you don’t expect it to start showing errors soon as you open it on your devices.

    Have you been a victim of this error on your iOS or Mac device before? What method helped you fix it? Our readers would appreciate your response in the comments below.