Fix for FaceTime and iMessages not working on iOS 6 in the UAE.

By on September 20, 2012
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Your imported iPhone or iPad feeling lonely after iOS 6 upgrade?

It’s a known fact that official iOS devices sold in the UAE don’t have FaceTime installed and UAE is not available in the list of countries when signing up for iMessages. However, with the upgrade to iOS 6, some people are facing issues trying to activate FaceTime or iMessages even if they have an imported device that worked well with the above two services on iOS 5.

What is happening is that in IOS 6, Apple is also checking the address defined in your Apple ID associated with your account. So while creating your Apple ID, if you chose UAE as your location, you will not be able to validate your email/password in iMessages or FaceTime under iOS 6.

There is a simple way of getting this to work though. On your newly iOS 6 updated iPhone or iPad, go to the iTunes App and scroll all the way down to the bottom where it says Apple ID : (your account). Tap on your account and select View Apple ID. Here you will see an option to change your Country/Region and chances are that UAE is currently selected for your account. Change this location to another country such as UK, US or wherever else you fancy and accept the new agreement.

You might need to enter a valid address for the country you chose as your new location so make sure you have one handy. Once this is done, go back to iMessages and/or FaceTime and sign in with your Apple ID. You should now be able to sign into both of these services. Once you are signed in, you can go back to iTunes and change the location of your account back to the UAE.


Customers on du did not face any problems but as per the comments below, it looks like anyone who was having trouble was on Etisalat. While I dont have an iPhone 5 to check, it is being reported that Etisalat has “fixed” the problem now and iMessages as well as Facetime should be working on it’s network as well- just switch your iPhone off and then back on. Thanks to @DubaiGadgets and @JadoPado for reporting this.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

  • me

    If you have an iTunes Match subscription you can’t change stores. Similarly, logging in with another / new account doesn’t fix this either still.

    • ajaffarali

      IF you have iTunes Match then you already have a US account.

      • me

        on etisalat. seems to coincide with what rudy said. i can activate with apple ID, but not with phone number.

        • Joe

          facetime and imessage are always installed on any iphone, ipod and ipad. the thing is that they are hidden as per the agreement between Etisalat, Du & apple. even if u move to uk with another carrier, it will not work.

          if you jailbreak your apple device, you can download one program from cydia to show the facetime and imessage in the settings menu.
          to activate and run, you need a VPN. but what is happening, even if activated, it works only on 3G or LTE, not on Wifi.

          good luck

  • Mayar0x

    Hey, I’ve been facing this issue since I updated to iOS and I’ve changed my country to USA and still I am not able to activate my iMessage.

  • Kim

    Negative! I can’t activate my +971 number with US or German Apple ID. It is not possible anymore. Article provides wrong information! It is not working for everybody!

  • Rudy

    There are two issues here:
    - Etisalat has blocked iMessage/FaceTime activation with a phone number (i.e. +971501234567)
    - There is a bug in iOS 6 that prevents iMessage/FaceTime activation with an Apple ID (i.e. and give an error “the username or password is incorrect”

    You need to complain to both parties (Etisalat and Apple). Etisalat is absolutely ridiculous and has blocked it for monetary reasons. Apple will be able to resolve it with a software update, but you need to voice your issue so they are aware of it.

  • ajaffarali

    Can you guys post if you are on du or Etisalat? I’ve been hearing reports that its not working for Etisalat but not much of an issue from du

  • Nash

    Worked for me!!! Thanks buddy! After ages of trying to figure this out, you came to the rescue!!


    am on DU network and its working fine with iOS 5.1 I have NOT updated to iOS 6.0 yet but with older version, its working.

  • Vito A

    Abbas Jaffar is partly correct. My wife had the same problem on her phone, but the flag for United States was not showing when reviewing in Settings > iTunes & App Stores > click on your Apple ID, click on View Apple ID: Next to Country/Region you should see the US Flag (or flag of your country that supports FaceTime). The suggestion to change the App Store country wasn’t an option as she currently has an iTunes Store balance. As others have noted, there may be other reasons that prevent you from changing the country, even though it should already show as US (or your whater your currently selected ITunes country should be).
    TO FIX THIS: Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy. Enter your number passcode (if prompted), and select to reset the location and privacy data only. Now go back into Settings > iTunes & App Stores > click on your Apple ID, click on View Apple ID, sign in with your Apple ID and password. You should now (hopefully) see the country flag in the third line down in the “Edit” box.

  • biang

    after updating iphone to Ios6, facetime and imessage worked for 1 week. then 2 days ago, facetime is not working anymore but it is activated. i message is working fine.
    i retstore iphone but same problem occur. is it true that du users never encountere this problem? i am using etisalat sim

  • Arc66616

    Im using du! But im having problem with facetime! Imessage is working OK so far. Last use on wednesday and after that it wont connect anymore! Can i downgrade to ios 5.0.1? Would facetime work?

  • Gangnam Style

    i have Android.. and all i can say to you sheeple is.. hahahahahahahahahaa…
    NEVER update asap its out.. wait.. read reviews.. wait to be debugged.. then upgrade… hahahahahahaha.. Long live android.. like a free bird.. all u ppl slaves to apples ios..

    • projectdragon

      Gangnam Style, you are a child. All these people were voicing concerns and you came forward with derogatory statements. Perhaps you enjoy making fun of others at their expense?

    • kj

      if you love android so much then what are you doing on apple blog?

  • Mohammed Aamer

    Thanks A lot its working from me. Any Tweak for VIBER as well please anybody.

  • Edward

    I purchased my iPhone 4S from Etisalat on one of their bundles and of course it doesn’t even have iMessenger or Facetime installed. I have a UK store account and Apple ID and I am moving back to the UK permanently in a weeks time. Is there any way that I can install these two apps (they are not available in the store) and get them to work once I’m back in the UK? I also upgraded to iOS6.0 with the UK store and ID already in place but no luck with these two apps. Can anybody help?

    • Yasser

      I think once you move back to UK and use a service provider other than MISERABLE Etisalat, you will get these services activate or at least the option to have them activated. Just wait until you are back in the UK. I just noticed the time you posted this and I am willing to bet you already have it working.

      • scalpello

        Hi Yasser – unfortunately not! I have a UK store account, changed my profile to show UK and also number to the UK one (Vodafone) etc but I still do not have the iMessenger or Facetime apps so cannot activate them anyway and can find no way of downloading them both. Any idea how I can do this?

    • mike2angelo

      “I think once you move back to UK and use a service provider other than MISERABLE Etisalat, you will get these services activate or at least the option to have them activated.” just wanted to know if it worked.

      • scalpello

        Hi mike2angelo – unfortunately not! I have a UK store account, changed my profile to show UK and also number to the UK one (Vodafone) etc but I still do not have the iMessenger or Facetime apps so cannot activate them anyway and can find no way of downloading them both. Any idea how I can do this?

  • spakol

    are you fishing for complimentary iPhone5? :) You don’t need iPhone 5 but an iPhone or iPad on iOS6 right?

  • Wael

    Thanks a lot, Its working !!

  • Shlimp

    Clap, nothing Works.

  • Shlimp

    When contacted Etisalat support feigned ignorance and claimed that there were no complaints whatsoever. When the wired network becomes shared and people can switch between ISP I expect Etisalat to have zero customers as everyone is just fed up with these shenanigans.

  • OMAR

    No, I’m using DU and the same problem !!!

  • kj

    I think you cannot just change the ID location and expect it to work.
    You also have to enter a valid telephone number and address within your id profile.

  • Richard

    Hello Abbas, I have a iphone 4s with an etisalat sim (although the phone was purchased unlocked in UK). I was able to use i-message and face-time with ios 5 but since my upgrade it does not……I can make calls and even see incoming calls, but when I go to accept or my party I’m calling accepts…just says connecting…..something seems to be blocking it from finalizing.

    My account is already linked with a US account….looked at settings and things are normal….When I turn on face time….just says waiting for activation… UAE number isn’t highlighted……can one of the other comments regarding UAE numbers being blocked–be true!

    • mini

      I have the same problem please advice some on

  • Richard

    I just spoke with etisalat and the agent claims they are not blocking i-message/facetime in the UAE. Then said they couldn’t offer support as these features are not available here,,,very frustrating! Thinking I’m going to switch to DU if there’s no problem with them…

    • Imad Ansari

      They may claim they are not blocking, but something funny is definitely happening from their end. Easiest way to activate for is to log onto a VPN on you iPhone and then try and enable Facetime/iMessage. Thats what I did and it worked like a charm. When on VPN, any traffic you send is encrypted so the service providers dont know whats its for and hence cant block specific type of traffic (for example facetime activation).

      • Yasser

        This seems logical but how do I set up my VPN in a way that works within UAE?

        • jb

          how to activate vpn?

      • bulaga!

        don’t believe them…something, for sure they’ve blocked it. I have some issues with Etisalat before but this is regarding my BB service. I can’t seem to send messages to my home country but when I used it here in UAE its working fine…I called them 9 times different days. They claimed that they have not blocked or anything…but my hubby’s working with telecom and had a connection with RIM UK and asked him directly, we gave my details and said that I had problems with my carrier………

  • Scatch

    I have iMessage and FaceTime on iPod Touch 4/ Purchased in UK/ Registered in UK/ Country set to UK
    iMessage and FaceTime used to work
    Now iMessage works but FaceTime does not

  • Barns

    This worked for me. I think the issue others are having is that they are using their phone numbers to activate it. You need to use a number in the country that you’ve selected. Since the phone number has the country code. After activating, you’ll go back and edit your apple ID and fix your real number.
    Thanks for the info.

  • omesh

    it works!

  • abeer

    iphone5 sold through etisalat does not have facetime

  • Nanna

    I did this, changed it from Icelandic to UK and signed in and then changed it back. Worked like a charm =)

  • Daisy Duke

    use VPN account for etisalat or Du, then FACETIME will work just like mine.

  • Russell

    This worked for me. Both imessage and facetime woking after I input a valid UK addrss and changed country to UK and accepted the agreement.

    • Zunair Memon

      did u entered the complete address or just filled the mandatory fields ?

  • MK

    Hi guys,
    i’m using DU and tried this solution but it’s not working :(
    i’ve even tried to install a VPN program and try it, but also not working.

    any suggestions???

    • teef

      try to install VPN express u need to activate it once fo imessages and it will work but fo the facetime sometimes it works sometimes it is not
      the alternative of facetime is tango and it is working well thru the 3g netwok but with wifi from etisalt it is blocked and not working

  • musab

    what if i have an iPad 4 from UAE and want to put facetime in it as i am now in pakistan?

  • sunny

    people, i-phones sold in uae do not come with pre-loaded facetime! i bought a phone last night and it doesnt have face-time pre-loaded on it and there is no way that i can load it either!!! for phone which have face-time loaded on it but not working, the trciks described below might work!! Am returning the damn phone!!!

  • Safia

    I moved from Business Bay to Mirdif in Dubai so I am now under the mercy of Etisalat (thanks du for being less greedy). Their internet service is AED 100 higher per month and and they provide only one phone outlet and one internet outlet (comared to two each with du). FaceTime is blocked as well. When trying to contact them they deny it. when using facetime the phone rings but never connects. Thanks etisalat for being so nice.

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