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We live in a day and age where privacy is essential and our accounts are seemingly under threat 24/7. Thanks to those threats, businesses developed the two-factor authentication process, also known as 2FA. It’s aggravating, decently useful, and sometimes extremely difficult to get it to work on Apple devices.
There are a number of potential things that need to be fixed between initiating the 2FA process with an Apple device and receiving the 2FA verification code text. It could be an issue within your iPhone or something caused by your cell carrier, while Airplane mode is a common culprit.
It’s a shame we have to engage in such a process to protect the integrity of our accounts and it’s especially frustrating when it just doesn’t work. After all, you created a super complex password for this, and it’s seemingly irrelevant as you tap your feet, waiting for the code.
Table of Contents
6 Potential Fixes to iPhone Not Receiving verification Texts
1. Restart Your iPhone
The old-school reset is something that’s going to pop up in just about every troubleshooting scenario with any device more complicated than a mouse trap. Why? Because it’s just so effective. Resetting devices has been the go-to fix for decades and is always one of the first things you should try.
The biggest reason a reset works is because it takes care of the hundreds of tiny processes at any given time (within the iPhone) that most of us couldn’t hope to understand. It’s entirely possible that some software is chugging along, minding its own business, and inadvertently blocking 2FA.
On most Apple devices today, the simplest way to restart is to hold the power and volume up buttons down at the same time. The screen will change to a sliding scale that powers off the device.
Once it’s powered down, eat breakfast or something and press the power button when you’re done.
The Apple logo should pop up on the screen, which is always an indication that the device is powering back up. Just be sure to save any pertinent programs you’re working on before shutting things down.
2. Utilize Airplane Mode
First and foremost, you should check to be sure Airplane mode isn’t on. If you have to turn Airplane mode off and on periodically, for work purposes or whatever, it’s really easy to go about your day, completely forgetting that it’s still on.
Oftentimes, simply turning Airplane mode on and back off again is nearly as effective as a reset. That’s because it is, in a way. When you turn Airplane mode on and back off again, you’re resetting the network, including both WiFi and LTE/5G/4G capabilities
Depending on where you’re at, your iPhone/iPad is dependent on WiFi or LTE to receive messages, especially messages that include a two-factor authentication code.
- Open your Settings Menu
- Scroll down to Airplane Mode
- Tap it to turn it on
- Wait a few seconds
- Tap it again to turn it back off
Depending on what’s in your Control Center, you might be able to access Airplane Mode by swiping down from the upper, right-hand corner of the screen. If you don’t see Airplane Mode in the Control Center, you’re free to add it, especially if you use the feature frequently.
- Open the Settings Menu
- Scroll down to Control Center
- Tap Control Center and the next screen will show two categories—Included Controls and More Controls
- If Airplane Mode is in More Controls, tap the green plus icon next to it to place it in Included Controls
- Now, you can access Airplane Mode from the Control Center
3. Contact Your Mobile Carrier
Believe it or not, there are still cheap phone plans that may block your ability to receive a simple, two-factor authentication message, even if it’s through the very network that built your iPhone. Weird, right? If you are on a very cheap plan, that may be your problem.
Call your mobile carrier and work over the details of your plan and how the text messages work. You should also ask them if there is any kind of restriction, within the parameters of your plan, that would cause Apple’s verification notifications from coming through on your iPhone.
It could be that they will make an exception or you may have to go so far as to upgrade your plan to the next level. It’s really just another side effect of the necessity for two-factor authentication procedures. It’s made even worse by the fact that some 2FA isn’t optional.
In other words, if you want to log into your account with any kind of frequency, you have no choice but to go through the 2FA process.
4. Are You Blocking Your Own Messages?
Turning on the “Block Unknown Callers” feature extends to text messages. It could be that you are actively blocking Apple from sending you a verification notification message for your two-factor authentication.
You should check it and jump into your Messages app within Settings to see if you have anything blocked on there as well. To check and see who you are actively blocking, you’ll have to go to Settings.
- Open up Settings (Gear icon)
- Scroll down to the Messages App
- Scroll down to Blocked Contacts
- If you’ve been blocking for a while, there might be a ton to sort through
- You might not know which numbers to unblock specifically
- After you’ve viewed the Blocked Contacts, select the Back Arrow
- Scroll down to Filter Unknown Senders
- Turn the toggle off (from Green to Grey)
- Do the 2FA process again and take careful note of the phone number
- Return to Blocked contacts and attempt to match the phone number with any matches or ones that are very close matches.
It’s not a foolproof method and, while you’re in the Messages Settings, be sure that the MMS Messaging toggle is on (Green).
5. Make Sure You Verified Your Number
When it comes to 2FA, you would be very surprised how often this very simple mistake occurs. It’s mostly a problem with those who have machine gun fingers and can run off a full-blown book’s worth of text in under a minute, or have a 100 words-per-minute rate on a keyboard.
It’s easy enough to mistype that lone digit in the middle of all ten. While you’re punching the “Send” button over and over and screaming in frustration, someone’s smartphone is blowing up with authentication messages. The problem is, it’s not your phone.
Go back and make sure you entered your phone number correctly. Oftentimes, you’ll notice that there is often an email option as well, using the email associated with your Apple ID. In a worst-case scenario, try using the email version instead.
6. Factory Reset Your iPhone
This should be an absolutely last resort. If you have to factory reset your iPhone, you’re in dire straights for sure. This will unfortunately erase all of your iPhone’s data, including all of yours. Fortunately, Apple allows those who have a large enough iCloud subscription to keep a backup of their iPhones.
You can also jump on a Mac or a PC and use iTunes to back up your iPhone on your computer. Apple has a fairly decent allowance for iCloud users for cheap. That may be your best option. Fork over a few bucks, back up your iPhone, factory reset it, restore the backup, and unsubscribe once you get your 2FA to come through.
- Go to the Settings Menu on your iPhone/iPad
- Select General
- Select Transfer or Reset Device
- Enter your iPhone Passcode
- Confirm and factory reset
All Things Considered
There you have it, 6 ways to get those frustrating, two-factor authentication verification codes to come through. Hopefully, you’ll never have to fall back on that sixth option and factory reset your iPhone/iPad.
The unfortunate existence of 2FA is a necessity in our lives. If there’s one thing we would appreciate, it’s a streamlined and simple process for doing it. However, that’s not always the case. Be sure to exhaust all of the above options before resorting to a reset.