Seeing “An Error Occurred During Authentication” for iMessage on a Mac? What to Do Now


Have you just purchased a Mac notebook and are enjoying its awesome functionality? Suddenly, after a few weeks or months of usage, you are faced with “an error occurred during authentication” iMessage. Perhaps, you are an old user but it’s your first time seeing this notification. Let’s help you get out of the woods with this step-by-step guide.

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Why Does the Error Message Appear: “An Error Occurred During Authentication”?

This error notification is not peculiar to you alone. Through observation, we have realised this is a problem usually faced by users who update their Mac operating system. It may have worked perfectly in the morning but by evening, the error box pops up.

If you also migrated your Mac User account, information associated with your ID may no longer be valid. Additionally, the problem could be due to an iCloud Keychain. The iCloud Keychain is purposed to sync passwords, credit card info and your usernames. Sometimes, however, the iCloud Keychain confuses the Mac’s Keychain and you become frustrated with an authentication error message.

In other instances, iMessage turns unresponsive due to problems with your Apple Push Notification Service. An internal conflict, therefore results in the message you have to deal with.

Now here is one reason you would love to know. On rare occasions, Apple servers happen to obstruct your Mac’s Apple ID access to iMessage. This can happen when you travel abroad, logged in with different Apple IDs or you entered your password wrongly one too many times.

Even more importantly, if Apple has reasons to believe your account is being hacked, you will receive an error authentication notice. Apple will block your device’s use of the Apple ID for iMessage. In this case, the error notification becomes a security feature for your own good.

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How to Fix This Error Message

Before you set out to resolve the error iMessage, ensure your devices are set up as follows:

  • Each device is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.
  • On your iPhone, proceed to Settings >>>Messages >>>Send & Receive. Check the top of your screen to ensure that the Apple ID at the top of the screen is the same being used for iMessage on all other devices.
  • To be reached at all times, enable a check or tick to your email address and phone number. If you have an iPod touch or iPad, remember to do this on them as well.
  • On your iPhone again, go to Settings >>> Messages >>> Text Message Forwarding. It is your prerogative to choose which of your devices will allow a receive or send messages from your iPhone. Assuming you set up a dual- authentication for your Apple ID, a verification code would be sent to each of your devices. Enter that code on your iPhone.
  • On your Mac device, open Messages. Choose Messages >>> Preferences. Click on ‘Accounts.’ At this point, select your iMessage account. Do a double-check of your Apple ID and be certain it is the same across your devices. Enable, add, tick, or check your phone number and email address.
  • Reset NVRAM. Sounds like a mouthful? This is short for Non-volatile Random-Access Memory. To do this, shut down your Mac and turn it back on immediately. Proceed to press and hold the option, Command, P and R buttons together and at the same time. Release all four keys after about 20 seconds. This could resolve the error 

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Alternate Quick Fix for This Error Message: “An Error Occurred During Authentication”

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Photo credit: Besjunior

If it is impossible to sign in to your iMessage account, one of the below should help resolve the “An error occurred during authentication” notification.

  • Check your Internet connection to be certain your Mac device has an uninterrupted internet connection. If you are not certain, try loading a web page, send or receive an email. These are sure ways to check your connectivity.
  • Check the Apple System Status page to determine if there is a service outage affecting iMessage. Sometimes, a momentary outage could give error notifications like what you have.
  • Crosscheck your Date and Time settings by going to your Apple menu >>> System Preferences. Click Date and Time. Ensure the time date and time zone are correct. If your ‘Set date and time automatically’ box is enabled or selected, uncheck it and select again. However, if your checkbox is dimmed, enter your administrator password by clicking the padlock sign.
  • One other thing you need to look out for is your Software. Is it up-to-date? It is worth knowing that software updates improve the security of your Mac, enhances compatibility and stability. As you’re here, check for the appearances of 3rd party software and installed firewall(s). Sometimes Software blocks the proper functioning of network ports. You need to be sure nothing here is the culprit.
  • Check your Apple ID, sign out and sign back in. Do the same for your iMessage account. Isn’t it a great relief to realize your quick fix is just a few button clicks or taps on a touch screen?

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How to Avoid in Future

Avoiding a recurrence of this error authentication notice is simple only if you refer to the causes and how they could happen.

Always ensure your internet connectivity is uninterrupted. If for some reason you cannot have a continuous supply, avoid logging in to iMessage or FaceTime.

It is your responsibility to ensure your Mac software is updated regularly. It will help prevent authentication error messages. If you are not too sure about the features of your newly-installed firewalls, go online to search if they are compatible with your Mac device.

You may find it fun to sync your iCloud on several devices. If this does not hinder your ability to work, for instance, stick to a maximum of two devices. By doing this, you cut down on having to constantly use all your synced devices to access Mac functions and features. You also avoid the risk of forgetting your passwords.

Most importantly, when you have to travel outside your home country, remember to check your Mac settings and time zone. Reset these to avoid the inconvenience of having to troubleshoot the problem.

Finally, make a conscious effort to be abreast with your device and possible changes made by Apple. With the decision to use a Mac comes great responsibility to know how it works. Its features and functions are quite different from what you would see on a regular android or another brand.

In conclusion, your Mac is an investment that requires the utmost care. If you missed anything that would have helped resolve the authentication error message, have fun going over this article. You are bound to find something new when you do.


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