I thought that it was just me and that Apple servers had singled me out for looking so dishevelled all the time stopping me from using FaceTime to protect the world from me.  However it seems that I’m not alone in the world and many Lion users are getting the following error message.

“The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later”

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Fix Attempt Number 1

1. In Spotlight type in “Keychain Access”
2. Look at the bottom entry in certificates.  There will be a certificate issued by Apple iPhone Device CA – This certificate was signed by an unknown authority. Delete this certificate (or move it to the desktop, out of the keychain access store)
3. Launch Facetime and login – this time there will be no error…
Source Apple Forums

However this isn’t working for everyone, myself included.  Others have gone down the route of installing Lion afresh instead of over the top of Snow Lion and reports seem to suggest this doesn’t solve the issue.

Other attempts at a fix have been

Changing your DNS provider,
Removing and re adding interfaces

Digging a little deeper it seems that

Facetime Cert Error Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later

is where facetime is trying to go to resolve a certificate for facetime but this brings up the following error message.

Another Suggested Fix Is to edit your hosts file, taking out anything that isn’t supposed to be there, however as this bug affects clean install of Lion, we aren’t sure this would have any impact.

Fix Number 2: Fixed my issue of facetime not working

In finder find your hosts file.

Goto Folder In Finder Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later

Use goto folder under finder and type

Go To Folder To Fix Facetime Error Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later


(both of which are the same file – the 2nd being a symbolic link to the 1st)

Finder will then show you where your hosts file is

hosts file in finder Facetime Error : The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later

We need to check whats in your hosts file.  The simplest way to do this without the ability to edit you hosts files is either to right click or CMD click on the hosts file and select TextEdit to open the file.

Your hosts file should contain ONLY this, and then facetime will activate and connect.

# Host Database
# localhost is used to configure the loopback interface
# when the system is booting.  Do not change this entry.
##          localhost          broadcasthost
::1             localhost
fe80::1%lo0          localhost

If your /etc/hosts file contains ANYTHING ELSE, then make a copy of it, and save it on the Desktop.

How To Edit Your Hosts File

Step 1 – Open the Terminal.app
Either start typing Terminal in the Spotlight search, or goto Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

Step 2 – Open the host file
Open the hosts file by typing the following in the Terminal window:

$ sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

Type your user password when prompted.

Step 3 – Edit the hosts fileNow remove ALL extra entries from /etc/hosts so that it contains only the lines listed above and save.Step 4 – Save the hosts file

When done editing the hosts file, press Control+o to save the file.

Press Enter on the filename prompt, and Control-x to exit the editor.

You will need to flush the DNS cache, open terminal and run the following command:

dscacheutil -flushcache

Restart, if you want to make double sure that all changes have been applied.

Open facetime, and supply your Apple ID and password.

Facetime will activate and connect.

Now you can swap back to your old /etc/hosts file which you saved on the desktop.

Updated 9th November : A New Facetime Error Fix

For those that nothing works try to remove everything under /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration and reboot. Keep in mind you will loose any custom network configuration such as VPNs or static IP/DNS entries.

Another thing to try for the dreaded Facetime Error “The server encountered an error processing registration please try again later”

Check the time and date are to be updated by the system.  System Preferences – Date&Time – Set Date and Time automatically and Time Zone tab also install Set timeZone Automatically.

**DISCLAIMER**  Essentialmac can’t be held responsible if you bodge your Mac.  Remember the golden rule… Backups are your friend!!

So, for the moment, there is no real solution in place and no common thread between the errors.  it seems to be a working fix!!!

If you are struggling with this we would love to hear from you and even more so if you have a different fix.



  1. Same here. I’m notice that others are having this problem as well. I hope Apple resolves this. Was really hoping to use FaceTime.

  2. I believe FaceTime uses a certificate that it retrieves from crl.verisign.com. Some people block various websites from access (preventing phone-home operations, reducing excessive traffic, protecting from spam, etc.) by redirecting requests to localhost with lines like: crl.verisign.com

    You don’t have to undo everything you have done for FaceTime to work, just make sure that you don’t redirect crl.verisign.com, which you probably shouldn’t be doing anyway.

  3. My husband had this issue. He had to go to the date and time and make sure that set the date and time automatically was checked. As soon as he did this he could log in with no problems. His clock was wrong after that but on the next tab you can set your times once to your current location, instead of California.

  4. Thanks Ashley! For me it was that simple – I turned on Set Time Automatically, reentered the password and it worked! It worked on my Mac and on my iPad.

    I had been trying all day with iMessage and FaceTime on my iPad2 after the iOS 5/iCloud change and thought maybe the Apple servers were overloaded. I tried the above solutions, but neither worked. Thanks so much for posting!

  5. AWESOME! I’m actually on a Hacintosh desktop with Lion 10.7.2 and have tried everything from several posts. This post here has everything from all the other posts PLUS the one I couldn’t find elsewhere and which DID fix my problem.

    Trashing EVERYTHING from /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration FINALLY did the trick, and I had tried everything else prior.

    Thank you very much!!!

    : )

  6. Actually, the solution was simple for me. As suggested by another person, I went into my System Preferences and activated the Set Date and Time Automatically and the problem was solved. No need to mess with anything else!!! Hope this helps with you.

  7. Wow..Thanks to those who posted the reply about setting up the time…That worked…Thanks again.

  8. non of this has worked for me. i have an iphone 4s and the same error message is coming up yet non of these solutions have worked. any other ideas?

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