Tip: Why Are People Not Getting My iMessages? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Mobile & Wireless
08:30 PM
Connect Directly

Tip: Why Are People Not Getting My iMessages?

Do you find that messages sent through the Messages app on iOS are unreliable? If all you want to do is send an SMS text message, you can make it work better with a Settings change.

same as caption
I was recently trying to send an instant message to a colleague via the Messages app on my iPhone. She wasn't responding, and then I noticed that I got an error message indicating that it wasn't delivered. What was up?

Turns out Messages makes decisions about how to send your message based on what it knows about the sender and recipient's connections. Sometimes it will send SMS text messages but it will usually try to route them over the Internet through their own servers from one user to the other. It can be confusing since the same app is used for both message types and Apple doesn't specifically tell you which method it chooses. It does tell you though.

same as caption
Notice the message with the error above: it has a blue background. That means Messages is sending it out over the Internet. The message to the right has a green background. That means it's sent with SMS, directly through the phone system.

As a general matter, it's a good idea for Messages to try to use the Internet where possible. The cost of messages over the Internet (or at least the marginal cost) is zero. SMS Text messages use SS7 signaling over the phone network and carriers charge for them. It may be that you have an unlimited texting plan so your marginal cost is zero, but you did pay for the plan.

But the opportunities for things to go wrong with messages sent over the Internet are many, and so such messaging is less reliable.

Would you like to change Messages so that it only uses SMS messaging? Here's how:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to the Messages settings entry. it's grouped with other iOS entries like General and iCloud. Touch Messages.
  • If the iMessage setting at the top is on, touch it to turn it off. The screen should look like the image below this article.

Now Messages will only use SMS.

Thanks to Neil McGrath of Acision for pointing this out to us.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Why 2021 May Turn Out to be a Great Year for Tech Startups
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  2/24/2021
How GIS Data Can Help Fix Vaccine Distribution
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/17/2021
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll