How to Fix an iPhone That Won't Send SMS Text Messages

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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The iPhone SMS text messaging service is generally very reliable. Once your sent message reaches the other end, you'll usually see a "Sent" notification underneath.

However, there are times when you'll see that big exclamation mark and the red "Not Delivered" message appear. Which means there is a problem on the recipient's side or yours.

In this article, we'll help you figure out why your SMS message isn't getting through and hopefully get your communication flowing again.



SMS not sent to a specific person

There are several possible reasons why you are unable to send an SMS to a specific number. Their phone might have no signal, it might be turned off, or there is a problem with your phone. Let's go over some of the basics before looking at more specific causes.

After trying one of our tips, resend the message to see if it succeeds this time.

Tip 1: Check that you have the correct number

Have you ever successfully texted this number? Is the recipient still using it? If they changed their number and forgot to deactivate iMessage, their old number is now inactive and you'll get an "Undelivered" message every time you text it.

If you have another method of contacting them, such as email, use that to verify that the number you have is correct, or perhaps check with a mutual friend.

Tip 2: Close and restart Messages

Force quitting an app and then relaunching it can fix any bugs, conflicts, or memory-related issues. Problems like these will cause apps like Messages to do weird things. Try restarting the Messages app by closing it and then re-launching it.



Tip 3: Restart your phone

In addition to fixing app issues, restarting your phone can extend battery life, conserve memory, and help your phone run more smoothly. It may not solve this particular problem, but it's worth a try before exploring more specific options.

Tip 4: Delete and create a new message

If you have already communicated successfully via SMS, sometimes deleting the thread and creating a new one is enough to solve the problem. To do this:

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Go to the chat thread and swipe left.
  3. Press "Delete".
  4. Select the new message icon to create a new thread, then try sending it to the recipient again.

Tip 5: Check if the problem is with Apple

It could be that the problem has nothing to do with your iPhone and the cause is with Apple. Check at Apple's system status page to confirm. There you can see if there is any problem with their iMessage service. If so, they will surely do everything they can to get it up and running quickly, so keep checking the status.

The recipient may have blocked you

Is it possible that your number has been blocked? Apple doesn't notify people once they've been blocked from someone else's phone, so you'll have to find out for yourself. Here are some things that can happen and what they can mean:

  • If you call and it rings once and then goes to voicemail, they may be on a call, have no reception, or their phone is turned off. Try calling back another time and see what happens.
  • If you continue to be sent to voicemail, try calling from another number. If their phone rings several times and then goes to voicemail, your number may be blocked.
  • If you're getting a standard disconnect message, that's clearly the problem. Try asking a mutual contact for the intended recipient's new number.

Check the delivery notification message:



  • If neither "Delivered" nor "Read" appears below the message you sent, their phone may be out of service, not having Wi-Fi, turned off, or your number may be blocked. If you have already tried several times, try again after a few hours and see what happens.

SMS not sent to group message

Assuming you can send SMS messages to other contacts, there are a few things you can check to fix the issues. For example, you may need to enable "Group Messaging" or free up storage space on your device. Here are some troubleshooting tips to try from your iPhone.

Once you've tried a tip, resend the message to see if it was successful.

Tip 1: Make sure Group SMS is enabled

If this is your first time sending a text message to a group text message, you must enable the "Group messaging" setting to be able to do so. Here's how:

  1. Open "Settings".
  2. Choose "Messages" to access the settings screen.
  3. In the ā€œGroup Messagingā€ option, tap the switch to enable the feature.

Tip 2: Make sure your iPhone has enough storage space

If your phone's storage space is low, you'll probably have problems sending and receiving group text messages. You can check the status of your storage space by following these steps:

  1. Open "Settings".
  2. Tap "General" and then "Storage & iCloud Usage".
    • This screen displays the available memory space on your phone.
    • If you want to see which app is taking up the most space, tap "Manage Storage".
    • Once you've deleted the apps you no longer use, go back to "Storage and iCloud Usage" to see how much space you've managed to free up.

Tip 3: Close and restart Messages

Closing the Message app and then relaunching it can resolve conflicts, bugs, or memory issues. Issues like these will prevent apps from working as expected. Try restarting Messages by closing it and then re-launching it.



Tip 4: Restart your phone

In addition to fixing app issues, restarting your phone helps extend your battery life, preserve your phone's memory, and overall help your phone run smoother. It may not solve this particular problem, but it's worth a try.

Tip 5: Delete and create a new message

If you've already successfully texted this group, try deleting the thread and try again. Here's how:

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Go to the group's thread and swipe left.
  3. Press "Delete".
  4. Tap the message icon to create a new thread, then try sending it to the group again.

Finally getting your messages across

SMS communication is fast, convenient and, for the most part, reliable. However, although this medium has been around since the early 1990s, sometimes deliveries fail. Causes that can return the dreaded "Undelivered" message can include the unavailability of the recipient's phone and the unavailability of the actual service.

When you're having trouble texting someone, check that the number is correct and that you haven't been blocked. When sending to groups, ensure that the "Group messaging" option is activated and that there is sufficient storage memory.

What made you decide to buy an iPhone? What are some of the things you like/dislike about it?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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