Can’t Send Text Messages From iPhone? Try These Quick Fixes


There are several reasons your iPhone may fail to send text message, like inputting the wrong number, or lack of signal.

Here are some solutions you can try before you freak out.

Preliminary iPhone Checks

  • A signal from your mobile network. The cell signal is usually the first culprit, so if it isn’t there, try and move to an area with better reception, or contact your network’s operator
  • Your current mobile service plan should be active, without which you cannot send texts. Check that it is active and you haven’t exceeded you text messaging limit if you’re on a limited plan
  • The recipient’s number should be the right one. It is possible to err on one number or two, or even enter the wrong name. If this is the case, double check and try sending the message out again. Some numbers may be unused or inactive, which can be frustrating sending texts to as they bounce back or read “undelivered”
  • Close and reopen Messaging app
  • Restart the iPhone
  • Update your iOS version regularly to iron out bugs and other software issues. Connect to WiFi and go to Settings>General>Software Update>Download and Install.

Check MMS and SMS Status

When using your iPhone, messages sent to people with Apple devices, by default, go out via iMessage. Such texts use cellular data or WiFi connection to send them, thus if iMessage fails to send them, the iPhone can try sending an SMS instead.

Image: Apple

For the SMS feature to work when iMessage fails, change it by going to Settings>Messages>Send as SMS (move the slider to “on”).

Image: Apple

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is also available to send messages to other people using Apple devices. Your iPhone can send MMS text messages that have video clips or images, and these too need to be enabled in your phone’s settings before you can send them.

Some cell plans don’t cover MMS messaging, which means your messages won’t go. To activate MMS, go to Settings>Messages>MMS Messaging (toggle to “on”).

Disable Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is another culprit that most people don’t realize is on, until someone points it out to them, or the phone displays a messaging saying it cannot work unless Airplane mode is disabled.

When in airplane mode, you can’t send or receive any phone signals, which includes WiFi or cellular signals. This also means you cannot send or receive calls or texts.

Check your iPhone settings if Airplane mode is on, or the Control Center and tap Airplane icon to ensure its off. When disabled, the symbol (looks like a plane), is grayed out.

If you’re using iPhone X or newer models, swipe down from the top of your iPhone’s screen to display the Control Center. Earlier iPhone model owners can swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Reset Network Settings

While it may not be good to reset network settings like passwords and networks, it may be a last resort if all else fails. To do this:

  • Open Settings>General
  • Tap Reset>Reset Network Settings
  • Enter passcode
  • Tap Reset network settings

If nothing works, contact your mobile phone operator or Apple support.

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