What to Do When Your Phone Isn’t Sending Messages

So your text message failed to send. Ugh. While annoying, there’s likely an easy fix to the problem. In this blog post, we’ll troubleshoot a few issues on both iPhone and Android that that may be the cause of your texting woes.

How to Fix it: “Why are my text messages not sending on my iPhone?”

A bit of context here before we launch into the possible reasons why your messages aren’t being delivered: iPhone sends a text message as an iMessage (the blue bubbles) or as an SMS (the green bubbles). iMessage can be sent over Wi-Fi or cellular connection and SMS (Short Message Service, a.k.a., a plain text) can only be sent over cellular connection. When iMessage isn’t available (or is turned off), text messages can be sent as an SMS as a backup. We’ll cover troubleshooting for both types of messages.

And just in case you haven’t done this already: If you see a red exclamation point with the alert Not Delivered under your text, tap on the exclamation point then tap Try Again. If that doesn’t work, tap Send as Text Message.

Didn’t work? If your text messages are not sending on your iPhone, try these options.

Step 1. Check your cellular coverage or Wi-Fi connection. Start with the easiest culprit to identify: your network connection. You can’t send text messages without access to either a cellular or Wi-Fi network. If you have weak cell service, you may have to wait to send your text when you have a stronger connection.

Are you near Wi-Fi? Check the following:

Is your iPhone’s Wi-Fi switched off?

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen
  • Locate the Wi-Fi icon (upper right of the screen)
  • If the icon is white, tap to enable Wi-Fi.

Are you on Airplane mode? This shuts off both your Wi-Fi and cell connection

  • Swipe up from the bottom of the screen
  • Tap on the Airplane icon (upper left of the screen). If it’s orange, tap to turn it off.

Step 2. Check that iMessage is enabled. If you’re trying to send an iMessage but it’s being sent as an SMS instead, there are a few reasons why this could be happening: Your recipient doesn’t have an Apple device or iMessage is temporarily unavailable on your device or their Apple device.

Check that your iMessage is turned on

  • Go to Settings
  • Scroll to Messages
  • If the iMessage toggle is gray, switch it on.
  • Lastly, enable MMS on iPhone. Is your iPhone not sending pictures? If you’re trying to send a multimedia file (e.g., image, GIF, video) in a text message, ensure that MMS Messaging is toggled on, too. Scroll a little further down to see it.

Step 3. Restart your phone. If the above steps haven’t done the trick, restart your iPhone. It might just need a quick refresh. For the easiest way to restart your iPhone, locate your device model on this page.

Step 4. Check that the issue isn’t with a single contact. If you’ve restarted your phone and your text message is still not sending, the issue may be with the contact. Check out the tips below.

Why is my iPhone not sending text messages to one person?

Did you accidentally block them?

    1. Tap the contact’s name
    2. Tap on Info
    3. Tap on Info again
    4. Toward the bottom, if you see “Unblock this Caller,” tap it to unblock them.

Is their phone number correct?

    1. If the contact is saved on your device, follow steps 1-3
    2. You can view their phone number under “mobile”
    3. Also check that you’re not missing an international country code, if applicable.

Why is my iPhone not sending messages to Android?

If your text messages are not sending to an Android device, you may have SMS disabled on your iPhone. Android users cannot receive iMessages, only SMS.

Here’s how to switch on SMS:

    1. Go to Settings
    2. Go to Messages
    3. Find Send as SMS and toggle on

Step 5. Reset network settings. If none of the above is working, reset the network settings on your phone as a final effort. At this point, you’ve already verified that you either have connection to Wi-Fi, cell service or both, but sometimes, your device might not actually have connection even though it says that it does; the connection may just be interrupted. The network settings on your iPhone control the W-Fi and cellular connection, so resetting it should get your phone to connect again (your data won’t be erased).

The reason why you might want to do this step last is because resetting your network will require you to re-enter your log-in information, so make sure you have that on hand.

To reset your network settings

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to General
  • Tap on Reset at the bottom
  • Tap on Reset Network Settings
  • Enter your passcode if prompted

How to Fix it: Text messages not sending, Android

The following tips are for the Messages app since it’s the default texting app on Android phones. Keep in mind that individual directions below may be slightly different from phone to phone.

Step 1. Check your network connection. You can’t send text messages without access to either a cellular or Wi-Fi network. If your cellular connection is weak, you may have to wait to send your text when you have a stronger connection.

Are you near Wi-Fi? Check the following:

Is your device’s Wi-Fi switched off?

  • Swipe down from the top of your screen
  • Tap down on Wi-Fi
  • Turn on Use Wi-Fi
  • If you don’t have a network that you’re automatically connecting to, tap on the available network and enter the password if required.

Are you in Airplane mode? Try one of these:

  • Swipe down from the top of your device
  • Tap on the airplane to turn it off if it’s on

You can also:

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Connections
  • Tap the airplane mode toggle to turn it off if it’s on

Step 2. Force stop the Messages app. The app itself may need to be restarted if your text message failed to send.

To Force Stop the Messages app:

  • Open Settings
  • Open Apps
  • Open Messages
  • Tap on Force Stop

Step 3. Or restart your phone. You could also just restart your phone all together. Sometimes our phones just need a quick reset to get things running normally again. Hold down the power button for 30 seconds to restart.

Step 4. Get the most up-to-date version of Messages. You may not have the latest version of Messages installed.

To check for an app update:

  • Open the Play store app
  • Tap your Google photo in the upper right corner
  • Tap on My apps & games
  • If Messages has a recent update, you’ll find it in the Updates list.

Step 5. Clear the Messages cache. Caching allows applications to store temporary files to speed up load times and to improve the user experience (i.e., search history or video thumbnails). The cache can build up over time and may eventually slow things down. Clearing it frees up storage and may improve your device’s performance.

To clear the Messages cache:

  • Open Settings
  • Open Apps
  • Open Messages
  • Tap on Storage
  • Tap on Clear Cache

Step 6. Check that the issue isn’t with just one contact. Maybe your text isn’t sending to only one person. Check if their phone number is correct or add an international country code if needed.

Did you accidentally block them?

  • Open the Phone app
  • Tap the icon with the three vertically stacked dots
  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Blocked Numbers
  • If the phone number is blocked, it will be on this list. Tap the red line next to the contact’s number to unblock them.

Step 7. Verify that your SIM card is properly installed. Caching didn’t work? Check if your SIM card is correctly in place.

To remove your SIM card and re-install it:

Step 8. Factory reset your Android. This should be your final effort in solving why your text messages are not sending. A factory reset will restore your device to its original state. Before you do this, back up your data so you don’t lose anything.

To factory reset your Android:

  • Open Settings
  • Open General Management
  • Find the Reset option
  • Tap on Factory data reset

Zipwhip is changing the way businesses and consumers communicate. We invented the capability to text to and from a landline, toll-free or VoIP telephone number and have led the entire industry since. Learn how Zipwhip works.


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