iPhone Text Messages Not Sending? Here's How to Fix It

Can't send a message from your iPhone? Try these tips

When your iPhone can't send text messages, you may feel cut off from friends and family. You may be worried that something is permanently wrong with your iOS device, but that may not be the case. If your iPhone can't send text messages, follow these simple tips to fix it.

The iPhone sends texts using the Apple iMessage network or through standard SMS texts to non-Apple devices. The tips in this article apply to both kinds of texting, and the procedures apply to all currently supported versions of iOS.

Person yelling at their iPhone
Lifewire / Colleen Tighe

How to Fix iPhone Text Messages Not Sending

There are many reasons why your iPhone may fail to send or receive text messages, including problems with the cellular network or simple software oversights. Problems may only reveal themselves once they are fixed.

Follow these instructions to get your iPhone sending text messages again.

  1. Connect to a network. Your iPhone cannot send text messages if it is not connected to either a cellular or Wi-Fi network. If your texts aren't going through, this is where to start.

    If you can open a web page and texting still doesn't work, then the problem isn't related to the network you use. If you don't have internet access and cannot send texts, but Wi-Fi and cell data are both on, then you are likely outside out of a service area, or the cellular network is down.

  2. Turn Airplane Mode on and off. Disable Airplane Mode, or turn it on and then off to force it to find a connection. Your iPhone should reconnect to an available network, and your texts will go through. If the texts still won't send, go outside or into an area where you know that there's adequate cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

  3. Confirm the recipient's phone number and email. If your texts still don't send, make sure you addressed the text message correctly. Check the recipient's phone number or, if you send the text through the Messages app, their email address.

    If you confirmed that you sent messages to the right person, but you're not getting replies, your number may be blocked by the recipient. If they don't see your texts, then they don't know to respond, thus giving you the impression that your texts are not going through.

  4. Quit and restart the Messages app. Sometimes apps need to be quit and restarted to solve problems related to memory management. Force-quit the messaging app, then try again.

  5. Restart the iPhone. Restarting your device can solve many problems. It may not fix things in this case, but it is a quick, simple step that's worth trying before diving into more complex options.

  6. Check the iMessage system status. It may be that the problem has nothing to do with your iPhone; maybe the Apple servers are down. Check the Apple System Status page to see if there's a problem with iMessage. If there is, you'll have to wait for Apple to resolve it.

  7. Confirm that your message type is supported. Not every phone company supports every kind of text message. There's broad support for SMS (Short Message Service), which is the standard text-messaging protocol. However, not every company supports Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), which is used to send photos, videos, and songs.

    Check with your phone company to confirm that they support the kind of text you're trying to send. MMS messaging is currently supported by AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon Wireless. 

  8. Turn on Group Messaging. If the text message that won't send has a photo or video in it, or you're trying to text a group of people, confirm that the settings to support these features are enabled. Select Settings > Messages. Under SMS/MMS, toggle MMS Messaging and Group Messaging to the On (green) position.

  9. Check the phone's date and time settings. Your iPhone must register the correct date and time settings for network-based services to work properly. Select Settings > General > Date & Time, then move the Set Automatically switch to On (green). If it is already on, turn it off and on again.

  10. Reactivate iMessage. If you use iMessage to send texts, verify that iMessage is turned on. The problem may be that the setting was accidentally turned off. To turn it on, select Settings > Messages, then toggle the iMessage switch to On (green).

  11. Reset network settings. The iPhone Network Settings are a group of preferences that control how the phone accesses cellular networks. Errors in those settings could interfere with sending texts. To solve these problems, reset your Network Settings.

  12. Update carrier settings. Your iPhone has hidden carrier settings that help your phone communicate with the cellular network to place calls, transmit data, and send texts. Wireless carriers periodically update these settings. Make sure you have the latest version by updating your carrier settings.

  13. Update iOS. The latest version of iOS always contains the most up to date feature enhancements and bug fixes. It's always a good idea to update iOS when you run into problems.

Didn't Work? What to Do Next

If you tried all of the above steps and your iPhone still will not send text messages, it's time to talk to the experts. Set up an Apple Store appointment for tech support.

If you used to have an iPhone but switched to Android and have problems with your texts, Apple has a solution. You can fix the iMessage Android bug with a simple free tool.