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What to do if your iPhone won't send or receive texts

Woman looking at iPhone that stopped sending and receiving text messages

We rely on texts every day to do our jobs and connect with friends and family. So when your iPhone® Messages app isn't working, it can be extremely frustrating. Don't worry though, there's usually a simple solution to help you get back into your favorite group chat.

At Asurion, we find and fix any issue—fast. Whether you've got an iPhone that won’t update or a frozen cursor on your Mac®, our experts can help. Here's what to do when your iPhone isn't sending or receiving texts.

Why am I not getting or receiving text messages on my iPhone?

There are various reasons your iPhone Messages app may not be functioning properly. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Airplane Mode is turned on.
  • Your network isn't connected.
  • You need to update your apps or operating system.
  • Your storage is full.
  • You haven't set up iMessage®.
  • MMS messaging is turned off.
  • You need to update your network and carrier settings.

How to fix common iPhone messaging problems

If text messages are not showing up on your iPhone or you get an error message when you're trying to send a text, try our troubleshooting tips.

Restart your iPhone

Our first suggestion is simple: Restart your device and enter your passcode. Try sending a text. Next, ask a friend to send you a text, then check your messages.

Switch Airplane Mode on and off

You won't be able to receive messages if your phone is in Airplane Mode, but sometimes turning it on and off can fix your issue. Try these two steps:

  1. Go to Settings and turn on Airplane Mode.
  2. Wait 10 seconds, then turn Airplane Mode off.

Check your network connection

To send or receive an iMessage (a text shared between Apple® devices), you need either a cellular signal (look for the status bars at the top of your screen) or a Wi-Fi connection.

To send or receive an SMS message (a short, text-only message between any phones), you must have a cellular network connection. If you turn on Wi-Fi Calling, you can send and receive SMS messages over Wi-Fi as well.

Update your iPhone

Running regular software updates for your iOS®, as well as for your apps, will help keep your iPhone working properly—including sending and receiving texts. For more information, check out Apple's guide on how to update your iOS and our guide on how to update apps on your iPhone.

Check your iMessage settings

Make sure that you've configured your settings to send and receive iMessages. Here's what to do:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Messages, then tap Send & Receive.
  3. In theYou can receive iMessages section, make sureyour phone number is there and has a checkmark next to it.

Turn on MMS messaging

If you're having trouble sending an MMS message (a text that contains photos, video, or audio), make sure MMS messaging is turned on. Here's how:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. In the SMS/MMSsection, make sure MMS Messaging and Group Messaging are both turned on.
  4. Make sure your cellular plan includes MMS. Most do, but check out Apple's list to double-check if the type of message you're trying to send is supported.

Check your iPhone storage and delete old messages

Still wondering why you're not receiving text messages on your iPhone? Your device's storage might be full.

To free up memory on your iPhone—you should have at least 1GB of free space—check which apps are taking up the most space on your device and uninstall the ones you're not using. Read more in our step-by-step guide on how to increase iPhone storage capacity.

Reset your network settings

Another fix if your iPhone isn't sending or receiving messages is to reset the network settings on your device. This will delete your saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords but won't delete personal data like photos, videos, and contacts.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  3. Tap Reset > Reset Network Settings, then tap Reset Network Settings again to confirm.

Update your carrier settings

Your mobile carrier releases regular updates which, among other things, should keep your text messages flowing. Here's how to make sure you've run all the updates you need:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap General > About.
  3. Scroll down to Carrier. If an update is available, you will see a message to install it. If your phone is up to date, you will see the carrier version number.

Protect your phone

For more than 25 years, Asurion has helped 300 million customers protect, connect, and enjoy the tech they love most. And smartphones are no exception. Your life is on your device, make sure it’s protected. Learn more about Asurion phone insurance plans today.


*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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