Text message (SMS) issues

Texting is one of the most important things your device does to keep you connected. Check our help below if anything isn't working.

 

For info on our messaging services, see Text and picture messaging.

 

 

Can't send or receive texts (SMS)

  1. If you see a message like 'Receiver Number unable to receive message. Message blocking active.' the person receiving the text message has message blocking enabled. They need to contact their provider.
  2. Check your device shows at least 2 signal bars. If you have less, your signal is too low for reliable messages. Check out Signal issues or no service.
  3. On My T-Mobile, your primary account holder can look for and remove Message blocking service or Family Allowances from the line:
    • Change your services, then clear check boxes for any blocking service, and click Next to confirm.
    • In addition to message and email blocks, remove 'Block Content Downloads' as it blocks messages to some short codes.
  4. For Prepaid accounts, make sure you have an account balance.
  5. Turn off Wi-Fi to ensure you're using T-Mobile network.
  6. Restart the device.
  7. Check the number you're messaging is not on the device Block or Spam List. (Visit your Devices page, and use the Manage Messages page for help.)
  8. Update the date and time on the device, and enable auto-update.
  9. Uninstall any downloaded messaging apps.
  10. For Android devices:
    • Clear the app cache of the Messaging app. (Visit your Devices page, and use the Manage Apps page for help.)
    • Check the device SMSC setting is +120630004. (Visit your Devices page, and use the Manage Messages page for help.)
  11. For Apple iPhone, check whether the message is being sent through iMessage. If it is, see iMessage help instead.
  12. If you or your contact had an iPhone and switched recently, turn off or deregister iMessage & FaceTime.
  13. Update the device software to the latest version. Visit the Devices page for current versions and steps.
  14. Check your device has enough free storage space. T-Mobile recommends having at least 15% of the on-device storage free.
  15. Send a text message to your own number to check if you can send and receive any texts. Do not use any symbols, signatures, or attachments.
  16. If problems continue, delete messages and message threads. You can back these up beforehand using apps from the app store.
  17. If available, move the SIM card to another T-Mobile device and test if the Internet works or not. This test will help Customer Care diagnose the problem.
  18. If you still can't send or receive texts, contact us. We need to take a deeper look at your account setup and local network.

 

 

Can't send or receive texts (SMS) with international numbers

  1. Check whether you can send messages to domestic numbers (You can test sending to your own number). If it fails, see Can't send or receive SMS instead.
  2. If you see a message like 'Receiver Number unable to receive message. Message blocking active.' the person receiving the text message has message blocking enabled. They need to contact their provider.
  3. Restart the device.
  4. Uninstall any downloaded messaging apps.
  5. Make sure that you are using a plus + sign or 011 before the country code and phone number.
    • Do not use the phonebook entry, unless it has the international dialing pattern. Instead, manually enter the phone number.
    • For how to enter international phone numbers, see Make an International Call.
  6. Test sending and receiving a text message with the international number. Do not use any symbols, signatures, or attached files.
  7. If you still can't send or receive texts, contact us. We'll take a look at your account setup and make sure the country isn't blocking the SMS.

 

 

Error: 'Message Blocking Active'

  1. If you get this error when sending a text to a specific person, ask your recipient to check their message blocking setting with their provider.
  2. On My T-Mobile, your primary account holder can look for and remove Message blocking services or Family Allowances from the line:
    • Change your services, then clear check boxes for any blocking service, and click Next to confirm.
    • In addition to message and email blocks, remove 'Block Content Downloads' as it blocks messages to some short codes.
  3. Restart the device.
  4. If problems continue, delete messages and message threads. You can back these up beforehand using apps from the app store.
  5. If you are still getting 'Message Blocking Active' errors, contact us to double-check your account.

 

 

Delayed messages

While we're using the texts being fast, SMS isn't an instant service. It may take time for messages to travel between mobile networks or during times of a lot of network traffic. However, there are some delays we can avoid:

 

  1. Turn off Wi-Fi to ensure you're using T-Mobile network.
  2. Restart the device.
  3. For Android devices, clear the app cache and data of the Messaging app.
  4. For Apple iPhone, check the message is not trying to send through iMessage. (If it tries to send through iMessage and fails, the iPhone will wait and then revert the text to SMS after a while. This can appear to be a delay.)
  5. Check your device has enough free storage space. T-Mobile recommends having at least 15% of the on-device storage free.
  6. Send a text message to your own number to check for delays. Do not use any symbols, signatures, or attachments.
  7. If problems continue, delete messages and message threads. You can back these up beforehand using apps from the app store.
  8. If text message delays continue, contact us to check for any outages.

 

 

Duplicate messages

When your device is in a low coverage area (or it disconnects to the network), the device or network may try re-delivering messages as it reconnects. This results in sending or receiving duplicate text(s). Your contact's phone could also be the one doing this.

 

There's not much we can do if that's the problem, but there's some other things we can try to fix.

 

  1. If receiving duplicate messages, check if the duplicated messages are coming from multiple senders or just from one. If they are from one sender, ask the person if they sent the messages more than once (even by accident).
  2. Restart the device.
  3. Turn off Wi-Fi to ensure you're using T-Mobile network.
  4. Check your device has enough free storage space. T-Mobile recommends having at least 15% of the on-device storage free.
  5. Uninstall any downloaded messaging apps. Some of these can cause double texts.
  6. For Android devices, clear the app cache and data of the Messaging app.
    • For Apple iPhone:
      • Turn off Repeat Alerts. (Settings > Notifications > Messages > Repeat Alerts > Never)
      • Turn off iMessage, and then turn it back on (Settings > Messages > iMessage)
      • Reset Network Settings (Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings)
    • If problems continue, delete messages and message threads. You can back these up beforehand using apps from the app store.
    • If text messages continue to duplicate, contact us to check the network near you.

     

     

    Short codes don't work

    1. Check if the short code you're using is:
      • Not in the U.S.: T-Mobile does not support sending to international short codes.
      • From T-Mobile.: You can turn on/off marketing communications. See Manage Privacy & Notifications.
    2. Make sure your account is not Simple Choice No Contract. That account type restricts premium services and short codes.
    3. On My T-Mobile, your primary account holder can look for and remove Message blocking services or Family Allowances from the line:
      • Change your services, then clear check boxes for any blocking service, and click Next to confirm.
      • In addition to message and email blocks, remove 'Block Content Downloads' as it blocks messages to some short codes.
    4. Check your signal to make sure you're connected to the T-Mobile network. Short codes do not work while roaming on another network.
    5. Restart the device.
    6. For Android devices, check that the short codes settings are enabled.
    7. Double-check the short code you're using is correct, and try again.
    8. If the short code is still not responding, contact us to check for any outages or account trouble.

     

     

    Wi-Fi Calling issues with texting (SMS)

    If you're having problems with text messaging just while connected to Wi-Fi Calling, check out Wi-Fi Calling problems.

     

     

    Related pages

    Text and picture messaging