Cannot send or receive text messages while on cellular

magenta2712943

    I activated my brand new Apple Watch 3 on 9/22/2017. Everything went smoothly, so I thought. I even received a message from T-Mobile thanking me for connecting my watch. However, when I attempted to make a phone call (using cellular) , I would get a "call failed". Only after reading a discussion thread on this site and followed the directions from a customer who experienced the same situation, was I able to make calls from my watch using cellular.

     

    Testing further, I now found out that I cannot send or receive any text messages from my watch while on cellular. And, if my phone is shut off (or has a dead battery), anyone phoning me is sent to voicemail, instead of being directed to my watch. If the caller hangs up and immediately calls again, THEN the call is forwarded to my watch.

     

    Hopefully, someone has a workaround for this situation. From what I've read so far in other threads, T-Mobile has not been able to answer a lot of these issues.

      All replies

      • bco

        I can’t send or receive SMS texts.  Any new updates on this issue?

          • magenta2712943

            I've been searching the forums and blogs. Many others are having the same issue. So far T-Mobile hasn't responded. Business users are having problems getting their watches activated and was told by T-Mobile that an update to their system should occur and to give it a week. I'm hoping that this update will also address this problem (for personal account holders).

          • magenta1609942

            What

            • magenta2753333

              Hello everyone I finally figured this out. Not being able to send SMS while your iPhone is off seems to be a limitation of the Watch/digits service itself. Check out apples website about the issue How to use your Apple Watch without your iPhone nearby - Apple Support if you look at #1 at the bottom of the article it explains this in detail. It seems in order for your watch to send and receive sms your watch uses the iPhone as a host as long as it’s on the tmobile network aka powered on. Once your iPhone is powered on its able to ”link” with your Watch to forward texts etc but over the cellular connection. Naturally this doesn’t apply to iMessage as that only needs a data connection and your iPhone can be off. Hope this helps.

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                • bco

                  I saw the same link yesterday.  The relevant part states:

                  1. To receive SMS or MMS on your Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular, but it doesn't need to be nearby.

                  It is noteworthy that it indicates “receive” only and that the word “send” is not included.  Today, I left my phone in my car and walked away so that the LTE bars would appear on my watch.  I was able to send and receive a SMS text this way.  It appears, as you say, that this is a limitation of the watch/digits service.  Which is why I’m surprised that when I spoke to a T-Mobile rep and I explained my inability to send SMS texts, he indicated that he read his monitor and saw that they were aware of the issue and were working on a fix with Apple.  However, in light of what was posted on the above link to Apple it doesn’t appear that it can be fixed.  During the Digits Beta phase there was a specialized tech group dedicated to to Digits issues only - they had a dedicated line that the public could call.  I wish they brought them back.  Just a few days ago i had the issue of not being able to call from my watch and they opened up a ticket.  It was resolved by the comments on this board, maybe it was you, that the solution involved removing the T-Mobile account and reconnecting.  I called T-Mobile to let them know, but I doubt the message got to anyone.

                   

                    • magenta2709026

                      I can confirm on Apple's website it says "

                      1. If you have Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) and it's connected to a cellular network, you can check the signal strength in Control Center. To send and receive SMS or MMS, your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular, but it doesn't need to be nearby.

                      This is toward the bottom of this page:  Read and reply to messages with your Apple Watch - Apple Support

                       

                      I have now tried this and while the first SMS seems to take an awfully long time to send, after that I am able to send and receive SMS. So it seems this is not a T-Mobile issue but with the Watch 3 but it does seem to now work.

                      • magenta2753333

                        I do have to competely agree with you that T-Mobile may not be aware of this limitation as when I called in I was told they were aware of the “issue” and their engineers were working diligently on a fix. However since Apple designed the Watch I’d be more inclined to believe the website. When I turned off Bluetooth and WiFi and made sure both my watch and iPhone were on cellular I could clearly see the sms pop up on my iPhone in the app when I would send a sms on my watch. Definitely seems like some back end forwarding going on which of course requires the iPhone to be on and connected to cellular. I must admit I was a bit dissapointed in that I thought I’d be able to use this feature with my iPhone dead but it doesn’t seem thats how this was designed. Thanks for the update.

                      • magenta2712943

                        I still cannot send/receive text messages. I iPhone is powered on and on cellular (I'm in a park). Both wifi and bluetooth are on but out of range. I initiate a text from my watch... I was notified message not sent (after about a minute wait). I turned off bluetooth and tried again, same results. I turned on bluetooth but turned off wifi, same results. I turned off both bluetooth and wifi, same results. I tried this process at least twice a day since the 22nd of September.I can make and receive phone calls without any problems. Why is it that some can text while others can't?

                      • irinac

                        Ok, as a quick update, I finally got my texts (imessage and SMS) to work all the time, even when the phone is off.

                        I called apple for an unrelated question and the rep asked me to sign out and back into imessages. on the iPhone>Settings>General>Messages>Send&Receive - select use apple ID if that's an option and then sign out and back in. Under "you can be reached by imessage at" I still only left my phone number checked.

                        This seemed to work. As a side note, I did this right after updating the phone to iOS 11.0.2 (maybe that also helped) and restarting both watch and phone.

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                          • magenta2709026

                            I am thrilled you got it working and I don't mean to argue or rain on your parade but its not what Apple's own site said about the iPhone needing to be on althouhg not nearby:

                             

                            This is toward the bottom of this page:  Read and reply to messages with your Apple Watch - Apple Support

                             

                            The settings you refer to in your message all related to iMessage (which uses data) and not SMS.  There was never an issue with iMessage. You are saying now with your iPhone off and your watch not connected to WiFi (but you have a green cellular signal) you can send and receive messages to an Android device? (that uses SMS).   I'd be very surprised. Sorry

                              • irinac

                                I completely understand your mistrust. But yes, my phone is entirely off and I can text (iMessage to my husband, SMS to my Samsung-phone-owner sister), call, and check "find my friends" to see my husband's position update.

                                I'm not really sure what happened and I don't know if Apple updated certain settings that only took effect once I logged out and into my Apple ID. This was the 3rd Apple rep I spoke with in the last week (one at the Genius Bar actually) and it's the first time one of them suggested to log out of Apple ID, so it was worth a shot.

                                If it wasn't the Apple ID logging then:

                                - It could also be the iOS 11.0.2 which came out today.

                                - A T-mobile rep yesterday said she sent some settings to my watch and perhaps those took 24 hrs.

                                But I can absolutely confirm my phone is off and my watch is working. The watch is the only device I use for my DIGITS plan so the iPad I have (which is still on) should not make a difference.

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • magenta2709026

                              I don't mean to be such a skeptic but you haven't said you can see the Cellular in green on your watch.  Even if your phone is off but you are home where you have WiFi that your phone at sometime had been connected to then your Watch is connecting to WiFi. Just trying to be sure.  The cellular icon connection on the watch (swipe watch lens up) has to be green and not white to truly be on cellular.  The AppleID thing makes sense for iMessage but SMS has nothing at all to do with the AppleID