Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

bordelais

    I cannot send or receive SMS messages on an Apple Watch when connected to LTE.  SMS delivery works fine when connected to WiFi and Bluetooth.

     

    This has been a problem since the Apple Watch launch, the service has never worked on LTE.  I've called multiple times to DIGITs support and each time I'm told this is a known issue that T-Mobile is working with Apple but no one is ever able to provide an update or status on a fix.  Can anyone here provide an insight on what the issue is and hopefully an ETA?

     

    The last support person I spoke with said this isn't a priority because SMS works with WiFi and Bluetooth.  Being the primary feature of the new watch model, I'm surprised this isn't considered a critical issue (perhaps it is, but support isn't indicating this is the case).  Is there any reassurance we can get that this issue will be eventually fixed?

     

    In my case, I have 4 Apple Watches are not working and I am heavily invested in a feature not working.  I really hoping for a resolution since I'm beyond the ability to return the watches for a refund.

     

    NOTES: 
    - Watches are provisioned on "Data with DIGITS Beta promo TE" lines (I don't think this changes anything, but figured I'd mention this)

    - All testing is done with the paired iPhone turned on

      All replies

      • tmo_evan

        Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

        Hi bordelais  -

         

        Thanks for reaching out on this.  I know you have indicated that the iPhone is "On" when you are testing this, however is the iPhone in coverage and/or attached to the T-Mobile network?

        - Do you have WiFi calling turned on, on the iPhone?

        - Is the iPhone somewhere where it can send and receive SMS messages?

         

        FWIW, the known issue is that the iPhone must be on and in coverage for the SMS to be sent/received from the watch (not that you can't send messages in general).

         

        Let me know about these other settings and details and we'll try to get you all straightened out.

         

        Thanks!

        Evan

          • bordelais

            Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

            Here are two scenarios I've tested and steps to reproduce the issue:

             

            Scenario 1 - iPhone is connected to WiFi with VoWiFi enabled and connected to T-Mobile's network.  Apple Watch is connected to LTE.

            1. iPhone starts connected to WiFi with VoWiFi enabled and connected to T-Mobile.  Apple Watch is connected to iPhone via bluetooth.  Send/Receive SMS tests successful.
            2. Disable bluetooth on iPhone.  Apple Watch changes to WiFi.  Send/Receive SMS tests successful.
            3. Disable WiFi on Apple Watch.  Apple Watch changes to LTE.  Send SMS test fails. Receive SMS test is delivered to iPhone, no message is received on Apple Watch until WiFi or bluetooth is re-enabled.

             

            Scenario 2 - iPhone is connected to LTE (WiFi disabled) and connected to T-Mobile's network.  Apple Watch is connected to LTE.

            1. Disable WiFi on iPhone.  Confirm iPhone is connected to T-Mobile LTE.  Apple watch is connected to iPhone via bluetooth.  Send/Receive SMS tests successful.
            2. Disable bluetooth on iPhone.  Apple Watch changes to WiFi.  Send/Receive SMS tests successful.
            3. Disable WiFi on Apple Watch.  Apple Watch changes to LTE.  Send SMS test fails. Receive SMS test is delivered to iPhone, no message is received on Apple Watch until WiFi or bluetooth is re-enabled.

             

            When the send failure occurs, the Apple Watch will show "sending...." for a few minutes and then a "Not Delivered" error message.

          • tmo_evan

            Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

            When you send me the PM, can you include the numbers that you're using for this test and some time stamps

             

            Also are you logged into iCloud on your devices?  I think that was another requirement that is buried down in the Apple implementation.

             

            Thanks and I'll have people take a look at this one too.

            • bordelais

              Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

              Even after following you I can't seem to send a PM.  Will you send me a message so I can try replying?

                • tmo_evan

                  Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

                  bordelais -

                   

                  Have all the details now and am completely bewildered since it should be working for you in the scenario you described as this is part of our overall test case for the watch.  Chris is going to ask you for some more information since I think we'll need to escalate to Apple to take a look.  The key piece is that the watch is supposed to be sending your SMS from your watch via iCloud to your phone and then your phone actually sends it out (Apple unfortunately wanted to go this route rather than using the native DIGITS functionality).  Thus we'll likely need to open a ticket up with them to investigate more.

                    • bordelais

                      Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

                      Evan/Chris,

                       

                      I think I may have just figured out the problem.

                       

                      Under this settings:  SETTINGS > MESSAGES > SEND & RECEIVE, YOU CAN BE REACHED BY IMESSAGE AT

                       

                      I only had my mobile number selected.  My Apple ID was dis-selected.  As soon as I selected it, I'm now able to send/receive SMS messages with the Apple Watch on LTE.

                       

                       

                      ------

                       

                      I've also noticed the following behavior with additional testing now that it's working.  If I turn iMessages off, it begins to fail again.  Can you confirm that iMessages is required?

                       

                      NOTE:  I'm also sharing my iPhone mobile number with an Android phone using a Duplicate DIGITS sim so I would prefer to have iMessages turned off, but I suspect now that this will break the messages functionality of the Apple Watch.

                        • tmo_chris

                          Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

                          Nice find! I will reach out to Evan to confirm the iMessage aspect.

                          • tmo_evan

                            Re: Apple Watch - SMS messages failing on LTE

                            Pesky iMessage :-(

                             

                            Apple really doesn't want you to leave their iMessage world.  As mentioned above the way the watch works is by their design so it technically only uses DIGITS for part of the implementation since in their case they want to manage the messages back to the iPhone itself.  Unfortunately in the mixed environment if you want the Apple watch to be able to send messages when out and about, then you'll have to leave iMessage on and with all those other settings intact.

                             

                            FWIW, I also use a mixed environment and I turned iMessage off since I found that I'm often with both my phone and my watch together most of the time - though the watch stays home more often than not.  Sometimes though it's liberating to go for a run and leave the phone at home and in which case I'll get the calls, and all the messages will have to wait.