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iPhone not receiving text messages? Here's how you can try to fix it
While it can be problematic if, say, your iPhone’s alarm doesn’t go off, even worse can be an iPhone failing to receiving text messages. Many people depend on the Messages app as their main form of communication, so losing texts might mean being shut off from partners, friends, or family. Below, we’ll tackle your options when your iPhone isn’t receiving texts.
How to fix an iPhone not receiving text messages
There are a variety of potential solutions here, and it may be hard to gauge which one will actually address your situation. If that’s the case, try going through these steps one-by-one — chances are you’ll eventually come across something that works for you. If nothing helps, it’s time to talk to your phone carrier.
- Make sure both cellular and Wi-Fi are turned on. Open up Control Center by swiping down over the battery indicator. If cellular is on, you should see a green antenna icon; active Wi-Fi is blue. Tap on those icons if they’re the wrong color. Along the same lines, ensure that Airplane Mode is off. Cellular access is extremely important, since you might otherwise miss SMS texts from Android users.
- Check that both iMessage and SMS are enabled and configured properly. While these are usually set up automatically, the wrong settings will cause texts to fail. Go to Settings > Messages and check that the iMessage toggle is on. Next, tap Send and Receive, and verify that both your phone number and email address(es) are selected for receiving. Finally, back in core Messages options, check that Send as SMS and MMS Messaging are toggled on.
- Try improving your connection quality. If your cellular and/or Wi-Fi signals are weak, you might not receive any texts until a stable connection returns. The status bar on your iPhone is usually a good enough indicator — if cellular is down to a single bar, “SOS only,” or “no service” for example, you may need to walk or travel until you find a place with two bars or better. Usually at least some texts should get through with a single bar.
- Scan your blocked contacts. Navigate to Settings > Messages and tap on Blocked Contacts. If you see any familiar names or numbers there that you still want to talk to, tap Edit, then the red minus icon next to the contact(s) you want to unblock. Once you’re satisfied, tap Done.
- Check for iOS updates and restart your iPhone. While it’s unlikely, bugs could be interfering with texts, so it’s worth updating iOS if you haven’t in a while. If there aren’t any updates available, try restarting your iPhone to clear up any cache- or process-related glitches. On iPhones without a home button, you can do this by holding down the side button and one of the volume buttons, then dragging Slide to power off when it appears onscreen. After your iPhone goes black, hold down the side button to power back on.
- Check for carrier settings updates. These are rare, and you’ll normally be prompted to install them automatically, but if you’re missing one your cellular service may not work as intended, if at all. Go to Settings > General > About, and if there’s an update, you should be prompted to install it within a minute or so. Wait at least a couple of minutes before bailing.
- Reset network settings. This is a “nuclear” option for the simple reason that your iPhone will forget all the networks it was previously connected to, the only exceptions being ones set up via a profile or mobile device management (MDM). It may also disable cellular data roaming. If you’re not worried about any of these factors, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone, then tap Reset Network Settings. It’s probably a good idea to have a recent iCloud backup in case of disaster, not to mention logins for essential networks.