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Text messages won't send on Android? Here's how you can try to fix it

In some cases things might be out of your control, but not necessarily.

Published onJanuary 22, 2024

While SMS and even RCS texts aren’t as important as they used to be — given the popularity of apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Facebook Messenger — many of us still rely on them, particularly for talking to new people. When your Android text messages stop working, here’s how you can fix that critical gap.

How to fix text messages not sending on Android

Google Messages 2024 logo

As you might guess, there are a number of potential reasons why a phone might stop sending text messages, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, either. With that said, try running through each of the troubleshooting steps below — unless there’s an especially rare and severe problem, texts should start flowing again. Feel free to jump to a particular step if one jumps out at you.

  • Doublecheck your wireless signal. This might seem like too obvious a thing to consider, but you don’t need a completely dead signal for texts to stop — a weak or intermittent connection might be enough to halt (or at least delay) outgoing texts. In that situation, try relocating somewhere with better reception, whether that means being closer to a celltower or just unimpeded by obstacles (usually buildings). It’s also better to be on 4G or 5G, although carriers are increasingly phasing out 3G anyway.
  • Make sure you’re not being blocked the recipient(s). It could be that one or more people have blocked you specifically. Alternately, if you have caller ID off, you may be getting blocked by accident if they’re filtering out unknown callers. To test things out, verify that caller ID is on, then try texting a normally responsive contact outside of the people you’ve been having trouble with. If messages successfully send, that supports the idea of a block. If caller ID was off you can try messaging the previous people again, but if it was on, you may have no choice but to find other ways of reaching out to them to ask if you’ve been blocked. Bear in mind that they might legitimately not want to hear from you.
  • Keep contact info up-to-date. It’s entirely possible that you’ve got outdated or mistyped numbers in Google Contacts. Even if you don’t think so, it might be worth running through your contact cards to make sure everything is current. When a contact has multiple numbers, delete any that you never use or seem questionable, since it might prevent Google Messages from sending texts to the wrong place.
  • Close Google Messages and reopen it. This is unlikely to help, but there’s a non-zero possibility of a temporary cache or process glitch, in which case restarting the app might help.
  • Manually clear out the Messages cache. One advantage of Android over Apple’s iOS is the ability to manually wipe cache data in case it’s corrupted. A bad cache can confuse an app or prevent functions from working. To clear the Google Messages cache, go to Settings > Apps > Messages > Storage and select Clear cache. Labels may vary based on your version of Android.
  • Check for app or Android updates. Speaking of versions, if it’s been a while since you’ve updated Google Messages or the rest of Android, there could hypothetically be a bug that Google has since fixed. Update apps using the Google Play Store, and Android by going to Settings > System > System update. Again, labels might vary depending on your version of Android. Before installing a system update, be sure your phone is well-charged, backed up, and connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Restart your phone. It’s possible that there are temporary cache or process issues at the operating system level, and these may go away after a reboot. We wouldn’t count on it, but if you’ve got this far without success, it certainly can’t hurt to try. It’s wise to restart your phone occasionally anyway, since it tends to smooth out a phone’s performance.
  • Check the service status for your carrier. Mobile carriers inevitably encounter network trouble. It’s more likely to be a wider outage than something that only affects SMS or RCS, but if you can, try checking your carrier’s website and/or a site like Downdetector. If phone calls are still working, you might try calling your carrier’s support number for more info.

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