iMessages being sent as Text Messages
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: All of my immediate friends and family are iPhone users, so we regularly communicate via iMessage, which is great as we’ve been able to cancel our carrier’s expensive text messaging add-on. However, I notice that my Messages app sometimes randomly sends text messages instead of iMessages, with a green bubble and a note that says “Sent as Text Message.” Since I now pay for each of my text messages, this is a bit of a problem and I really don’t know why it’s happening or how to prevent it. Any ideas?
A: Unlike traditional text (SMS) messages, iMessage uses your iPhone’s cellular data or Wi-Fi connection to send and receive messages. This normally bypasses the carrier’s SMS services, which is why you aren’t charged for iMessages in the same way as for SMS.
The downside to this approach, however, is that for two iPhones to communicate via iMessage, they must both have an active data connection, over either a cellular data plan or a Wi-Fi network. If either iPhone is out of data coverage, your iPhone will still try to send an iMessage, however when it realizes that the message cannot be successfully delivered via the iMessage network, by default it will “fall back” to delivering it via SMS. This will result in the green bubble and the “Sent as Text Message” note that you’re seeing.
Fortunately, there is a way to turn this fallback off if you want to avoid unnecessary text messaging charges. Simply go into your iPhone Settings app, select Messages, and then toggle the “Send as SMS” option to OFF.
This will prevent your iPhone from deciding to automatically fall back to sending SMS messages when iMessages cannot be sent. Note, however, that it does not disable text messages entirely; SMS will still be used when sending to non-iPhone users, for example, but this will be clearly indicated by the green “Send” button and title bar in the Messages app.
Further, even with this option off you can individually force an important message to go out as a text message in the event that iMessage is having problems delivering it. To do this, simply tap and hold on the pending message in your Messages window, and a pop-up menu will appear with “Send as Text Message” among the options. Tapping this will send the current message out via SMS as a one-time exception—useful in those situations where it’s worth the SMS charge to ensure the message gets to its recipient as quickly as possible.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- WSJ: Apple brings in trusted executive Mansfield to head Apple Car project
- CarPlay to be available in all 2017 Ford models
- Rumors claim new iPhone will be released Sept. 16, could have ‘iPhone 6 SE’ name
- Photos claim to show alleged ‘iPad Pro 2’
- Apple to sell limited-edition Olympic Apple Watch bands exclusively in Brazil
- Report: iPhone 7 will include Lightning adapter instead of Lightning EarPods
- Edward Snowden designing device to prevent iPhone wiretapping
- Report: Apple Car team running into challenges, launch may slip to 2021
- Corning announces Gorilla Glass 5
- Apple under fire for providing refurbished replacements under AppleCare+
- Netatmo Tags for Welcome Smart Home Camera
- iDevices Socket HomeKit-enabled Light Adapter
- Koogeek Wi-Fi SmartPlug for Apple HomeKit
- Marbotic Smart Letters for iPad
- Ecoxgear Sol Jam Bluetooth Speaker
- Gumdrop Cases DropTech Case + Hand Strap for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Braven BRV-1M Bluetooth Speaker
- Braven BRV-Blade Bluetooth Speaker
- Invoxia Voice Bridge
- Incase Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app