Q: My girlfriend only has very limited data on her iPhone, so she often turns off cellular data near the end of the month to avoid going over her plan. We use iMessage, and I know from reading your article on setting up iMessage that this requires data to be on, but you also mention that it should “fall back to sending a standard SMS/MMS message when Wi-Fi or cellular data coverage is unavailable.”

iMessages showing as Delivered when iPhone is out of coverage

The problem is, this doesn’t seem to be happening for us. If I send my girlfriend an iMessage when her data is off, it actually says “Delivered” right away but she doesn’t get it until she’s back on Wi-Fi at home. I’ve even tried doing the “tap-and-hold” on the message from your article but don’t get a “Send as Text Message” popup appearing, only the “Copy” option. Any ideas?

– Dave

A: It sounds like your girlfriend may be logged into iMessage on another device, such as an iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, in addition to her iPhone. If a user has multiple devices signed in with the same iMessage account, the Messages app will report an iMessage as “Delivered” if it has been successfully sent to any one of those devices.

In this case, since the Messages app on your iPhone thinks your message has been successfully delivered, it does not automatically fall back or provide you with the manual option to send the message as a text message.

If your girlfriend has a Mac at home that she normally leaves on, or even an iPad that she doesn’t normally take with her and has used iMessage on either of these devices, this is most likely what is happening. In order to be able to fall back to sending text messages when your girlfriend has her cellular data disabled she will need to ensure that she either turns off the other devices using iMessage or disables her iMessage account on them. iMessage can be disabled on an iOS device by simply switching Messages OFF in the Settings app or on a Mac by going into Accounts in the OS X Messages app preferences and unchecking “Enable this account” for the iMessage account.

If no devices are capable of receiving your message via the iMessage service, you should see a delay in the actual “Sending” status along with no “Delivered” note. You should then be able to send the message as a standard text message instead.




Jesse Hollington was a Senior Editor at iLounge. He's written about Apple technology for nearly a decade and had been covering the industry since the early days of iLounge. In his role at iLounge, he provided daily news coverage, wrote and edited features and reviews, and was responsible for the overall quality of the site's content.