10 ways to solve quirks in Messages

If you own an Apple® product, and especially an iOS device, you’ve been hammering the Messages app with texts virtually every day.  For many, it is the communications portal of choice.  For most, we just can’t live without it.

But while Messages for iOS and macOS® devices generally works well, it does have its head-scratching quirks.  Here are a few common solutions we’ve come across for problems you may experience when sending and receiving messages.

Help Android switchers

If you have a friend who previously used an iPhone® but then switched to an Android device (what?), it can confuse your Messages app.  The app doesn’t know if it should send to them via iMessage (no) or SMS (yes). If you text with someone in this situation, get them to deregister from iMessage.

Check device connectivity

If messages aren’t flowing the way you think they should, best to check your connectivity.  First, make sure your iPhone has at least cellular service (for SMS) and cellular data (for iMessage®) and, second, make sure your iOS device isn’t in Airplane mode.  In the case of a Mac®, make sure it’s connected to your network.

Relaunch the Messages app

Force-quitting in iOS isn’t something you should do willy-nilly, since it slows down your device and weakens battery life, but it’s worth trying if Messages isn’t sending or receiving data correctly.  Double-press the Home button on Touch ID® devices or swipe up and to the right from the bottom of the screen on Face ID® devices, then swipe up on the Messages app thumbnail to force-quit.  On the Mac, just quit and relaunch Messages.

Toggle iMessage off and back on

Here’s an easy one.  In iOS, go to Settings > Messages and turn the iMessage switch at the top off and back on.  iMessage may take a minute or two to reactivate.  On the Mac, go to Messages > Preferences > iMessage > Settings, uncheck Enable This Account and then log in again.

Toggle Messages in iCloud

With the new Messages in iCloud® feature, Apple syncs conversations through your iCloud account. If messages from one device aren’t showing up properly on another device, in iOS, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud and turn Messages off and back on.  On the Mac, go to Messages > Preferences > iMessage > Settings and uncheck and recheck Enable Messages in iCloud.

Verify personal information

SMS relies on a phone number so you can be contacted via iMessage by phone or email address.  Make sure all your appropriate information is updated.  In iOS, go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive to check.  On the Mac, look in Message > Preferences > iMessage > Settings.  If you need a fix in iOS, go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > iCloud > Your Name > Contact Information and then tap Edit in the Reachable At section.  On the Mac, you add these addresses with the plus button in System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Contact.

Verify SMS fallback is enabled

When you’re in an area with sketchy cell service, there may not be enough of a data connection for iMessage to work.  In such a situation, SMS text messages are more likely to get through, but Messages will try to send to iMessage users via SMS only if you turn on Send as SMS in Settings > Messages.

Check text message forwarding settings

If you’re receiving SMS messages on your iPhone but not on any of your other device(s), make sure Text Message Forwarding is enabled for the relevant device(s).  They need to be signed in to the same iCloud account as your iPhone.  Go to Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding.

When in doubt, restart

Restarting can resolve a multitude of problems, so it’s always worth a try if all the settings and accounts are correct.  On the Mac, just choose Apple > Restart.  For iOS devices with Touch ID, press and hold the top button until the Slide to Power Off slider appears.  For those with Face ID, press and hold the side (iPhone) or top (iPad®) button and one of the volume buttons until the slider appears.

Reset iOS network settings

Finally, the most voodoo of the successful fixes is to reset network settings in iOS.  You don’t want to start with this option because doing so also resets Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular settings and VPN settings.  But if all else fails, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

We all love using Messages, but the app can be quirky.  If none of these techniques create the solution you need, reach out to the iPhonophiles at Cranston IT at 888-813-5558 or support@cranstonit.com to learn more.