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Apple iPhone 6s Messaging Problems: Cannot send or receive messages, other messaging errors [Troubleshooting Guide]

One of the iPhone features that you can’t go without is the messaging service, either iMessage or cellular SMS / MMS. And this is probably the reason why the iOS messaging app is also tagged among the priority and key features to receive constant updates to serve a better purpose. In fact, the iOS 10 takes iPhone messaging to a higher level with more advanced features and functions entrenched into the latest Apple technology.

Even so, there are still instances when the service can get halted inevitably. In fact, many iPhone owners have been complaining about not being able to send or receive messages on their handset. Why does it happen and what must be done should you too encounter the same issue with your iPhone 6s? Read on to learn more.

But before we jump right into our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your iPhone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page because we’ve already addressed a lot of issues reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you or if you need more help, fill up our iPhone problems questionnaire and give us more accurate information about your problem so we can give you the best solution.

Factors that prevent your iPhone 6s from sending / receiving text messages

There are several factors that can affect your iPhone’s messaging function. Knowing these factors beforehand is a key to resolving the underlying cause as to why you cannot send or receive messages on your iPhone 6s. Many things can trigger this problem to occur in your device. Among the most widely known culprits would include but not limited to the following:

  • Network connectivity issues – no connectivity or cellular network is not available
  • Misconfigured settings (Wi-Fi and Cellular) – Wi-Fi or cellular data is disabled or turned off
  • Type of message not supported by carrier – some carriers do not offer support for certain types of MMS or SMS
  • Invalid recipient – incorrect phone number or email address is entered for recipient
  • Bad SIM card – faulty or damaged SIM card

Generally, messaging issues on an iPhone are software-related. This therefore denotes that any of these messages can likely be resolved without paying for a tech service.

The simplest way to determine if your message was sent as iMessage or SMS/MMS is through the bubble’s color that appears. If the message shows in blue bubble, it means that it was sent using iMessage. If it appears in a green bubble, then it means that the message was sent using SMS or MMS via cellular data.

What to do if you cannot send / receive messages on your iPhone

Before you begin troubleshooting the problem, be sure to determine which messaging service is actually not working on your iPhone. For example, are you having trouble sending or receiving messages using iMessage or through cellular SMS or MMS? Doing so will help you isolate the problem and so you can save time and effort from performing unnecessary procedures.

If this is the first time you encounter this issue on being unable to send or receive messages on the iPhone 6s, be sure to check your account status and make sure it is in good standing. You may need to contact your carrier on this matter. Once you’ve verified that your account is good, proceed with the following:

Step 1. Check your network connection and make sure your iPhone 6s is connected to an active network (Wi-Fi or Cellular).

A cellular network connection or Wi-Fi connection is required when sending a message as iMessage or MMS. If you are trying to send an SMS message, you will need to use a cellular network connection.

  • If necessary, connect to a Wi-Fi network by going to Settings-> Wi-Fi-> turn ON Wi-Fi switch. Doing so will let your device perform automatically search for available Wi-Fi networks to join. To connect to a Wi-Fi network, simply tap the name of the preferred Wi-Fi network.

Note: You may be asked to enter a password when connecting to a secured network. Be sure to enter the correct password. You will see a green checkmark next to the Wi-Fi name after you join to the network. The Wi-Fi icon will also appear on the upper-left corner of the screen.

If you are using Cellular network, then verify and ensure that Cellular Data is turned on or enabled on your iPhone.

  • To do so, head over to Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data or (Mobile Data). Enabling Cellular Data will automatically turn off Wi-Fi on your iPhone.

Menu options may vary depending on the device and carrier.

If you are traveling internationally and having trouble sending or receiving messages on your iPhone 6s, verify and ensure that your device is set up for data roaming services.

  • To do so, head over to Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data Options-> Data Roaming.

Also make sure that your iPhone is getting good signal from your network. You will not be able to send or receive messages if you get no service or when you’re out of your cellular network’s range/coverage.

Step 2. Configure MMS Messaging settings on your iPhone.

If you are attempting to send a message with pictures or other multimedia contents, then you need to turn on MMS Messaging on your iPhone beforehand. In case you don’t see the option to turn on MMS Messaging or Group Messaging on your iPhone 6s, contact your carrier for further assistance. Also check with your carrier if the type of message you are trying to send is supported.

Step 3. Verify recipient’s phone number or email address.

It is also possible that you cannot send a message simply because the recipient’s phone number or email address you’ve entered is incorrect and therefore, invalid. To rule this out from the possible culprits, be sure to check the recipient’s details and make sure everything is entered correctly.

Step 4. Make sure iMessage is properly set up.

For iMessage to work, it has to enabled and properly configured beforehand.

  • To check, go to Settings-> Messages and then tap to open the menu item called Send & Receive. Doing so will open a list of phone numbers and email addresses that are configured to send and receive iMessages on your iPhone.
  • Navigate to the ‘Start New Conversations From’ section and be sure to check the box next to your phone number. Then tap on your phone number to activate iMessage for your number.

Step 5. Check memory status of your iPhone.

There is a higher chance that you won’t be able to receive any more messages simply because there is no more room for new messages on your iPhone. If this is the case, try to delete old messages or other contents that are no longer used from your device to free up some space. You may head over to your iPhone settings, check your iPhone’s current memory status, and manage memory storage if necessary.

Standard Troubleshooting Procedures and Potential Solutions

Try to create a test message after completing each of the following methods to see if the problem has already been fixed and that you are now able to send or receive a message. If not, continue on trying other methods.

Step 1. Restart (Soft Reset) your iPhone 6s.

Sometimes, the Messaging app can experience random issues triggered by minor software glitches or program inconsistency. Oftentimes, problems like this can be remedied by a simple restart, also known as soft reset, on your iPhone. Here’s how:

  • Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button (Power key) until the Power Off slider shows up.
  • Drag the slider to turn your iPhone completely off.
  • After 30 seconds, press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears.

Your iPhone will then reboot. After that, try to open the Messages app and then create a test message.

Step 2. Update carrier settings.

Carrier Settings updates are designed to let your carrier/network provider update carrier network and related settings so as to enhance network connectivity on your iPhone.

  • To check for available carrier update on your iPhone 6s, go to Settings-> General-> About.

You will see an option to update your carrier settings if an update is available.

Step 3. Remove and re-insert SIM card.

If you cannot send or receive a message on your iPhone and that you are getting error messages relevant to the SIM card, then most likely the SIM card is at fault. In this case, you can try to remove and then re-insert the SIM card on your iPhone. You will need a paper clip or a SIM-eject tool to pop open your iPhone’s SIM card tray. Here’s how:

  • Turn off your iPhone completely.
  • Insert the SIM-eject tool or paper clip into the hole beside the SIM tray on the side of your iPhone.
  • Carefully remove the SIM card from the tray.
  • After a few seconds, re-insert the SIM card. Be sure to properly secure the SIM card into place.
  • Insert the tray completely and in the same orientation that you removed it.

After re-inserting the SIM card, turn on your iPhone and then try to create a test message to see if it’s now able to send or receive messages.

Step 4. Reset Network Settings.

Some messaging issues are triggered by network problems. This is likely the case when you’re unable to send or receive messages using iMessage. Often times restoring the network settings on your iPhone can fix it.

To do so, head over to Settings-> General-> Reset-> select the option to Reset Network Settings.

However, doing so will erase your network credentials including Wi-Fi network passwords as the network settings will be restored back to factory defaults. That being said, be sure to take note of this information as you’ll have to re-enter it after your iPhone reboots.

Step 5. Update iOS.

Check for iOS update and go for an upgrade this time. This might be the only thing you need to get your Messages app back up and running especially if the problem was triggered by a software bug, which can only be removed by an iOS update.

  • To check for available update, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update. Apple periodically pushes out updates to address issues on iOS devices including Messages or iMessaging services with various carriers.

Problem-Specific Solutions

Sometimes, you’ll be prompted with an error message while attempting to send a message, which eventually would fail to send or not delivered. Be sure to take note of the error message as they will also give you some hints on what went wrong and how to get it fixed. Among the most common error messages when using the iPhone’s messaging services are highlighted below along with the recommended solution(s) to fix them.

Follow the recommended steps to fix specific problems while trying to send or receive a message with iMessage or Messages app on your iPhone 6s.

Condition 1: ‘Waiting for activation’ error

Try to check the date and time settings on your iPhone and make sure they are configured correctly. If necessary, adjust the date and time settings using these steps:

    • Go to Settings
    • Tap General.

 

  • Tap Date & Time.

 

  • Turn on the option to Set Automatically. Doing so automatically sets your date and time based on your time zone.

After changing the date, proceed with the following steps:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Tap Messages.
  • Turn off iMessage.
  • Turn on iMessage again.

Now try to create a test message and see if you can send or receive it already.

Condition 2: Red Exclamation Mark

The red exclamation mark indicates that the message was not delivered. Here’s what you can do then:

  • Tap the Red exclamation mark.
  • Tap the option to Try Again. Doing so will resend the message.

If you still cannot send the message, tap the Red exclamation mark again and then select the option to Send as Text Message.

Condition 3: Cannot send/receive a group message

You may need to delete the conversation and start a new one in this case. Here’s how:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Locate the conversation you’re having issues with.
  • Swipe left over the conversation, then tap Delete.
  • After you delete the conversation, start a new one by opening Messages app and then tap the ‘Create New Message’ icon. Enter the phone number or email address of your recipients, compose your message and then tap Send.

Contact Apple Support for More Help

If all the aforementioned troubleshooting steps won’t be able to fix the problem with Messages or iMessage and you’re still unable to send or receive messages on your iPhone 6s, then at this point I suggest contacting your carrier or Apple Support to escalate the problem to Apple engineers who would personally resolve the issue.

Connect with Us

If you have other problems with your iOS device including iPhone 6s, you may visit our Troubleshooting Page or complete and submit this form to get further assistance from our support team. Just be sure to provide us with all necessary information, such as your iOS device model, as well as more details about the issue you have with your device. For example, when did the problem start to occur or what you did before the problem shows. This way, it would be easier for us to determine the main cause(s) and help you towards finding the best possible solution available.

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