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How to fix an iPhone 8 that cannot send or receive SMS or text messages? [Troubleshooting Guide]

This post tackles SMS problems on the new iPhone 8, in which the device is unable to send or receive SMS or text messages. There are many factors to consider when dealing with SMS problems like sending or receiving errors. Account-related issues, network problems, device settings errors, software glitches and SIM card issues are the usual triggers. Generally problems like this are often associated with software problems rather than hardware. That being said, your chance of fixing the problem on your end is higher.

Read on to find out how to deal with SMS problems and get your new iPhone to send and receive SMS as intended.

Before we move any further, if you are looking for a solution to a different problem, them drop by our iPhone 8 troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Odds are that there are already existing solutions to your problem. Try to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need more help, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and we’ll help you with you problem.

Before you troubleshoot, be sure to check on the following things:

  • Account status – some carriers would impose a soft disconnect to accounts with unsettled issues like unpaid balances. In this case, the account status is marked inactive and so all outgoing services are temporarily unavailable. This is likely the case if you can receive but cannot send SMS or text messages on your iPhone 8 and other devices using the same network. For your outgoing services to resume or become available, you will need to contact your carrier and settle any issue that needs to be dealt with.
  • Network  status – you won’t be able to send and receive text messages if the network is not available. Signal issues can be due to network outages, bad SIM card, or app malfunction on the device. You may contact your network service provider to check for any ongoing outage that might have affected the network services in your places. As for the SIM card, you can try to remove the SIM card then insert it again after a few seconds. A detailed instruction on how to properly remove the SIM card from your iPhone 8 will be provided below this page. An error in sending or receiving of SMS messages can also occur due to an app malfunction. Just like any other apps, the iPhone 8 Messages app can likewise succumb into minor glitches especially when any of the messages gets corrupted or contains some malware. Usually, this can be resolved by quitting the app followed by a restart on the iPhone.
  • If your iPhone 8 cannot send SMS only to a certain recipient, verify and ensure that the recipient’s number is correct or valid. Meanwhile, if you cannot receive SMS only from certain people, check and ensure that the sender’s phone number is not blocked on your device. This means a need for you to check on your Messages app’s blocklist.

Suggested workarounds and possible solutions to SMS problems on your iPhone 8

Once you have verified all the above factors and that you still cannot send or receive SMS on your iPhone 8, the following procedures might be able to help you out in resolving the underlying cause. Don’t forget to test your iPhone after completing each method to determine if the problem is fixed and you are already able to send and receive SMS messages as intended. If the first method doesn’t work, then proceed to the next applicable solution(s).

First solution: Quit the Messages app then restart your iPhone 8.

Restarting the Messages app can help rectify minor glitches that might have prevented your device from sending or receiving SMS or text messages. Doing so will likewise give the app a fresh start. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Double-click the Home button to show your most recently used apps.
  2. Swipe right or left to locate the Messages app.
  3. Swipe up on the Messages app preview to close it.

You can also close other apps running on the background if you no longer use them. Doing so will free up some space of your iPhone’s internal memory and also helps optimize the device functions.

After a few seconds from closing the Messages app, restart your iPhone.

  1. To restart your iPhone 8, press and hold the Side (Power) button until the Slide to power off label appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your device completely.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Side (Power) button again until the Apple logo appears.

Once your iPhone boots up completely, open the Messages app and try to create a test message. See if it is now able to send and receive SMS.

A reboot or soft reset will not affect any data stored on your iPhone memory. It’s the very first recommended solution to fix minor glitches and errors that are suddenly transpiring on your device.

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Second solution: Remove and re-insert SIM card.

If you cannot send or receive messages and prompted with SIM card errors or network-related errors, try to remove and re-insert the SIM card on your iPhone 8.

But before you do so, be sure to power off your iPhone completely. Removing the SIM card while the device is powered on might cause damage to the SIM card and/or the device itself. The following steps will walk you through the entire process of SIM removal and reinstallation on your iPhone 8:

  1. Turn off your iPhone.
  2. Once the device is powered off, remove the SIM card tray from the right edge of the iPhone. Use the SIM eject tool or paperclip then insert it into the tiny hole to unlock the tray.
  3. Carefully remove the SIM card from the tray.
  4. Check the SIM card for any sign of damage. If there’s none, insert the SIM card back into the tray.
  5. Make sure that the gold contacts are facing downwards.
  6. Once the SIM card is properly secured, insert the SIM card tray. Press in on the tray to lock it into place.

Turn your iPhone back on then open the Messages app to create a test SMS message. See if you can now send and receive SMS or text messages.

Third solution: Reset network settings.

If the problem is caused by network errors or incorrect network settings configuration on the iPhone, resetting the network settings can likely fix it. Please note though that a network settings reset will likewise erase your current network settings including Wi-Fi networks and passwords. So be sure to take note of them before you begin. Once you’re all set, follow these steps to reset network settings on your iPhone 8:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Scroll to and tap Reset.
  4. Tap Reset Network Settings.
  5. If prompted, enter the device passcode.
  6. Tap to confirm network settings reset.
  7. Your iPhone will reboot once the reset is complete. Wait until it boots up completely then open the Messages app and create a test message.
  8. Resetting the network settings will reset all data connections back to the original or factory default settings.

If you still cannot send or receive SMS, try the next solution.

Fourth solution: Update iOS (if applicable).

If you haven’t already, check for any available update for your iPhone 8. Aside from device optimization, software update also contain some bug fixes. So if the SMS problem is triggered by some bugs, installing the update can fix it.

  • To check for software updates on your iPhone 8, head over to Settings-> General-> About menu.

If an update is available, you will see an update notification. Read and review the software version details then proceed with the update download and installation. But before you do, don’t forget backup your iPhone data for safekeeping. You can update your iPhone 8 wirelessly through Settings menu or using iTunes on a computer. If you prefer to use iTunes, you can also backup your iPhone data to iCloud or to your computer on iTunes. Just click or select the necessary options and follow the given instructions to backup and update your iPhone 8 on iTunes.

Fifth solution: Turn off LTE or use Data Only.

This is just a temporary solution because you will need to use LTE for mobile internet functions on your iPhone 8. Some users who have had troubles in sending or receiving SMS on their iPhone have resorted to this temporary remedy so you might as well consider this among your other options, if necessary. Here’s how to disable LTE and switch to other network options on your iPhone 8:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data switch is turned on. If not, tap the switch to turn it ON.
  4. Tap Cellular Data Options.
  5. Tap Enable LTE.
  6. Tap to select and enable other options including Voice and Data, Data Only, and Off.

Note: Voice & Data option allows you to use data during calls when Wi-Fi is not available.

After making the changes, open the Messages app and create a test message. See if you can now send or receive SMS with LTE disabled on your iPhone 8.

If the problem is resolved with this workaround, contact your carrier or Apple Support to escalate the matter and seek further assistance and recommendations.

Sixth solution: Remove old messages or conversations.

It’s possible that some of your old messages gets corrupted or contain some malware that is preventing you from sending or receiving SMS. To rule this out from the possible culprits, try to delete all your old messages then start a new thread or conversation instead.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Locate the conversation or thread that you want to delete.
  3. Swipe left over the thread or conversation.
  4. Tap Delete.

Note: You cannot recover deleted messages. If you wish to save some parts of a message, taking a screenshot on the message would be an option prior to permanent deletion.

Last resort: Restore your iPhone to factory defaults or from a previous backup.

A system reset or restore might be required if the problem persists after performing all applicable workarounds. It’s possible that a more complex error is transpiring on the iOS and in some ways affecting the iPhone’s SMS messaging functions. In cases like this, a full system reset would be necessary. You can use iTunes to reset your iPhone 8 to factory defaults or restore from a previous backup. You may opt for an iOS backup restore if the problem started after installing a new iOS update. A comprehensive guide on how to factory reset or restore your iPhone 8 is posted in our tutorial section. Feel free to visit the page if ever you need further assistance on how to carry out the entire process.

Seek more help

If your iPhone 8 is still unable to send or receive SMS after doing all the recommended troubleshooting procedures, then at this point you should escalate the problem to Apple Support or your carrier’s customer care. They will be able to assist you further in troubleshooting the problem using a dedicated software on their end. Also care to verify your account status and make sure that the problem is not associated with any account issues. If you think the SIM card is to blame, you may opt to request a SIM card replacement too.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the new Apple iPhone 8 smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone 8. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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