Apple iPhone 6s Plus Messaging Problems: Cannot Send or Receive SMS/MMS, iMessage not working

Users of iOS devices are able to send text and multimedia messages either through standard messaging or iMessage service on the stock Messages app. iMessage is Apple’s patented messaging platform for iOS users to send/receive messages with other iOS or Mac device users. In short, iMessage only works between Apple devices. It supports sending of photos, videos, files, locations and other types of data with the Messages app over Wi-Fi. With iOS 10, messaging on iOS devices is made even better. However there have been reports of iMessage not working on their iPhone 6s Plus.

iMessage not working

Messages app is one of the most loved features redesigned in iOS 10 as lots of new interested features are added. Though, not all users have the same positive messaging experience. Some were having trouble sending or receiving while others were unable to do both on their respective iOS devices including the iPhone 6s Plus handset. Why do such problems occur even with the latest iOS messaging technology? This question, along with other relevant issues and concerns are basically what this content covers. Potential solutions to various messaging issues are also highlighted within this page. Feel free to use this content as reference in fixing messaging problems on your iPhone 6s Plus.

Possible causes of messaging problems on iOS devices 

The best way to start in troubleshooting a problem is to determine its cause. And in order to do so, you’ll have to think of what has happened before the onset of the symptoms. For example, did you make any changes to some settings on your iPhone before you encounter the very first symptom? If so, then the problem can likely be resolved by reverting the changes you’ve made or change all relevant settings or menu options back to its previous configuration. Nevertheless, this approach is only suitable if you know exactly of which settings to work on. Otherwise, you will have to go through a trial-and-error process until you resolve the underlying cause.

Consider the following factors when attempting to isolate the problem you have with your iPhone 6s Plus messaging feature:

  • Account issues – inactive account status, account data restrictions, and other account-related issues can also be the main reason as to why you are unable to send messages on your iPhone, be it a simple SMS or multimedia messages.
  • Network problems – one of the requisites for messaging service to work properly in your mobile device is an active network. iMessage, in particular requires an active Wi-Fi network while cellular data for standard messaging service to work. Network issues such as unstable or intermittent connectivity, no service or network unavailability can therefore inflict troubles in sending and receiving messages either through iMessage or standard messaging service.
  • Incorrect settings – it is possible for iMessage to not work on your iPhone if the service is not properly configured in the first place. Other thing to check is your blocked list, especially if you cannot receive a message from specific contact or phone number.
  • Bad SIM card – problems associated with SIM card malfunctions are usually identified with relevant error prompts such as SIM card error, No SIM card, SIM card not detected, and the like. If you happen to see any of these prompts, then check the SIM card and ensure no damage is present.
  • Faulty updates – updates can also contain bugs that can affect functionalities of an app including the Messages app on your iPhone. You can consider this a culprit if the problem started after an update installation. This is one of the reasons as to why it is recommended to back up your iPhone before installing apps or software updates. That way you can always restore to a previous backup if something goes wrong after updating apps or iOS.

Your chances of fixing your iPhone’s messaging problem quickly are likely higher especially if you start working on any of the aforementioned factors. For further assistance, you may refer to any of the following procedures.

First things you need to check or carry out before troubleshooting

Step 1. Verify and ensure that your account status is good.

You may need to contact your carrier to check on the current status of your account. This is to eliminate the possibility of the messaging problem being caused by account-related issues such as inactive or restricted accounts. Some carriers will impose a soft disconnection to accounts with unsettled balances. During this state, some outgoing services are restricted or temporarily deactivated. Services will only resume once the account issue has been settled.

Step 2. Check for network outages.

Network outages can happen unexpectedly. If the problem occurs suddenly without changing or doing anything on your device other than messaging, then you might as well consider this among the possible causes. Network service disruptions can also occur on schedule, like when your network service provider is doing scheduled maintenance in your location. To check for possible outages, you can either visit your carrier’s outage board, which is usually found on their official website or give them a call to verify network service status in your place.

Step 3. Verify network settings on your iPhone.

Wi-Fi settings and/or Cellular Data options are among the settings you need to verify. If you are having problems sending or receiving messages using iMessage, check Wi-Fi settings on your iPhone and make sure it is enabled. Meanwhile, if you are using Cellular data for sending or receiving texts or multimedia messages, check and ensure Cellular data is enabled on your iPhone.

  • To check Wi-Fi settings on your iPhone 6s Plus, go to Settings-> Wi-Fi. Make sure you are connected to an active wireless network.

Alternatively, swipe up from the bottom of your Home screen to open the Control Center and then tap the Wi-Fi icon to enable the feature, if necessary.

  • To check Cellular Data settings on your iPhone 6s Plus, go to Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data or Mobile Data. If you are having trouble sending or receiving messages while travelling, you may need to enable data roaming feature on your device first.
  • To do so, head over to Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data Options-> Data Roaming. Toggle the switch next to Data Roaming to enable the feature.

Step 4. Check memory status of your iPhone.

Problems with receiving messages can also be tied to a memory issue like insufficient memory on your iPhone. This is likely the case when you’re fond of downloading complex apps and contents on your device. Although your iPhone may sport a higher storage capacity, it can end up running low in storage space especially with more and more stored contents.

  • To make sure this is not causing your problem, check your iPhone Settings-> General-> Storage & iCloud Usage. Try to assess the amount of storage used and available space. Make sure the available space is enough to allocate additional files on your device. Messages (SMS and MMS) are among other files that utilizes some space of your iPhone’s internal memory. The larger the file size of a message, the more space it requires to be allocated.

If necessary, free up some space of your iPhone’s memory by removing all unnecessary contents including apps, photos, videos, messages, and other files that are no longer in use. Or you can backup files through iCloud or move some of your contents to other compatible storage media.

Step 5. Manage blocked list.

Messages from block-listed contacts, phone numbers or email addresses are barred from getting into your device. This is likely the case if you cannot receive messages from a certain contact while others can go through. To rule out this possibility, check your blocked list and make sure the contact is not included. If necessary, remove the contact from the list to unblock it.

  • To manage your blocked list, go to your iPhone Settings-> Messages-> Blocked. Review the contact details in the list on the following screen. To unblock a phone number or contact, tap the Edit option located on the upper-right corner of the screen, tap the Minus (-) icon, and then tap Unblock.

 After unblocking the contact, try to send a message again.

In the case where your message could not be received only by a specific contact, then it’s possible that your number is blocked by the recipient. The problem is therefore not on your end.

Step 6. Manage MMS messaging settings.

In order to send and receive MMS messages with the Messages app on your iPhone, the MMS messaging option must be enabled first. If the problem only occurs in MMS messaging, then you should consider checking on these settings on your iPhone and enable it, if necessary.

  • To access the settings menu for MMS messaging option, go to Settings-> Messages-> MMS messaging.

In case you do not see this option on your Messages app settings, contact your carrier to verify if the service is activated in your account. If necessary, request your carrier to activate MMS messaging service for your account to use the feature.

Step 7. Verify and ensure that date and time settings are properly configured.

If you’re seeing an error prompt, saying “Waiting for activation” while  trying to send a message on your iPhone, it’s a possible indication that the date and time settings on your device is not properly set or incorrect.

  • To manage these settings on your device, go to Settings-> General-> Date & Time, and then tap the option to Set Automatically. Doing so will automatically set the date and time on your device based on your time zone.

After changing the date and time settings, go back to Settings-> Messages-> then turn iMessage off and then back on.

Troubleshooting Guide for Apple iPhone 6s Plus iMessage not working

The following methods are comprised of standard troubleshooting procedures and user-defined solutions for iOS messaging issues. After completing each of these steps, try to create a test message to see if the problem has already been fixed. Otherwise, try other methods available.

Step 1. Restart the Messages app.

Minor issues can randomly occur on any mobile apps including the Messages app. Thus, it is possible that the problem you have is just another symptom of random app malfunctions. Usually, minor apps issues like this one can be remedied by a quick restart on the app.

To do so, quit the Messages app and then open it again after a few seconds. Try to see if there are any changes afterwards.

Step 2. Reboot your iPhone.

If restarting the Messages app could not fix the problem, then rebooting your device might be able to fix it. The process is as simple as turning your iPhone off and then back on.

  • For starters, just press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone for at least 10 seconds until the red slider appears. Drag the slider to power off your device completely. Wait for about 30 seconds and then press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears. Your iPhone will then reboot.

After the reboot, open the Messages app again and create a test message to see if you can now send and receive it.

Step 3. Configure iMessage settings.

If iMessage service is not properly set up or configured on your iPhone, then you will likely have trouble sending and receiving iMessages. If necessary, verify the iMessage settings on your device by going to Settings->Messages->Send & Receive.

Once you get to this menu, a list of phone numbers and email addresses that are configured to send and receive iMessages on your device will show up.

In the case where an empty list is shown, it denotes that you haven’t yet configured or set any phone number or email address on your iPhone. So here’s what you need to do then:

  • Go to the ‘Start New Conversations From’ section and then check the box next to your current phone number.
  • Tap on your phone number to activate iMessage for your number.

If you changed your phone number recently, you may need to enter your new number and then set that number on the ‘Start New Conversations From’ section.

Step 4. Delete existing conversation and create a new one.

If the problem is specific to an existing conversation like you cannot reply to a message, deleting the conversation and starting a new one might be able to fix it. Here’s how:

  • Tap Messages to open the app.
  • Swipe left over the conversation you want to delete.
  • Tap Delete.
  • Close the Messages app.
  • Reboot your iPhone.
  • Open the Messages app again.
  • Create a new thread or conversation by tapping on the Create New Message icon.
  • Enter contact details for the recipient.
  • Compose your message.
  • Tap the Send icon when you’re done.

If the message is not delivered and you see a red exclamation mark, tap the red exclamation mark and select Try Again to resend the message. If it is still not delivered, tap the red exclamation mark again and then tap Send as Text Message. Doing so will send your message as standard text message over cellular data plan.

Step 5. Re-install SIM card.

A faulty SIM card can also result to messaging problems in mobile devices. Usually, you’ll see a relevant error prompt or message like Invalid SIM card, SIM card error, No SIM card detected, and the like. If you cannot send or receive messages on your iPhone and you see any of these error prompts, try to remove and re-insert the SIM card.

It is recommended to power off your iPhone completely before removing the SIM card to prevent causing any damage to your device.

Once powered off, open the SIM card tray using a small paper clip or SIM eject tool. When the tray ejects, gently remove the SIM card. Check the SIM card for any signs of damages like scratches. If you think the SIM card is okay, re-insert it in the tray in the same way before it was removed. Close the SIM card tray afterwards.

Step 6. Reset Network Settings.

Messaging problems that occur after making changes to your iPhone settings, particularly on network options can also result to issues on sending and receiving messages. If this is the case, you can try to revert the changes or go back to the previous configuration before the problem transpires. If you’re not certain of which settings to work on, then a better option to consider is to reset network settings on your device. However, you will lose your network credentials including Wi-Fi password, APN and VPN settings in the process.

  • To reset network settings on your iPhone, go to Settings-> General-> Reset-> select the option to Reset Network Settings.

 After the reset, restart your iPhone and then try to see if Messages or iMessage is already working fine afterwards.

Step 7. Update carrier settings (if available).

Carriers also release updates periodically as their way of optimizing or bringing new changes to network services and relevant features on a device. Some carrier settings are mandatory, thus automatically installed. Optional updates would require manual downloading and installation by users.

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

If an update is available, follow the onscreen instructions to proceed with the download and installation process.

Step 8. Update iOS.

Software updates usually contain new and enhanced features as well as bug fixes. Should the messaging problem you are dealing with is caused by certain bug within the Messages app then it is possible for it to be resolved by updating iOS.

  • To check for any available iOS update for your device, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update.

If an update is available, backup your iPhone and then proceed with iOS download and installation.

Seek Further Assistance

So you think you’ve ran out of options or the problem persists after performing all the aforementioned procedures. If you reach this point, you should already consider escalating it to Apple Support and ask for other options. Apparently, the problem seems to be more complex that it could be rectified by any workarounds on your end. You need more advanced help from authorized Apple technicians.

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