Why does an Apple iPhone 7 unable to send or receive text messages (SMS) and how to fix it? [Troubleshooting Guide]

Sending and receiving text messages (SMS messaging) is among the basic yet most significant functions of every phone — either basic phones or smartphones. SMS messaging in smartphones, especially in high-tiered devices like Apple’s iPhone 7 is already schemed to offer a variety of advanced features and options to provide end-users with the best possible iOS messaging experience. Even so, the iPhone’s messaging functions can still succumb into random issues due to various factors. And this is the main issue that we will try to address in this post. So if you are here because you need help in fixing a problem with sending or receiving SMS messages on your iPhone 7, then you should read on to find out what causes you this trouble and how to get it fixed.

Before going any further though, if you have other concerns with your new iPhone, make sure you drop by our iPhone 7 troubleshooting page for we have already started supporting the device. Moreover, if you need further assistance, you can always contact us by completing our iPhone issues questionnaire and providing us with sufficient information about the problem.

Factors that can trigger problems with sending or receiving SMS messages on your iPhone 7

Among the possible reasons as to why you are unable to send or receive SMS or text messages on your iPhone include but not limited to network issues, software glitch, malware, incorrect settings, faulty updates, and incorrect contact details (when sending). Here’s how each of the said factors can trigger the problem.

  • Network problems. You need to have a decent network connection for you to be able to send/receive messages on your iPhone. But since network problems are inevitable, there’s really nothing much you can do on your end but to try resorting to network settings reset or a soft reset on the device.
  • Software glitches and malware. Problems on sending or receiving text or SMS messages can also be triggered by software glitches like when the Messages app you are using gets corrupted or suddenly goes rogue. This usually happens when a faulty update is installed, applying incorrect settings on the app, and other messages that contain some malware.
  • Incorrect or misconfigured settings. As mentioned earlier, incorrect settings can also be the main reason as to why your messaging app won’t be able to perform its tasks as intended. So if the problem started right after making some changes on your messaging app or device settings in general, then that is most likely the trigger. In order to fix it, you need to revert the settings back to its prior configuration before the problem instigate. Otherwise, you may opt for a settings reset or factory reset.
  • Recipient details are invalid or incorrect. Invalid details particularly on the recipient’s contact number or email address can also cause you a problem in sending a text message. Most likely, you won’t be able to send the message because the information you entered for the recipient is incorrect or doesn’t exist. Usually you will get an alert prompt saying so in this case. So care to check on that one too.
  • Bad SIM card. On the hardware aspect, the problem can be due to a SIM card issue like a bad SIM card for instance. Pertinent error prompts usually show up in this case.

Generally, the problem is more on the software aspect unless if it’s the SIM card at fault. Should this be the case, a SIM card replacement might be necessary. Keep reading to learn your options when troubleshooting SMS/text messaging problems on your iPhone 7 that are software-related.


Restart your iPhone 7 (soft reset)

Quit the Messages app then restart your device. This will help rid of minor glitches affecting the basic messaging function on your phone. It might be the only thing you need to do especially if this is the first time you encounter problem on sending or receiving text messages on your device. For starters, here’s how a soft reset or reboot is done on your iPhone 7:

  • Press the Power button for a few seconds until the Slide to Power Off screen appears.
  • Drag the slider to Power off your device.
  • Wait for about 30 seconds, then press the Power button again until the Apple logo appears.

Once your iPhone boots up completely, try to launch the Messages app then create a test SMS message to send and receive.

Remove and re-install your SIM card

If you are getting an error, particularly the ones associated with the network or SIM card like no service error, network is currently unavailable, invalid SIM card, or other SIM card errors, then removing and re-installing the SIM card will most likely be able to fix it. Just be sure to power off your device completely before you begin with these steps:

  1. Get your SIM card ejector tool ready or take a small paper clip and then make it straight.
  2. Locate the SIM tray on the right side of your phone.
  3. Insert the paperclip or pin into the small hole then push it slightly until the tray pops-out.
  4. Remove the SIM card from the tray.
  5. Check the SIM card for any visible signs of damage like scratches or dents. If there’s none, insert it again.
  6. Insert the SIM card into the tray so the notched corner aligns.
  7. Make sure the SIM card is properly secured then re-insert the SIM tray into your iPhone.

Turn on your device then try to see if that fixes your SMS messaging functions.

Clear cache and data on Messages app

Temporary files that are stored as cache on the Messages app on your iPhone can also be the culprit. When any of these cached files or data gets corrupted, there is a tendency that the Messages app become unstable and being unable to send or receive messages on the device as intended might be among the symptoms. To rule this out from the possible culprits, try to clear cache and data on your iPhone’s Messages app. Note that clearing app’s data will erase all the information stored in the app’s memory including username and passwords. So make sure you take note of them beforehand. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Storage & iCloud Usage.
  4. Tap an app in Documents and Data.
  5. Delete and reinstall the app to clear up some space.
  6. Tap Delete App.
  7. Go to the App Store then redownload the app.

Alternatively, you can use a software to quickly and easily erase temporary and junk files from your iOS device.

In the case where you cannot receive SMS and prompted with an alert saying that the messages storage (inbox) is full, delete old and unwanted messages or conversations, then restart your Messages app.

Disable LTE and use it for data only

There have been prior issues wherein people had trouble sending or receiving messages and later found out that the problem was tied to the LTE settings. Then they’ve come up with a temporary solution, which is to turn off LTE while using the Messages app for sending and receiving messages. Here’s the workaround:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Cellular.
  3. Tap on LTE.
  4. Select Data Only or Off option.
  5. Restart your iPhone.

Note: This is just a temporary fix considering that you cannot afford to sacrifice your Internet browsing speed just for the sake of getting or sending text messages on your iPhone.

Reset Network Settings on your iPhone 7

Text messaging requires an active and stable connection to the network. But the network system can sometimes experience technical glitches and when that happens, the network can become unavailable or unstable. Incorrect configuration of your iPhone’s network settings can also cause the same problem to occur. To rule these out from the possible causes, performing a network settings reset can help. Make sure you take note of your network passwords because they will be erased in the process. Once you’re all set, follow these steps:

  1. Tap to open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Reset. You need to scroll all the way down to the bottom.
  4. Tap on Reset Network Settings.
  5. Tap Reset Settings to confirm.

Your iPhone will then reboot. After it boots up completely, open the Messages and then try to create a test SMS to send and receive. See if that will fix the problem. If not, try other solutions.

Restore your iPhone to factory default (Factory reset)

If the problem persists after performing all prior methods, then at this point you may consider opting for a full system restore. If you started to have trouble sending or receiving text messages after installing an iOS update, then you may choose to restore from a previous iOS backup. Otherwise, go for a factory reset to wipe your device, install the latest firmware, and restore the default settings. This means losing all your personal data stored on your iPhone but on the bright side, any bugs or malicious software dwelling in and afflicting the iPhone system are likewise eradicated in the process. This then gives your iPhone a clean fresh start. If ever you need further assistance in performing a factory reset, we have a step-by-step guide on how to perform a factory reset on iPhone 7 available on our troubleshooting page. Feel free to visit that page whenever you want.

Seek more help

So you’ve tried all prior methods but to no avail. If so, then at this point you should already consider escalating the problem to your device carrier or Apple Support. Consider doing so especially if a software update is causing the iPhone to stop sending or receiving SMS or text messages. The problem might be too complex that already requires an advanced, dedicated software for fixing.

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