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Can I see text messages that were sent to me while I was abroad
January 9, 2014 9:12 AM   Subscribe

I was out of the country from December 19th until January 8th. I'm not able to see any text messages which would have been sent to me during that time.

My phone was still in service, and it's an iPhone, so I was able to receive and send messages to people who have the iPhone. But for people who have a different phone, I'm not able to see if they messaged me or not. Wouldn't any received messages from these people showed up by now? I have back in the country for about a day.
posted by summertimesadness1988 to Technology (7 answers total)
Wouldn't any received messages from these people showed up by now? I have back in the country for about a day.

In my experience, yes. I usually get an onslaught of messages sent while I was abroad as soon as I turn on my phone at a domestic airport, and then over the next 2-3 hours the rest trickle in. YMMV, of course, but I'd personally be surprised if any messages took more than 24 hours to arrive.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:17 AM on January 9 [2 favorites]

schroedingersgirl: thank you. also, did your phone have roaming services while you were gone?Mine didn't (it just had its regular service), so I'm wondering if having or not having roaming during that time would affect the delivery of text messages.
posted by summertimesadness1988 at 9:20 AM on January 9

Back when SMS first started to become available, my understanding of the protocol was that undelivered messages would attempt delivery every minute, then once an hour and finally once a day for up to two weeks before it would be returned as undeliverable. I don't know if that's different for iPhone SMS (as opposed to iMessage which you did receive) or has changed in the intervening years. There's a possibility, assuming two weeks is the cutoff, that you may not receive messages sent before the 25th Dec, but the rest should show up eventually.
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:28 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

Mine didn't (it just had its regular service)

You had your phone running in regular communication with the towers? Who's your carrier?

I was recently traveling through Asia with T-Mobile, and found that while most text messages came through, but on occasion messages would just be lost.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:41 AM on January 9

did your phone have roaming services while you were gone?

Yes, but infrequently. When out of the country I often have my phone connected to WiFi only for days at a time.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 9:48 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

Can you log on to your carrier's website to check messages? I know with AT&T this was possible with their "My Messages" webpage.
posted by davidvanb at 10:39 AM on January 9 [1 favorite]

Usually networks will try to deliver an SMS for 3 days before they give up. It varies from network to network, but 72 hours is typical.

If you haven't received the messages by now, having been connected to a domestic network for 24+ hours, you never will. Those messages are lost.
posted by spielzebub at 4:37 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

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