Ancient and fishlike texts
March 20, 2011 12:07 PM   Subscribe

What is causing the problems I'm having with sending and receiving text messages on my mobile telephone, and how can I stop them?

I have a fairly elderly Nokia mobile. I text one friend a lot. Sometimes when I text her instead of receiving the text I have sent she receives one that I sent her some time ago - up to 2 or 3 years ago. This happens the other way around too - sometimes I receive an old text from her rather than the one she has sent. This has happened once with another person I text frequently, but not with anyone else.

Also, sometimes when I text this friend she receives the first part of the text I've sent ok but it is merged with a text I sent previously (the second half of the text is an old one). I haven't had this happen with texts she has sent me.

If I receive an old text from her instead of the one she's just sent, and the old one was one I had saved in my mobile, I have to delete it from my saved messages - otherwise when she sends it again I just get the old one again.

If she received a merged text from me I have to edit it (add a few spaces to the start) and re-send; if I just re-send it as it was the same thing happens again.

Other details: we are not on the same network (I'm on Vodafone, she's on Orange); my friend's mobile is reasonably new; not all the old texts that reappear are ones either of us has saved.

I'm interested in knowing how this happens as it suggests that some old texts are stored somewhere and get picked up somehow when new texts are sent. Is there something specific about the new texts which somehow means they get caught on to old ones?

Is there a name for this? Searching for "old texts," "hybrid texts," "merged texts" etc hasn't found me anything similar.

And what could I do to stop it happening? Many thanks.
posted by paduasoy to Technology (4 answers total)
Networks don't tend to keep old messages that long, so what it sounds like is happening is your phone's SMSes are corrupt and old and new messages are being combined. I would suggest searching the internet for your phone's model number how to restore the phone to factory settings. It will zap all the sms and everything else stored on the phone, but functionality should return.

Before you do that, make sure you have all your contacts copied to your SIM first so you can copy them back/use them from the SIM. Nokia used to have an online app that you could plug into your computer to copy to old SMS but without that your SMSs will be lost. But it is a fair trade to get the ability to send/receive new messages.

If that doesn't work, it might be time to get a new phone.
posted by birdherder at 12:23 PM on March 20, 2011

My guess is the Nokia is using an index to mark the positions of each SMS in memory. At some point that index was corrupted. Deleting all your text messages (sent, received, drafts, etc) may fix the problem. You could also try swapping SIM cards with a friend to see if the corrupt index is stored on the SIM card or on the phone itself.

You can perform a soft-reset on a Nokia phone by dialing *#7380#. If that doesn't work you can perform a hard reset by dialing *#7370#. Both of these will wipe all the data on your phone (contacts, texts, settings, etc).
posted by ChrisHartley at 1:59 PM on March 20, 2011

How often do you turn your cell phone off?

The fix-all cure for cell phones is to turn them off, wait 30 seconds, then turn them back on again. I won't bore you with the technical details, I'll simply say that this fixes at least 98% of the problems you will encounter with a cell phone. Honest.

Standard advice if you're having trouble is to do this once a day. Turn it off when you go into the shower, and turn it back on when you get out. Or some other daily ritual.
posted by ErikaB at 6:34 PM on March 20, 2011

I was having a similar problem and the memory on my phone was too full. I deleted some stuff at the suggestion of tech support and my problems magically went away.
posted by Invoke at 8:07 PM on March 20, 2011

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