Why can't I get group texts originating from iPhones?
October 18, 2013 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Hi, my band members have iPhones. Since last month, I am not getting group texts from the other members. They can see my texts sent to the group, but their responses never reach my phone. Texts to and from the individual members work just fine, but I never get any of their texts to the group. Any idea what causes this and what can be done to fix it? I don't know the models they are using. I'm using a Blackberry Curve. The internet is filled with questions about this problem, but not specifically related to group texts, which are the only problem for me. The other issues are apparently related to iMessage.
posted by Ironmouth to Technology (13 answers total)
I have this exact problem, on an Android smartphone.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:28 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Showbiz_liz, the 'droid won't get texts? or others won't get yours? Love to know!

posted by Ironmouth at 12:32 PM on October 18, 2013

Are they using iMessages? It seems like it's a separate system that can send SMS messages, but generally operates differently from SMS texting, if I understand the discussion in that second link. The reason that direct texting on an iPhone is different from group messaging in iMessages is that iMessages is the only native way to group contacts on an iPhone, again if I understand the linked page correctly.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:36 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ironmouth: I often can't get other peoples' group texts. Instead I receive a blank text. I haven't actually investigated whether the texts I fail to get are originating from iPhones, but off the top of my head, all the ones I can think of did. My droid is ~3 years old.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:39 PM on October 18, 2013

iPhones send group messages as MMS if anyone in the group is not using iMessage. It is possible that MMS is not set up correctly on your phone. MMS is a separate service from SMS, which is what regular individual text messages are sent over. MMS is used for group texts and also texts with picture or video attachments. Are you able to get group or picture texts from anyone, not just those with iPhones?
posted by zsazsa at 12:47 PM on October 18, 2013

I have an iPhone, and I've been able to send group texts to groups that contained other iPhone users and non-iPhone users — for me it switches over to normal SMS/MMS mode in that case.

What happens if you send to the group? If they reply to that message, do you receive it? Their reply should automatically go to everyone in the group.

One possibility is that your number is somehow incorrectly associated with iMessage. When an iPhone user texts just you, does the button show up in blue (iMessage) or green (SMS/MMS)?
posted by Renegade Duck at 12:50 PM on October 18, 2013

Response by poster: Hi, I can get MMS and send pictures. It is set up correctly. I haven't tried a group text with people who don't own iPhones in a while. This is quite recent. I was able to do it in the past. One friend complained her iPhone did not get MMS from me, but I know I can send it to other people.

Renegade Duck,

If I send to the group, the iPhone users get the message, but any responses to me don't arrive. I don't know how it appears on their phones. I do know that non-group messages are getting through between me and the other band members, just not the group ones, which until 2 weeks ago, were working. A friend with an Android is also not getting some texts from one of the iPhone users.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:55 PM on October 18, 2013

Have you switched to your Blackberry from an iDevice? The way iMessage works, whenever any iPhone sends a message, Apple checks its own database for the phone number the message is going to. If it exists (which it would, if you previously had an iPhone) their devices forgo using SMS and send the message over mobile data. On their phones, this is differentiated by a blue message bubble for data, and green bubbles for SMS.

If you did have an iDevice, and presumably an Apple ID, you'll need to log into that and dissociate your phone number from iMessage so messages can be sent to you via SMS instead of being lost in the ether.

I believe you can do that at http://appleid.apple.com, but I'm not familiar with the specifics of removing your phone / phone number from there, as I don't have an Apple ID.
posted by brocrastinator at 1:15 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you can receive a regular message from an iPhone user, but not a group message, then the problem probably isn't having iMessage associated with your number incorrectly.

The fact that it started about 2 weeks ago suggests that it might be related to the iOS 7 upgrade. I haven't tried a group message since then, so I don't know if it still works (unfortunately, I can't check right now).
posted by Renegade Duck at 1:23 PM on October 18, 2013

I would ask if the message is blue or green when they send the group message. If it's blue, then the phone is probably sending an iMessage to you incorrectly (but presumably only in group mode). That would suggest an iOS 7 bug.
posted by Renegade Duck at 1:25 PM on October 18, 2013

Oh, it just occurred to me that I could check what color a group message is without sending it — the button is green for me in iOS 7. Of course, it could still be a bug in iOS 7.
posted by Renegade Duck at 1:28 PM on October 18, 2013

I have had persistent difficulties receiving ordinary SMS messages from iPhone users since iOS 7 was pushed out. My phone is mapped to a number that until recently was mapped to my old iPhone.

My understanding is that this is a known problem and that your contacts using "Reset Network Settings" on their iPhones, as is often suggested, does not actually fix the issue.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:47 PM on October 18, 2013

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