Why would a bluetooth error cause problems with SMS and MMS?
January 7, 2019 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Seems odd, but have no other explanation, and have been unsuccessful with searching the interweb.. figured I'd ask the hive mind.

So - part 'public service announcement', part 'what the heck?' Recently converted to Android (OnePlus 6), using Textra as my SMS/MMS app. Was working fine for 3 weeks or so.

Then, over a few days, it became clear that there were significant delays in sending/receiving text messages - first randomly, then finally just nothing. Testing with multiple phones side by side, and using different SMS apps (including the native one), only mine was not sending/receiving.

Taking a break from testing, I decided to update my health stats, but my Garmin wouldn't synch, even though it was showing as connected in Bluetooth. So, I forgot the connection and re-established it. Suddenly the floodgates opened and all text messages went and received. Have had no problems since.

I found one thread where one person mentioned resetting their Bluetooth fixed the same problem. Can't find anything else on this, android forums or otherwise.

FWIW, AT&T, single SIM, had done all the normal reboot, cache clear, etc.

So - why would a messed up Bluetooth connection result in SMS/MMS problems? Feel free to roll your eyes at me if this is documented somewhere I missed.
posted by rich to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never had such problems with my oneplus phones. It may seem extreme but maybe do a factory reset?
posted by k8t at 5:21 AM on January 7

I'll note that I do not think it is related to it being a OnePlus (as the one other example I referenced was a Samsung in the provided link).

SMS is working again, after resolving the bluetooth connection problem..

question is more about why it would have happened in the first place (eg the wonky bluetooth connection causing the issues with SMS until fixing the bluetooth connection)
posted by rich at 5:36 AM on January 7

At a guess, your SMS app may be using the connectivity status API, which checks stuff like whether it's connected to the internet and whether the wifi or celllular radios are working, before the app goes off and tries to send or receive text messages. I think that the API might check all of the network capability of the phone, hence how a bluetooth error might cause the API call to take a long time to respond before the hardware eventually returns a timeout error.

TLDR: Your sms app probably asked Android whether the cellular radio was working, but android wasted a lot of time checking all the radios including bluetooth before finally getting around to your text messages.
posted by Eleven at 7:03 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

I have a OnePlus 6 that had a recent (two days ago) software update that included a phrase in the update notes, "Improved Bluetooth stability for better connectivity." Sounds like it could actually be the OnePlus. See when your latest system update is from. One was pushed out in the last week. It is a rolling implementation so you may not have gotten it yet. Also check the OnePlus forums.
posted by AugustWest at 7:17 AM on January 7

AugustWest - I ruled that out (and checked those forums and android forums first before coming here). I was have minor issues already before the update, so I updated. Issues continued to escalate until it was non-functioning after a day or so. Rebooting, etc didn't work. Problem existing before and after - it wasn't the update, and isn't limited to the OnePlus (as noted - I have a report of the same problem from a Samsung user).

There was some hints of Bluetooth connectivity issues during this time with other apps, like iGrill.

Eleven sounds to have a fairly reasonable explanation - though it would mean that every SMS app we tested with (3 or 4 including the stock google SMS app) all use the same connectivity status API.

Would be nice to have some sort of official verification of that.. but I suppose I'll go digging in that direction a bit more. Still would be happy to hear from someone definitively, and if there are any solutions other than removing/re-adding all the Bluetooth connections.
posted by rich at 10:12 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

though it would mean that every SMS app we tested with (3 or 4 including the stock google SMS app) all use the same connectivity status API.

In general, SMS apps in Android are just a fancy front end to the SMS-sending/handing/receiving/etc processes internal to Android. Outside of something like resizing images for MMS (which an app wouldn't handle itself), I would expect most SMS issues to occur across the board as you describe.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 11:40 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

That should say an app would itself handle things like image resizing for MMS.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:46 AM on January 8

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