How to send Messages as SMS on iPhones

Backup photos

iPhone users with good data contracts and/or excellent network coverage may never need to worry about it, but if you’ve reached the end of your data or your network access is patchy, then you may need to know how to send a Message as an SMS.

Here’s how it’s done

One symptom of sketchy network coverage is when you try to send a Message and end up watching the send bar sit static until you get into an area with a better mobile signal (or Wi-Fi connection). The thing is, SMS was built to deliver messages over limited carrier bandwidth, and that’s why you should be able to send text messages even when you are in an area with poor reception. This is especially useful if you’re trying to maintain contact at a crowded public event when bandwidth usually becomes constrained.

Do this first

  • Open Settings>Messages
  • Ensure the Send as SMS switch is set to on (Green).

In future, your messages to be sent as SMS when iMessage is unavailable.

Then you can do this

Now you’ve set this up you can write messages in the normal way and then tap ‘Send’. You’ll find they don’t send (because you have no data/coverage) and a red warning symbol will appear beside that message. To send it as an SMS, tap the warning sign and then choose Send as Text Message in the next screen.

NB: Here’s a handy link to a useful Apple Support piece on this.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.