Troubleshooting GSM Picture & Video (MMS) Messaging

If you're having trouble sending or receiving picture and video (MMS) messages, here are a few quick and easy troubleshooting tips that might get you up and running.

Remember, these tips apply to MMS messaging, not regular text (SMS) messaging.

1. Confirm that your phone number is active.

If you're able to make calls and send/receive texts, then it's probably a good indicator that your phone number is active.

To confirm this, click on Device settings page in your account and check that the Status of your device is listed as "active".

If your number is suspended or still porting, these statuses will show up here and you will not have data service.


2. Check that data is available in your area

MMS messaging requires a data connection, so you'll want to make sure you're in an area with data coverage. If you're roaming, data won't be available. To make sure that data is available where you are, plug your address into our GSM map and check your data coverage.

An area with no coverage will show up in white.


3. Confirm that data is enabled on your account.

To confirm that data is enabled on your account, go to the device settings page for your phone and make sure that "Can use data" is "Enabled".

If there is no edit icon at the top of the Megabytes section (i.e. you can't update your data settings) then the number is not active.


4. Confirm that data is enabled on your phone.

If you've got a feature phone, you can check that data is set to "on" here:

Settings > Others > Data (or Data Settings) > Data

If you've got an Android, iPhone or Windows phone, confirm that data is enabled on your phone as per the images below. To find the data setting on your phone, the pathways below will work in most cases:

  • Android:  Settings > More > Mobile networks >  Mobile Data (in the image below it's called "Data connection")
  • iOS:  Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data
  • Windows:  Settings > Cellular + SIM > Data connection
  • BlackBerry:  Settings > Network and Connections > Mobile Network > Mobile Network & Data Services

5. Check what kind of data your phone is trying to access.

It is possible that the network mode on your phone is on a setting that won't allow it to pick up data.

If your device has an "Automatic" mode that allows it to move between data settings depending on what's available, then set it to that. If not, try different settings to see which works best in a given area. 

6. Make sure the image isn't too large.

Most U.S. carriers can handle an image/attachment size up to 1MB, with the exception of AT&T; attachments on messages sent to AT&T customers can only be 450KB.

7. Make sure you're entering a 10-digit phone number when sending an MMS message.

If you're trying to send MMS messages using seven-digit phone numbers and they're not going through, try sending the messages again using 10 or 11 digits (for 11-digit dialing, add 1 at the beginning of the 10-digit phone number). If the message goes through delete the stored contact in your phone and re-add it with the 10- or 11-digit number--whichever one allowed the text to go through successfully.  

If other people are trying to MMS messages you using only seven digits, ask them to try again with 10 or 11 digits.

If you're choosing a contact already entered in your phone's address book, confirm that the contact is entered with the 10- or 11-digit phone number.

8. Confirm the country code for international messages.

If you're sending an MMS message internationally make sure you're entering the country code correctly. A quick online search will help you find the correct country code.

9. Delete and re-enter your contact.

If you're having trouble sending MMS messages to one specific contact, try deleting that contact and re-entering it. Make sure to re-enter it with the 10- or 11-digit phone number.

10. Check your MMS APN settings.

If the MMS APN settings are not properly configured on your phone you may not be able to use MMS messaging. To check if you have the right APN settings, click here and then choose your device from the list.

For iPhones running iOS 10 or later, you may not be able to access the APN settings. This is ok, it just means that they are definitely correct as they were automatically programmed.

11. Power cycle or soft reset your phone and remove the SIM card.

Shut your phone down by holding and pressing the power button on a smartphone, or the Call End button on a feature phone. If you have a removable battery, remove it and the SIM card for about 30 seconds after you've shut the phone down. If your battery is not removable then just remove the SIM card. Then reinsert the battery and SIM card and power the phone back up.

Get in touch.

If none of these tips have gotten you up and running, then it's time to get in touch so we can help. Please be sure to let us know what you've done already so we know where to pick up.

A Note About Messaging Apps and Group Messaging on iOS Devices

Messaging Apps

If you're using messaging apps that can work over data OR Wi-Fi, such as WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, or iMessaging, some of these tips will still be useful to you. Keep in mind though, that if you have a working data or Wi-Fi connection, you will likely need to do further, app-specific, troubleshooting to resolve any issues.

Group Messaging on iOS 9 or older

Picture, video, and group messaging (or MMS messaging) will all work on iOS devices on the GSM network, however, it will be limited in the following ways:

  • Picture, video and group messaging cannot be enabled or disabled through the control panel.
  • MMS or group messaging settings may not show up on your device and can't be updated or changed.
  • Group MMS messages may be received as SMS messages.
  • Group messages sent to both Android and iOS devices will show up on as individual messages for all recipients and responses will come back in separate message threads.

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