Why is my iPhone not receiving iMessage texts anymore?

Have you stopped receiving texts on iMessage? The Messages app on your iPhone is something we take for granted but when it doesn’t work as expected, it really hurts. Unlike the regular SMS service we used before your grandma got a smartphone, Apple’s service mixes traditional SMS with iMessages. There are reasons why things can go wrong. Basically, your phone identifies is the person you are texting has an Apple device with iMessage and avoids using SMS.

This magical synchronisation happens behind the scenes. Even if this is perfectly obvious for you, there is a lot of people wondering why some texts are green and others blue. The blue blurbs on your Messages app are texts sent with the iMessage protocol while the green ones are regular SMS — that’s text messages to people using Android, Windows and any other mobile platform.

The iMessage protocol uses your internet connection to send and receive your messages. To use this service you will need to have access to a Wi-Fi network or a data plan on your cellular network. If you cannot use iMessage on your iOS device, the first thing to check is that you have internet access. See the icons on the top left corner of the display? Are you able to load this article on your iPhone? We are good to go.

Why is iMessage using my email?

The most common reason to mess up your Messages configuration is setting up a new device, getting your iPhone or iPad restored to factory settings or changing your mobile number. Even if you have had your number for years, changing providers, getting a replacement SIM or changing SIMs frequently can alter your setup inadvertently.

Let’s see how your iMessage service is registered now. Tap on Settings → scroll down to Messages and enable the first option iMessage. The switch should be green, if you where wondering. On that Messages menu, tap on the fifth option labelled ‘Send & Receive’. It is very likely you have already signed in with your Apple ID to use this iOS device. In that case your email address will appear here in blue. This is the same account you use for your iTunes and App Store purchases, for instance.

How to add my mobile number to iMessage?

Here comes the important bit: see the ’You can be reached by iMessage at’ option? You want to have at least your own mobile number, which appears with a + sign and your country code. Additionally, you can use iMessage with an email address, which is very convenient if you plan to use the service on multiple devices, such as an iPad or your Mac.

If you don’t see your own mobile number there that’s why iMessages is failing. Unfortunately there is no obvious way to add a new number as this is done automatically during your initial setup. If your mobile number is not recognised, these steps should trigger a new number verification. You will need to insert the SIM with the number you want to use. On the same menu Settings → Messages, switch off iMessage — the switch should be white. Return to the Settings menu and tap on FaceTime. Switch off FaceTime — first item on the list — ensuring the switch is white.

To trigger the iMessage verification you will need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network. Now that both iMessage and FaceTime have been disabled, restart your device. Return to the menu Settings → Messages and switch on iMessage. There will be a message saying ‘Waiting for activation…’ You should receive a notification asking you to verify your mobile number.

If this doesn’t happen automatically, try again toggling the Airplane mode function to force the iPhone to disconnect and connect to the network again. Depending on your carrier plan, you may be required to have sufficient credit (or the ability) to send an international text message. At the time of this writing the verification numbers used in Europe are UK and Ireland numbers.

Have these steps helped? Are you able to use Messages with SMS and iMessage? Let me know on Twitter @appfreak if you have found this article helpful.