I can't send or receive text messages (SMS/MMS)

If you can’t send or receive text messages (SMS/MMS), have problems with group messages, or can’t send or receive pictures and video, try the troubleshooting steps below. After each step, check to see if your issue has been fixed.

If you just transferred your number to Google Fi, there might be a 48h delay before you can send or receive text messages. Before you try these steps, check your porting status.

If you're using an iPhone, make sure you update your text settings.

1. Check your default messaging app

On Messages by Google

If your default messaging app is Messages by Google, make sure the Hangouts integration is turned off:

  1. On your phone, open the Hangouts app .
  2. In the upper left corner, tap Menu .
  3. Tap Settings .
  4. Select the Google Account you use with Google Fi.
  5. Under “Google Fi calls and SMS,” find the box next to “Messages.”
  6. Uncheck it if it has a checkmark, otherwise the Hangouts integration is already turned off.
  7. Check for Messages by Google app updates.

On Hangouts

If your default messaging app is Hangouts, we recommend switching to Messages by Google. To make Messages by Google the default messaging app:

  1. Open the Messages app Android Messages app. Learn where to find your apps.
  2. When prompted to change your default messaging app, follow the onscreen instructions. 

Tip: You can also change your default messaging app from your device’s Settings app. Learn how to set or clear default apps.

For more info, visit:

On third-party apps

Contact your app’s provider for help.

If you use Android and use any app other than Messages by Google to send and receive messages, download the most recent version of Messages and make it your default messaging app for best results.

2. Update your Google Fi app

In general, we recommend keeping all of your phone's apps up to date. Here's how you can update your Google Fi app:

  1. On your phone, open the Play Store app Google Play Store.
  2. In the top left, tap Menu Google Play Store Menu Icon  and thenMy Apps.
  3. Scroll through your installed apps and select Google Fi.
  4. At the top, tap Update. The button will say "Open" instead of "Update" if the app is already up to date.

3. Make sure you're using a valid phone number with the correct format

Here are some things you can try to see if there's a problem with the number you want to text:

  • Send a test message to a group of friends or family and ask them if it went through. 
  • For MMS, make sure the number you're texting is tied to a device that can receive group or multimedia messages.
  • If you're trying to text a shortcode number, try texting the word "HELP." If you get a message that says "Service access denied," contact a Google Fi agent for more help.

​Make sure the number you're trying to text is correct. If you’re having issues with texting, use the full 10- or 11-digit number. Try:

  • (area code) + (number)
  • 1+ (area code) + (number)

If you're texting an international number from the U.S.

  • Canada and U.S. Virgin Islands: Use 1 (area code) (local number).
  • To all other countries: Touch and hold 0 until you see + on the display, then use (country code) (area code) (local number). For example, if you’re texting a number in the U.K., dial + 44 (area code) (local number).

If you're outside the U.S. and texting international numbers or the U.S.

  • To text a number in the country you’re visiting: Use (area code) (local number).
  • To text another country: Touch and hold 0 until you see + on the display, then use (country code) (area code) (local number). For example, if you’re messaging a number in the U.K. from Japan, dial + 44 (area code) (local number).
    • If this number format doesn’t work, you can also try using the exit code of the country you are visiting. Use (exit code) (destination country code) (area code) (local number).
  • To text a number in the U.S.: Just use 1 (area code) (local number). 

4. Check if your contact is using an iPhone

If so, ask your contact to make sure the messages are sent as SMS/MMS.

5. If the signal icon on your phone has no bars or only one bar, check your coverage area

Check the coverage map for U.S. locations. If you’re using your phone outside the U.S., check the 170+ supported countries where you can use Google Fi.

If we have coverage in your location: Try going to another spot nearby where you have a signal. If you're inside a building or underground, try going outside. Buildings can sometimes block signals. If that doesn't work, continue on to the next steps.

If we don't have coverage in your location: Connect to Wi-Fi so you can try sending messages over Wi-Fi.

6. Restart your phone

Restarting your phone gives it a fresh start and is sometimes all you need to fix your issue. To restart your phone, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Power button until the menu pops up.
  2. Tap Power off, and your phone will turn off.
  3. Press and hold the Power button until your phone starts.

7. Talk to a Google Fi agent

If you've tried the steps above and are still having issues with group and multimedia messages, contact us for more information.
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue