What to do if your iPhone 11 cannot send SMS messages [Troubleshooting Guide]

Having trouble sending SMS messages on your iPhone 11? If that is so, then this post is for you. Read on to find out why your iPhone is unable to send texts or SMS messages and what to do in order to get things back up and working as intended.

fix iphone 11 that won't send texts or sms messages

Possible causes of SMS sending problems

There are many reasons as to why your iPhone is not sending text or SMS messages. If possible, try to know the possible causes. Doing so will help you obtain prompt solution. To give you some clue, I’ve enumerated the common triggers. And they are as follows:

  • Invalid/inactive recipient. If your iPhone won’t send SMS/text messages on to a certain contact number or recipient. It’s possible that the recipient’s contact details are no longer active and therefore invalid. The same if the recipient number you’ve entered is incorrect.
  • Airplane mode is activated. When enabled, all wireless features and relevant services on your iPhone are disabled. Thus, cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other relevant features won’t work. In this case, toggling the Airplane mode switch to the opposite direction is what you need to do in order to fix the problem.
  • Signal issues. Both incoming and outgoing SMS services won’t be available if your iPhone has poor cellular signal. If you’re using your iPhone in a different location and the signal is weak, you are likely to have trouble sending and receiving SMS messages.
  • Account-related issues. If you don’t have an active mobile service plan, you won’t be able to send text messages. The same thing can happen even if you’re account is subscribed to a limited texting plan but you’ve exceeded the monthly limit of text messages. In this case, contact your carrier to activate a new plan or purchase a bigger SMS messages allowance.
  • Random firmware issues. When your iPhone’s messaging app is glitching, SMS sending and receiving services will likely fail. The same thing can happen if your iPhone’s network system is flawed.

In some cases, the iPhone won’t be able to send SMS messages because the Send as SMS option isn’t turned on. You can find this option from Settings-> Messages menu and then toggle the switch next to Send as SMS to enable the feature.

Also note that longer text messages (usually over 160 characters) are billed as multiple SMS messages and thus better keep track on it, especially if you are subscribed to a limited texting plan.

Troubleshooting an iPhone that won’t send SMS messages

To rule out other software-related factors that might have hindered your iPhone 11 from sending text messages, you can use the given solutions below. Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that your iPhone is getting a stable cellular network signal. Also make sure that you have sufficient credits, especially if you are not subscribed to an unlimited messaging plan.

Don’t forget to create a sample text message to send after performing each solution to find out if the problem is solved. Also ensure that the contact number you entered as recipient is correct and active.


First solution: Quit the Messages app then restart your iPhone (soft reset).

The problem may be just due to some random in-app glitches that are usually remedied by restarting the application. Hence, you can start by force closing Messages and then restarting your iPhone. Here’s how to force close an app on your iPhone 11:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the Home screen and then pause slightly in the middle of the screen. Doing so will show the app cards or previews of the recently used apps.
  2. Swipe right or left to find the Messages app.
  3. Then swipe up on the app’s preview to close it.

Also consider clearing out any other running apps to prevent any of them from causing conflicts or interfering with Messages the next time you launch the app.

After clearing all background apps, restart your iPhone to dump all errant caches and to refresh system functions of your phone. Just follow these steps to proceed:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either of the Volume Button at the side of your phone for a few seconds.
  2. When the Slide to Power Off appears on your screen, release both buttons.
  3. Slide the Power off command to the right to turn off the phone.
  4. Wait for about 30 seconds then press and hold the Side Button until you see the Apple logo.


Second solution: Check and manage Airplane Mode settings on your iPhone 11.

In order to send and receive SMS and MMS, Airplane mode must be turned off. But if SMS messaging is still not working even with Airplane mode disabled, carrying out the Airplane mode trick may help. Here’s how it works:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the switch next to Airplane Mode to turn on. Doing so simultaneously disables the wireless radios and relevant features of your iPhone.
  4. While Airplane mode is turned on, restart or soft reset your iPhone to dump cache.
  5. After your phone reboots, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature OFF again.

Give your phone a few moments to re-establish cellular signal and when the signal gets stable retry creating a sample text message to send.

Third solution: Install any available software updates for your iPhone 11.

Installing updates can also be the key to resolving the issue if system errors and stubborn bugs are the underlying cause. If your iPhone has no problem connecting to the internet, you can directly check for updates through settings. Just follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. If an update is available, tap Download and Install then follow the onscreen prompts to update your device.

Also care to check if there are any available carrier settings update to download and install on your device. Carrier updates also integrate network patches that could address SMS and MMS problems on your device.

  • To check for carrier settings updates, simply go to your iPhone Settings-> General-> About menu and then scroll down to the Carrier section. You will see a notification if a new carrier update is up for grabs.

Don’t forget to restart your iPhone after installing software updates to ensure that all recent system changes are properly applied. It is also imperative to refresh your iPhone’s operating system and dump cache from its internal memory.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone 11.

Resorting to some resets may be necessary to eliminate invalid or incorrect configuration from the underlying cause. You then can start with a network settings reset. Doing so will erase all your current network settings and then restores the default network values and options. It doesn’t affect any saved information on your iPhone, so there’s no need to back up files. Just follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Then tap Reset network settings again to confirm that you want to reset your iPhone’s network settings to defaults.

Your phone will restart when the reset is finished and then loads up the default network preferences. This means the need for you to set up your Wi-Fi network as new to reconnect to Wi-Fi and get back online. Re-enable necessary features is also needed.

Fifth solution: Reset all settings on your iPhone 11.

To clear out errant system settings including the ones causing conflicts with the phone’s SMS messaging function, resetting all settings on your iPhone can help. This will erase all your current system settings and restore the default values without deleting your iPhone data. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset all settings.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Then tap Reset all settings again to confirm that you want to reset your iPhone’s system settings to defaults.

After the reset, you’ll need to re-enable the features that are disabled by default so you can use them again on your iPhone.

Last resort: Erase your iPhone and set up everything as new.

Carrying out a full system reset can be considered among the last options, if none of the previous methods is able to fix the problem. This reset will erase everything from  your iPhone system including any stubborn bugs and malwares that ruined the basic messaging functions of your device. Just be sure to back up all necessary files you’ve got from your iPhone storage beforehand. Once you’ve secured the backup, you can proceed with these steps to factory reset your iPhone 11 straight through its settings menu:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. Enter your device’s passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Tap the option to confirm factory reset on your iPhone.

Follow the rest of the onscreen prompts to finish wiping all data from your iPhone. When the reset is finished, your phone should reboot on its own and then loads up the factory default settings. By then you can proceed with the initial setup process and set everything on your device as new.


If the problem started after installing an iOS  update and performing a factory reset doesn’t fix it, you can try to restore your iPhone in iTunes via recovery mode or DFU mode. Doing so will let you fresh install the software on your device or restore it from a previous backup.


Still couldn’t send SMS messages on your iPhone 11?

Reinstalling the SIM card on your iPhone can also help. This is usually needed if your iPhone is showing no service or relevant errors. Just follow these steps:

  1. Turn off your iPhone completely.
  2. While your iPhone powered off, gently insert the SIM ejector tool into the small hole on the SIM card tray found on the side of your iPhone. If you don’t have the ejector, you can use a small paper clip instead.
  3. Slowly push the ejector tool until the tray ejects.
  4. Remove the SIM card from the tray and check for any possible signs of damage like scratches or dents.
  5. If everything looks good, insert the SIM card back into the tray in the same orientation before your took it out.
  6. Push the SIM tray back into the phone until it locks.

You can turn your iPhone back on afterwards.

To determine whether or not the problem is isolated to faulty SIM card in use, you can try inserting the SIM card to your other compatible device. If you can send SMS messages on your other device using the same SIM card, then the SIM card is good and the problem is more likely from within your iPhone system. If you cannot send SMS messages on your other device using the same SIM card, then the problem must be due to a faulty SIM card. In that case, a new SIM card replacement is what you need.

If you’ve tried everything but to no avail, contact your service provider/carrier to verify your account status and services. The type of message you are trying to send may not be supported. And should there be any issues with your account that needs to be settled like unpaid bills, then you better sort that out for your outgoing services to be reactivated. Carriers usually imposed a temporary disconnection to accounts with unsettled bills. When this happens, outgoing services are temporarily deactivated until the payment is made.

Other things that you should consider looking into are network outages that might have affected cellular services, particularly SMS.

For further suggestions and more advanced solutions, you can also escalate the problem to Apple Support.


ALSO READ: How to fix an Apple iPhone not receiving texts from Android

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