How To: Fix Delayed iMessages & Text Messages After Upgrading to iOS 7

Fix Delayed iMessages & Text Messages After Upgrading to iOS 7

If you're an iPhone user, iMessage is great for cutting down on SMS costs from your carrier, but it doesn't always work right away.

If there are no available Wi-Fi networks around to use, iMessage will attempt to send it over your cellular data, but if you're also in a bad service area or if Apple's servers are down, it will either wait to send it until it can, or just send it as an SMS instead.

In cases where you're in a bad service area, sometimes sending the text as a standard SMS to iMessage users is more reliable—depending on your carrier—and will get there in a more timely manner.

"Send as SMS" Is Automatically Turned Off After Updating to iOS 7

When you updated to iOS 7, Apple automatically disabled "Send as SMS" on your device—even if you had it turned on before.

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I've verified this on three separate devices so far, each of which had "Send as SMS" turned on before updating.

To Turn It Back On...

Simply go to your Settings, scroll down and click on Messaging, and then make sure Send as SMS is turned ON (i.e. shows a green label).

"Send as SMS" Only Applies to Apple Users

Now, this is only an issue in regards to sending text messages to other iDevice or Mac OS X Mountain Lion users who have iMessage enabled.

If you're sending a text to someone who has iMessage disabled or doesn't have any Apple devices, it will still automatically send as an SMS through your carrier's plan.

Why You Should Turn On "Send as SMS"

If you're sending a text to someone who has iMessage, and iMessage is down temporarily for some reason, sending it as an SMS could be faster, which is important if you need a quick answer on something.

Though, then the recipient would also have to have "Send as SMS" turned to make sure they give you a speedy response.

Further Issues

Some have reported that messages still hang and that they still don't send as SMS right away when iMessage fails, because it seems to take some time before iMessages realizes it can't send it. Eventually, they might not ever get delivered, or sometimes days later.

If That Didn't Work for You...

Then there's some serious problems with Apple's iMessage system. On Monday, September 30th, Apple acknowledged that 10% of users may have experienced delays or slowness when using iMessages, but I believe it's far worse than that and not limited to just one day.

If you're still experience problems, try restarting your device. That has worked for me on occasion, and something I have to do on a regular basis anyway to prevent my GPS from stalling. Some others have reported success with this, but if you haven't...

  1. Turn off iMessage (Settings -> Messages)
  2. Reset Networking Settings (Settings -> General -> Reset)
  3. Enable iMessage (Settings -> Messages)

This will cause your device to forget previously remembered Wi-Fi passwords, so you'll have to make sure to reenter them before trying iMessage again.

As a last resort, you can try restoring from a backup in iTunes.

UPDATE: Make Sure You Install iOS 7.0.3

Apple released a new iOS 7.0.3 update on October 22nd that supposedly fixes issues with delayed or unsent iMessages, so make sure you update to improve iMessage functionality. To update, just head to Settings -> General -> Software Update.

If you have questions, feel free to ask away below, and please report what did or didn't work for you.

More iOS 7 Tips!

There's a lot to learn about the new iOS 7 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, so make sure to visit our iOS 7 tips section to explore all of the new features and hidden tricks. Also make sure to check out the 15 most annoying things, 18 coolest new features, and 18 sneaky privacy-betraying settings in iOS 7 that every iPhone user should know about.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new emoji, enhanced security, podcast transcripts, Apple Cash virtual numbers, and other useful features. There are even new additions hidden within Safari. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.4 update.


I just received IOS 7 on my iPhone 4S and when I toggle on iMessages it just says "Waiting for Activation" ans I also have no toggle or option for SMS anymore. If I click on the "Use your Apple ID for iMessages" I put in my password and after 20 or so seconds it goes back to the waiting message :-(

I am having the same issue with my iPhone 5 that iMessage says "Waiting for Activation." I have turned it on and off and then on again and says "an error occurred during activation. Try again"

A lot of people are experiencing this issue. Could be an overload of Apple's systems, which again, would reinforce the importance of having "Send as SMS" checked (which would not show unless activation was successful, Kristi).

Anyways... I haven't experienced this activation issue personally, but some say the following worked for them...

  1. Just wait to try again
  2. Turning off iMessage, restarting the device, and turning it back on
  3. Restoring from a backup in iTunes
  4. Going to General -> Reset -> Reset all settings

Having the exact same issue. Apple told me to wait 24 hours from my last attempt to activate iMessage & Face Time. I will know more @ 8:00am CST tomorrow.

when I text on my iphone 4 (not an S) I have a huge delay with each key I type. I have activated my SMS button. Any ideas or can i go back an unistall the update. So frustrating!

I'm having a problem with my text message. When I turn my iMessage on, evreything works fine. I can send and receive texts with my friends and stuff. But when i turn off my iMessage, I can send texts to my friends who use iPhones also, but I can't receive the texts that they send me until I turn on my iMessage. This start to happen after i updated my phone to iOS7. Can somebody tell me what i have to do?

The downside to turning "send as SMS" on is if you are messaging friends internationally. If you have send as SMS turned on, you could end up paying a boatload for international text messages.

So if you regularly use iMessage to chat with friends in other countries, leave send as SMS turned off.

I have an iPhone 4S... i recently updated to iOS7 and since then when im away from wifi (i keep my cellular data off) i cant receive messages that are imessages, which would usually show up as a text messages (hope that makes sense) is there a way i can fix this? i tried turning on "send as sms" but it still hasnt helped

My iphone has the exact same problem as your iphone.
Did you ever get it resolved?

Omg that explains the issues I was having sending messages to my MIL who has an iphone. Super slow at sending messages...thanks for the article!

After upgrading to ios 7, there is no place to enable SMS. It doesn't exist on my ipad anymore. I can't turn it on or off because there is no place to do it. I followed the steps, but there is no SMS option. What do you suggest??? Please email me if possible.

I believe the SMS option is available only for iPhones.

I think we have a solution. Please try this at home.

I need some help please
Just updated my iPhone last night and got weird messages throughout the day about my husbands phone too but.....
When I send him a txt I get his reply plus my own reply and he is too
How can we get that too stop???

OK, so maybe I'll sound like an idiot after posting this, but I'm having a problem with a particular "part" of texting that just started. You know when you make a mistake and need to go back and correct it in a text? If you put your finger where you need to correct on the screen and the little magnifying glass thing pops up? Well, ever since my update to OS 7 (which I loathe, by the way) It freezes when I do that. I have tried turning my phone completely off multiple times, and also holding down the "home" and "sleep" buttons at the same time to re-set it. Again, multiple times. I'm getting sick of accidentally messing up one word or the auto correct 'correcting' it wrong and having my text take five minutes to send because I needed it to say "of" not "if". HELP!!!! I'm about ready to throw my phone out the window (because this is NOT the only problem I've had since OS 7) and although I've never dropped it before I'm about to start. Advice?!?!?!?!

Since updating to ios 7, I cannot send iMessages NOR SMS. When I'm away from home my internet isn't working either. Everything worked before updating ios. Just updated, again, to ios 7.0.3... Still the same problems. Any new solutions?

I have been recently been getting this same problem. I have tried everything but hasn't worked. Is there anything that can be done to fix this problem? I have updated to both iOS 7 and the 7.03.

Hi I have an iPhone 7. Before that a 4. My problem my texts are not being received by a colleague. She has an Android Samsung I think. No probs with texting anyone else. My original thought was that my number was blocked but I can ph her. Unless Samsung has the ability to block SMS. Any ideas please

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