Troubleshooting text, picture and media messaging

Leveraging the power of the Bell LTE network, Advanced Messaging, only available on certain smartphones, builds on traditional text messaging (SMS) and picture/video messaging (MMS) by allowing more characters, higher quality pictures, longer videos, more file types and bigger group chats, as well as offering enhanced notifications (see if the other party is typing) and more.

Learn more about Advanced Messaging and see if you’re using advanced or standard messaging.

The following are common issues that can affect the ability to send or receive text messages. When you complete a solution, try using your messaging app to see if your problem is resolved. If you’re still having issues after trying all the troubleshooting below, please contact us

Use the basic messaging app

If you’re using apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, please try using the basic messaging app that comes with your phone.

If you’ve recently switched from an iPhone, deregister iMessage

If you previously had an iPhone and switched to a phone from a manufacturer other than Apple, your mobile phone number might still be registered with iMessage. Only Apple devices can send or receive iMessages.

To deregister your phone number from iMessage: 

  1. Visit the Deregister iMessage site.
  2. Follow the appropriate step-by-step instructions.

Check if you can make and receive phone calls

If you’re also unable to make calls, you may be out of the coverage area. Please search the problematic address using our coverage map and see if lack of coverage is the cause.

Make sure the number is not blocked

Check the call blocking list in your phone settings to make sure your contact’s phone number is not blocked. The following are common areas to check for a blocked number.

  • iOS: Settings > Messages > Blocked. Learn more
  • Android: Phone > Settings > Call > Call Rejection > Auto Reject List.
  • Other apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger): check for their block list ability. 

Reboot your phone

As with a desktop computer, turning the device off and on is often one of the first troubleshooting steps. In most cases, this soft reset won't affect data on the device unless the battery is very low.

  • iOS: Press and hold the Power button > Slide the power switch right. Allow several seconds for the device to power off.

Note: iPhone X requires you to press and hold Power and Volume Up to power off.
 

  • Android: Press and hold Power > Restart > Restart

Make sure the correct 10-digit mobile number or email address is entered

When sending a text/picture message, ensure you enter the correct address or number. If needed, enter the 10-digit mobile number manually rather than selecting a contact.

A mobile number does not include: 

  • Extra characters (e.g., dots (.), hyphens (-), etc.)
  • The number 1 (one) before the area code of the mobile number
  • Other codes (e.g., *67) before the area code of the mobile number

When travelling overseas, only 10 or 11 digits are necessary, except for India. While in India: 

  • Area codes starting with 9XX: Use 11 digits. 
  • Area codes starting with 91X.  Enter 001 before the 10-digit mobile number.

Add funds to your prepaid account

Prepaid (pay as you go) customers cannot send messages or use data if their account balance is $0 (or less). If you have a prepaid account, check that you have funds by dialling #321 from your mobile phone.

Send yourself a text message

Try sending a text message manually to yourself from the messaging app, and not from contacts. 

Note: If prompted to change SMS app, tap YES to confirm.

Verify the available memory space

Many services require free memory. If the memory is full, free some memory space and try again. You can remove unused items such as:

  • Apps
  • Music
  • Pictures or videos
  • Messages

Reset device network settings

If you can't connect to the Internet, or send or receive messages (email, text, picture or video), resetting the network settings may help. On iOS and Android devices, go to Settings > General > Reset network settings > Reset network settings.

IMPORTANT: The following will be cleared or restored to defaults:

  • Cellular and Wi-Fi network settings (including saved networks and passwords)
  • Bluetooth®

Install the latest device updates

Make sure your device has the latest software. Do the following to make sure your device is up to date.

  1. Confirm the software version on your phone.
  2. Visit bell.ca/softwareupdate and select your device to see what the current software version is for your phone.
  3. If your current software version does not match what is listed on our site, please follow the instructions to update the software on your phone.

Back up and reset your phone to factory defaults

The last thing you should try is to reset your phone to factory defaults.

Important: all of your media, data and settings will be erased. This action cannot be undone. If you have Dual SIM activated on your iPhone, your eSIM will be erased and you will need to replace it at a Bell store.

If the Device Protection feature is enabled, it will stay enabled. After the reset, you will need to enter your Google or Apple account password to use the phone again.

  1. Back up your phone using the suggested back up software from your manufacturer.
  2. Reset your phone to factory defaults.
    • iOS: Settings icon > General > Reset > Erase all contents and settings > Erase iPhone > Erase iPhone
    • Android:  Settings icon > General > Restart & reset > Factory data reset > Reset phone > OK > Delete all > reset

Apple offers troubleshooting articles to resolve many issues, including iMessage. Visit their iMessage troubleshooting for support.

International text messaging troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble sending or receiving text messages while travelling, check the following:

  1. Confirm that the issue didn’t occur prior to travel.
  2. Enable mobile data on your phone or connect it to Wi-Fi. It is common for iPhones and many messaging apps to send messages using data instead of simply as text.
  3. Use the correct international dialling patterns:
    • Enter + (plus sign) + country code + area code + phone number
  4. Check that Bell has an agreement with the international phone company. See a list of supported carriers.

Note: if these steps haven’t solved the problem, please contact us for assistance. We’ll need four examples, within the last 48 hours, from two different numbers including the date, time, number dialled and the other users’ carriers.

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