Getting SMS messages but not MMS

SlickRCBD

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My mother is having trouble with not getting some messages from certain people. I suspect the problem is that she's not getting MMS messages unless cellular data is turned on, and it is kept turned off for very good reasons.
She is using an iPhone 7.
I own an Android phone, so I don't know as much about the iPhone as I should to give proper support.

First, I'll state that she is not very computer literate and that is the reason _I_ am making this post, since she asks me for help as I have a degree in Computer Information Systems.

Second, she has a crappy data plan, and the news app, along with other things like automatic polling of the e-mail tends to eat up her 1gb/month plan. Plus, she's not literate enough to be mindful of it she's connected to wifi or not despite my best efforts to train her with the results being she follows a link in her e-mail to YouTube and then gets an overage fee at the end of the month.
So I finally gave up trying to teach her to be mindful of the wifi and told her to keep cellular data turned off unless she is out somewhere where she REALLY needs to get on the internet or is trying to use the navigation app, and only turn it on when she needs it.

Now she's having issues with MMS messages not being delivered unless she manually turns on cellular data, but she doesn't know to look because the messages aren't going through.
This confuses me, because I can send and receive MMS messages just fine on my Samsung Galaxy S105G with mobile data turned off, and had no such issues with my obsolete Galaxy S9 (it's not REALLY 4G, so I stopped being able to make calls or send texts last summer because it doesn't support VoLTE) or that phone's predecessor, an HTC One X+.

I have just spent an hour playing with both phones, and found that turning on cellular data will deliver the messages I sent, but she needs to manually resend any MMS messages.
Is there any way to either allow MMS messages to go through will still preventing apps from wasting her limited bandwith, and allowing her to EASILY with a single swipe or button press re-enable it when she needs GPS or to check her mail or look something up the way pressing the "cellular data' button does?
Even if the pics can't be delivered, a notification that something needs to be checked would help.

I'm trying to figure out how to solve the problem without her having to keep cellular data on 24/7. It's turned off for a reason.
It also can't be anything complicated, she has a hard enough time remembering how to turn cellular data on and off.
I may be extremely adept with electrics, but she barely knows how to use her computer or smart phone, and gets confused easily.

So, any suggestions on this problem?
 

EdwinG

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According to Apple’s documentation, you need to to have either cellular data or Wi-Fi calling enabled to send MMS messages.

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT204065

This does make sense, since the phone communicates with a carrier’s server called “MMS Gateway”.
You might want to check with the carrier if they have a plan option called “Block Data”.
 

SlickRCBD

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I won't have access to mom's iPhone until later this afternoon, but I can confirm that the entire time I was playing around with it, it was connected to Wifi.
I'll look into wifi calling, does that have any connection to VoLTE or is it something else that might not be supported by Consumer Cellular?

Also will it default to wifi calling or default to acting as if wifi calling were off? I'm just wondering what the consequences of turning it on would be as ideally it would do nothing but allow her to get MMS messages without wasting mobile data.

P.S. any idea why I couldn't reply on this forum in Firefox or Chrome and had to actually use Edge (on Win10)? The reply box did not appear, even when I disabled uBlock Origin and reloaded the page.
 

Up_And_Away

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>>This confuses me, because I can send and receive MMS messages just fine on my Samsung Galaxy S105G with mobile data turned off, and had no such issues with my obsolete Galaxy S9<<

No offense but pretty much no. From the Android Guy regarding a Samsung Galaxy:
“When it comes to sending and receiving MMS or picture messages, it is required that your phone is connected to the cellular or mobile data.”
You were likely confusing MMS for an ip based messaging app (which may or may not have been using the MMS protocol.

-iPhone uses Messages (aka IMessage) to text between iPhones based on IP
-Androids on the somewhat more modern Android OS uses Messages between them based on IP.
-MMS & SMS are largely carrier based protocols to get messages over Cellular data to either OS platform or other platforms.
-Using a third party app such as Telegram or FB messenger makes it platform agnostic.
-No amount of Google holding it’s breath until blue in the face or fake bullying media stories will make Apple care what Android thinks of imessage (Apple largely doesn’t care what Google Android does, that’s just the old hard reality. I think it’s hilarious too). To further that and for anyone wondering, here’s the CEO of Apple in Sept of 2022:

“Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said at Vox Media's Code Conference that he doesn't "hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy on that (Android messager) at this point," and if you want seamless messaging with your family, you should "buy your mom an iPhone." (in other words no matter how hard Google tries, he doesn’t really care. Funny).

Go all IPhone or go all Android or turn on Cellular data or use a third party os agnostic messenger. Those are your choices. BOL
 

Mars20

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I won't have access to mom's iPhone until later this afternoon, but I can confirm that the entire time I was playing around with it, it was connected to Wifi.
I'll look into wifi calling, does that have any connection to VoLTE or is it something else that might not be supported by Consumer Cellular?

Also will it default to wifi calling or default to acting as if wifi calling were off? I'm just wondering what the consequences of turning it on would be as ideally it would do nothing but allow her to get MMS messages without wasting mobile data.

P.S. any idea why I couldn't reply on this forum in Firefox or Chrome and had to actually use Edge (on Win10)? The reply box did not appear, even when I disabled uBlock Origin and reloaded the page.

i know you are reluctant to have Mobile Data switched on all the time (essential for some SMS and MMS), but are you aware that you can control which Apps use Mobile Data in Settings? You could exclude any that you do not want access or that use a lot of data.
 

SlickRCBD

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i know you are reluctant to have Mobile Data switched on all the time (essential for some SMS and MMS), but are you aware that you can control which Apps use Mobile Data in Settings? You could exclude any that you do not want access or that use a lot of data.

The problem is that mom forgets to check if she's connected to wifi, so will wind up draining it herself with Safari.
Also she MIGHT need to check e-mail when wifi is unavailable, and if _I_ block it from using mobile data, SHE won't be able to remember how to fix that.
I did say she's not very computer literate, and that applies to the phones. She doesn't want to learn either, and I've even given her the "iPhone 7 for dummies" book after I found it for a buck at the library book sale (I think the 9 or 10 was out by then).

This is also a bit of the blind leading the blind because I don't own an iPhone myself.

As for the person asking if I'm confused? No, I use the "messages" app, and it goes to her messages app. I also had to manually setup my phone when I first got it and had some minor difficulty with MMS messages myself due to a typo when setting up the APN settings.
When I send the messages, my phone has bars to the network, but the icon for "mobile data" is not lit up in the quick settings I get when swiping down, and if I go into the settings under "mobile data" the slider is turned off.
I can make calls, but not connect to the internet (unless Wifi is turned on and connected). SMS messages work fine, as do MSM messages.
This is unlike her phone, where even if Wifi is turned on and connected, MMS messages do not go through unless cellular data is turned on, but SMS messages DO go through. You can still make and receive calls.
I tested all of this after having dinner with her last night, now I should be trying to get back to sleep. Sorry if I'm not as well written as normal, it's quarter to 3 and I can't get back to sleep.
 

Mars20

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The problem is that mom forgets to check if she's connected to wifi, so will wind up draining it herself with Safari.
Also she MIGHT need to check e-mail when wifi is unavailable, and if _I_ block it from using mobile data, SHE won't be able to remember how to fix that.
I did say she's not very computer literate, and that applies to the phones. She doesn't want to learn either, and I've even given her the "iPhone 7 for dummies" book after I found it for a buck at the library book sale (I think the 9 or 10 was out by then).

This is also a bit of the blind leading the blind because I don't own an iPhone myself.

As for the person asking if I'm confused? No, I use the "messages" app, and it goes to her messages app. I also had to manually setup my phone when I first got it and had some minor difficulty with MMS messages myself due to a typo when setting up the APN settings.
When I send the messages, my phone has bars to the network, but the icon for "mobile data" is not lit up in the quick settings I get when swiping down, and if I go into the settings under "mobile data" the slider is turned off.
I can make calls, but not connect to the internet (unless Wifi is turned on and connected). SMS messages work fine, as do MSM messages.
This is unlike her phone, where even if Wifi is turned on and connected, MMS messages do not go through unless cellular data is turned on, but SMS messages DO go through. You can still make and receive calls.
I tested all of this after having dinner with her last night, now I should be trying to get back to sleep. Sorry if I'm not as well written as normal, it's quarter to 3 and I can't get back to sleep.

You could block Safari from using Mobile Data, but keep Mail and Messages on.
 

EdwinG

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I won't have access to mom's iPhone until later this afternoon, but I can confirm that the entire time I was playing around with it, it was connected to Wifi.
I'll look into wifi calling, does that have any connection to VoLTE or is it something else that might not be supported by Consumer Cellular?
I have never heard of Consumer Cellular, so I cannot say what they do or do not support.

Wi-Fi Calling, or VoWiFi, uses the same servers as VoLTE. The difference is that it uses IPSec, or something akin to it, to tunnel back to the carrier.

It’s a feature that needs to be enabled manually. It is not enabled by default, because it disables emergency service geolocation (while on VoWiFi).

Also will it default to wifi calling or default to acting as if wifi calling were off? I'm just wondering what the consequences of turning it on would be as ideally it would do nothing but allow her to get MMS messages without wasting mobile data.
It depends on the carrier. On TELUS, whether the phone relies on VoWiFi or VoLTE depends on perceived signal strength.

Regardless of carrier, when active (Wi-Fi mentioned in the carrier name), it routes all mobile traffic over WiFi, allowing me to have calls, SMS or MMS messages when there is little to no signal (as long as I’m connected to WiFi in an authorized country, specifically Canada). It is billed as if it were connected to a normal mobile service for calls, SMS and MMS messages.

P.S. any idea why I couldn't reply on this forum in Firefox or Chrome and had to actually use Edge (on Win10)? The reply box did not appear, even when I disabled uBlock Origin and reloaded the page.
It should work. I used Edge on Windows 11 no later than last Wednesday.
 
Last edited:

Mr.Willie

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Apr 17, 2013
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My mother is having trouble with not getting some messages from certain people. I suspect the problem is that she's not getting MMS messages unless cellular data is turned on, and it is kept turned off for very good reasons.
She is using an iPhone 7.
I own an Android phone, so I don't know as much about the iPhone as I should to give proper support.

First, I'll state that she is not very computer literate and that is the reason _I_ am making this post, since she asks me for help as I have a degree in Computer Information Systems.

Second, she has a crappy data plan, and the news app, along with other things like automatic polling of the e-mail tends to eat up her 1gb/month plan. Plus, she's not literate enough to be mindful of it she's connected to wifi or not despite my best efforts to train her with the results being she follows a link in her e-mail to YouTube and then gets an overage fee at the end of the month.
So I finally gave up trying to teach her to be mindful of the wifi and told her to keep cellular data turned off unless she is out somewhere where she REALLY needs to get on the internet or is trying to use the navigation app, and only turn it on when she needs it.

Now she's having issues with MMS messages not being delivered unless she manually turns on cellular data, but she doesn't know to look because the messages aren't going through.
This confuses me, because I can send and receive MMS messages just fine on my Samsung Galaxy S105G with mobile data turned off, and had no such issues with my obsolete Galaxy S9 (it's not REALLY 4G, so I stopped being able to make calls or send texts last summer because it doesn't support VoLTE) or that phone's predecessor, an HTC One X+.

I have just spent an hour playing with both phones, and found that turning on cellular data will deliver the messages I sent, but she needs to manually resend any MMS messages.
Is there any way to either allow MMS messages to go through will still preventing apps from wasting her limited bandwith, and allowing her to EASILY with a single swipe or button press re-enable it when she needs GPS or to check her mail or look something up the way pressing the "cellular data' button does?
Even if the pics can't be delivered, a notification that something needs to be checked would help.

I'm trying to figure out how to solve the problem without her having to keep cellular data on 24/7. It's turned off for a reason.
It also can't be anything complicated, she has a hard enough time remembering how to turn cellular data on and off.
I may be extremely adept with electrics, but she barely knows how to use her computer or smart phone, and gets confused easily.

So, any suggestions on this problem?

1) Consumer Cellular’s 5 gig plan is a whole $5 a month more.
2) You have a CS degree, you are making some good scratch, spend $32 a month and get her an iPhone 14
3) Spend more time with her. She’s smarter than you think. That’s mainly what she is looking for.
4) I convinced both my 80+ mother and 80+ mother-in-law to stop clicking links in emails, you can do it too.
5) Ask her for her log credentials on CS website so you can monitor her usage. (To really be nice, pay the $25 for her service)
6) Click on Settings, Cellular, scroll down and you will see what apps have access to cellular, and how much data they are using. Turn off
unnecessary high usage applications.

But seriously, it looks like most of your troubles can be solved for a measly $5 a month.
 

Trees

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Building on the suggestions above, Consumer Cellular has an Unlimited Data plan (including talk/text) for $50 a month. If budget allows, that might also be an option.
 

SlickRCBD

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I apologize, but my mother kept procrastinating on "playing" with the phone. I just tried to use wifi calling.
I tried turning on Wifi calling but it had no effect. No messages with pictures I sent were received while cellular data was turned off, and she couldn't send anything with pictures to my phone.
When I turned cellular data on using her phone, the messages with pics I tried to send appeared within 30 seconds. Hers however I had to click the "try again" button to send them.



As for suggestions on spending money, I've only had temp jobs and irregular income since COVID, I'm getting frustrated as it seems employers are looking at the fact that I've only had short-term temp jobs as "showing instability" and a reason not to be hiring me as only the ones offering temp jobs or supposedly temp-to-hire respond, the ones with permanent jobs that pay more than minimum wage or $1 above Cook County's minimum wage don't respond, although AT&T has twice offered to recruit me to their call center for Cook County's minimum wage as a permanent employee. They seem to be having high turnover for a position requiring an associates degree (I upgraded to a B.S. in 2011) that pays just above minimum wage.
I'm sick of a lack of a good paying job and steady income. I'm between temp jobs again and looking, and not spending ANY money that isn't absolutely necessary. Sorry, but I can't afford anything until I get a steady job.
 

EdwinG

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I apologize, but my mother kept procrastinating on "playing" with the phone. I just tried to use wifi calling.
I tried turning on Wifi calling but it had no effect. No messages with pictures I sent were received while cellular data was turned off, and she couldn't send anything with pictures to my phone.
When I turned cellular data on using her phone, the messages with pics I tried to send appeared within 30 seconds. Hers however I had to click the "try again" button to send them.

Have you tried putting the phone into Airplane Mode? That could force it to go into VoWiFi mode; you can see it in the carrier's name when it is VoWiFi versus regular mobile network - it appends "Wi-Fi" to the name.

See this screenshot from my phone (taken just now for this post) where you can see that the phone is in Airplane mode, but it is connected to the VoWiFi service.
Screenshot 2023-02-22 at 22.36.35.png.png
 

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