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Does iMessage automatically switch to sms? Explained

Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Kennedy

Does imessage automatically switch to sms?

Why I’m sending sms text messages instead of iMessage to someone using an iPhone and iMessage. 

Using an iMessage to send a message on your iPhone, and suddenly it turns into an SMS text message, that can be quite confusing.

However, that shouldn’t bother you because there is a reason why such happened.

Right in this article, we’ll be looking at the question being asked on iMessage and which is;

Does iMessage automatically switch to SMS?

The answer is yes. iMessage will automatically switch to SMS if iMessage is unavailable on the recipient’s iPhone or even on the sender’s iPhone but only if send as SMS is enabled on the sender’s iPhone.

On iPhone, if you happen to enable send as SMS on your iPhone, it will send a message as an SMS text message when the recipient iMessage is not active or available. 

Below the sent message, you will see sent as text message instead of an iMessage.

In a situation whereby you didn’t enable send as SMS on your iPhone, iMessage will never switch to SMS text when unavailable on your iPhone.


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Now let me explain the work of send as SMS on iPhone and the reason why it turns iMessage into an SMS text message.

Understanding Send as SMS

Send as SMS on iPhone is an iPhone feature that was introduced in ios 11 to help send iMessages as SMS text messages whenever iMessage is unavailable.

This is very essential if you’re in need to have your messages get delivered to the recipient’s phone.

Now instead of waiting for iMessage to be available before the message will be delivered to the recipient, the message will be sent as an SMS text message.

Being sent as an SMS text message means that it will use the cellular network service to send the text message and this requires you to have a texting plan or airtime, an active sim card, and a cellular network service.

If you don’t have a texting plan on your iPhone or airtime, you won’t be able to send an SMS text message when iMessage is unavailable.

Send as SMS is very helpful especially when the recipient’s phone has no active internet connection.

However, it comes with a big disadvantage.

That is, not being able to know if the sent message was delivered to the recipient as an SMS green text message on iPhone doesn’t have a delivery report.

Also, the green text message on iPhone doesn’t have the read receipt and which makes it difficult to know if the sent text message has been read by the recipient.

Since ios 16 was released, you can now unsend and edit iMessages on iPhone or any other apple device that supports iMessage. However, that is not possible on SMS green text messages on iPhone as you can’t unsend and edit the green text message on iPhone even if your iPhone is running on the ios  16 updates.


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How to enable send as SMS on iPhone

To enable send as SMS on iPhone, get started by opening the settings app on your iPhone. Scroll down to messages and open it

Right in the messages settings, scroll down a bit and you will see Send as SMS when iMessage is unavailable. Network provider messaging rates may apply as shown in the below picture.

does imessage automatically switch to sms

Once you have send as sms when imessage is unavailable enabled on your iPhone, you will be able to send sms text messages if iMessage is unavailable on the recipient phone. 

But make sure to have all the necessary requirements ready and this includes;

  • A texting plan or an airtime
  • A valid sim card 
  • Your phone 
  • Cellular network service 

These are the requirements to send sms text messages on any given phone be it iPhone or an android. 

In a situation whereby you don’t fancy sending green text message especially if the message has an attachment or you want to send pictures, videos, gifs, documents, etc to someone on iMessage, sms text message won’t be able to send such attachments. 

So you go ahead and disable send as sms on your iPhone and it will prevent you from sending green text messages to someone using an iPhone or iMessage. 

Why would iMessage switch to SMS?

iMessage switches to sms only when iMessage is unavailable due to no internet connectivity on the recipient’s iPhone or the sender’s iPhone. 

Like I said before, this will only happen if send as sms is enabled on your iPhone. 

iMessage sending as sms is quite different from sending sms green text messages to someone not using iMessage like android phone users. 

If you send an iMessage to another iPhone user and it automatically switches over to sms text message and has the text sent to the recipient, below the sent message you will see Sent as text message. 

Now if you happen to send a green text message to someone not using iPhone or iMessage, the text message will be green in color but it will not show Sent as text message below the sent message. 

This is the difference between sending text messages to someone using an iPhone and iMessage, and someone not using an iMessage. 

Does iMessage use SMS or MMS?

iMessage does not use sms or mms but instead uses VoIP. This will internet to send and receive messages on any given aple device that supports the use of the iMessage. 

As iMessage is an instant messaging service, it can send any type of files from one user to another irrespective of the location or the distance. 

That is to say you can send an attachment via iMessage all the way from United States to someone living in the UK. 

However, this is not possible if you’re using sms or even mms to send attachments to someone in another location or country. 

Using mms to send a picture or short video clips is worthless as we have instant messaging apps that will perfectly do the job and the likes of iMessage doesn’t compress photos or reduce photo quality. 

Even if you send a 4k video, iMessage will not compress the video though the maximum file limit is 100mb as the time of writing this post.

How do I make my iPhone default to SMS?

To make your iPhone default to SMS, you simply have to disable iMessage and you will be left with just sms text message as the only means of sending and receiving messages on your iPhone.

To disable iMessage on your iPhone, open the settings app and scroll down to Message

Open Messages and right on the next screen you will iMessage as shown in the picture below. 

iMessage

Make sure to turn off the iMessage button and you’re good to go.

As long as iMessage is disabled on your iPhone, you will no longer send and receive iMessages on your iPhone but rather you will only send and receive sms text messages.

What happens if I turn off SMS on iPhone?

If you turn off send as sms on your iPhone, you will no longer be able to send sms text messages to someone using an iPhone and iMessage if iMessage is unavailable. 

As send as sms feature only help to send sms text messages when iMessage is unavailable to those using iMessage or probably an iPhone, if you have the feature turned off then it simply means that you will no longer be able to send sms text messages to a fellow iPhone and iMessage user.

And this i come to the conclusion on the question of the day, does imessage automatically switch to sms text message on iPhone. Once again the answer is yes but only if send as sms is enabled on an iPhone, and iMessage is unavailable on the recipient’s iPhone or on the sender’s iPhone