How to Force a Message to be sent as SMS on iPhone or iPad

iMessage is a great way to communicate without blowing your text quota. But there are times when it just won’t work. You see the “Sending…” text and the blue loader (line) trying to inch its way to completion but that never happens. Your message doesn’t get delivered at all.

These are times when you wish the message would just go. At least, as SMS. How do you force a message to be sent as SMS if it fails to deliver as iMessage? That’s what we’re looking at.

How to Force a Message to be sent as SMS (and not iMessage) on iPhone or iPad

Within the Messages settings, there’s an option called Send as SMS. When enabled, if your iPhone fails to send an iMessage, it will switch to SMS and send the message as normal text.

Step #1. Go to Settings and Tap on Messages.

Tap on Settings then Messages on iPhone or iPad

Step #2. Turn On the Switch next to “Send as SMS.”

Force a Message to be sent as SMS

There’s a big catch here which most of us don’t realize.

The Send as SMS triggers only when your iPhone is unable to connect to the iMessage server (possibly due to network issues at your end or server issues at Apple’s end).

Only under these two conditions, iMessage fails and sends the message as SMS instead. Automatically.

But if the recipient – who is usually on iMessage – has switched off iMessage or is out of network coverage that enables iMessage, the sending process hangs from your end.

This is because iMessage assumes to be working fine (which it is, from your end but not from the recipient’s end).

In that case, you have the option of force sending the message as SMS by doing this:

Step #1. Tap and hold on the message being sent.

Step #2. From the options menu that shows, tap on Send as Text Message.

Step #3. Your iMessage will now be sent as a text message. (carrier charges may apply if you are not on a text plan)

Incidentally, when the iMessage fails to send, it shows up as Not Delivered with a “!” sign. Tapping on that icon will also allow you to send the message as text.

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The founder of iGeeksBlog, Dhvanesh, is an Apple aficionado, who cannot stand even a slight innuendo about Apple products. He dons the cap of editor-in-chief to make sure that articles match the quality standard before they are published.