Every time Apple launches a major iOS or Mac OS X revision there are some gremlins in the works. iOS 7 is no exception and this year we've heard many reported issues with the operating system, in particular a number of people are discovering that their iMessages are not being sent.
Sometimes it’s a problem with the new software, occasionally it’s a problem at Apple’s back-end server, and with millions of updates taking place at the same time it’s sometimes just a congregation of people suffering similar installation problems.
Macworld readers are reporting problems with Messages, Apple’s iOS internet messaging service. If you’re having trouble with Messages for iOS then there are a number of different things you can try. Here we outline some quick fixes for common Messages problems:
1. My iMessages are not sending
Apple is working on a fix for a bug that means some iMessages are not being sent.
In iOS 7 it appears that some iMessage are not being sent, according to Apple this is only affecting a small percentage of users, but since it is affecting us we imagine that we are either very unlucky, or more people are affected than Apple realises.
Apple told us: "We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update."
Apple continued: "In the meantime, we encourage any users having problems to reference our troubleshooting documents or contact AppleCare to help resolve their issue. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes impacted users.”
When confronted by the issue we have been switching to send by Text message. To do so tap and hold the exclamation mark (!) indicating that the message was not delivered, and select Send as Text Message from the options.
You will usually be alerted to the fact that the message hasn't been sent within 5 minutes, but it's easy to miss this alert, and there is no indication our Messages view now that some iMessages haven't been sent, the only way to tell is to open up messages you have sent to your friends.
2. I am getting the wrong names in Messages
If you are seeing short names, or nicknames instead of full names this is due to a new setting in iOS 7. Follow these steps to get things back to normal: Tap Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Short Name and tap Prefer Nicknames to switch it off.
3. Group messaging no longer works
If you’re having trouble sending messages to groups of people you can try performing the following steps:
Start a new group message rather than continuing an old one. See if this fixes the problem.
Reset the network. Tap Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. See if this fixes the problem.
Backup and Restore.
Back up the Phone: Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and Back Up Now. (If you don’t already back up to iCloud you will need to tap iCloud Backup to turn it on first).
Erase the iPhone. Go Go to Settings > General > Erase All Content and Settings.
Restore your backup.
4. iMessage is greyed out
Some users have reported a problem with iMessage being grayed out. One tip is to reset Messages. Follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Tap each email address to remove it.
- Go back one screen and tap iMessage to turn it off.
- Go back again and tap FaceTime. Deselect all FaceTime emails and tap FaceTime to turn it off
Wait five minutes.
Turn iMessage and FaceTime back on with no email address selected. It should just have your mobile number ticked. Use this from now on.
5. iMessage is displaying the email address instead of my number
This is another change in iOS 7 that isn’t technically a bug, but a different default setting. It’s easy to fix:
- Tap Settings > Messages > Send & Receive > Apple ID (your email address) > Sign Out.
iMessage should now display your phone number instead of your email address. Note that people will only be able to contact you on iMessage using your phone number, not your email address.
6. The other person isn’t getting my Message in iOS 7?
If you keep getting Not Delivered reports in iOS 7 when you try to send a message this could be because the other person isn’t using iMessages, but iOS isn’t automatically switching to SMS.
Tap Settings > Messages and Send as SMS to turn it on. This should ensure that if iMessage isn’t working at the other person’s end then they should still get the message.
Test this by tapping Settings > Messages and turning off iMessage and sending a message to the person. This should force it to go by SMS (regular text message).
Hopefully these quick fixes will sort out some of your iMessage problems. Let us know if you have any other problems in the comments (or email us) and we will look for fixes to them.
7. My old messages disappeared when I upgraded to iOS 7
A friend updated to iOS 7 but discovered that it deleted all her text messages, including the ones from her granny who died recently. They wondered if there is a way to get them back.
We asked whether they had run out of space during the update, as it seemed that the phone had returned to factory settings during the update process, rather than recovering everything. If there wasn't enough space to perform the upgrade, the iPhone might not completely restore from the back up.
They insisted that they had deleted music to make space for the update, so it seems that this wasn't what had happened.
They noted that the iMessages had been recovered, while it was the text messages that had disappeared. Unfortunately text messages aren't transferrable in the same way as iMessages as these are not tied to your Apple ID in the same way. However, they still shouldn't have disappeared.
The problem is that when you sync your iPhone with iTunes or iCloud it syncs your music, photos and apps, however your text messages are not synced in the same way they are saved as part of your iPhone's back up, so there is no obvious way to recover them.
You may, if you are very lucky, be able to get them back if you restore from a previous back up.
In iTunes find your iPhone under devices in the list in the sidebar (it there is no sidebar, go to View > Show Sidebar.
Select your iPhone and then view the Summary Page. Here's where you may be able to locate an older backup from which to restore your iPhone, depending on how good you are at making backups in the first place.
Click Restore Backup and cross your fingers.
If you never made a backup you cannot restore your old messages back to your iPhone, although you could try and use a program such as iTunes Backup Extractor – it's PC only though and we haven't tested it.
We're investigating this further and will update you as soon as we have an answer.
Initial report by Mark Hattersley