How to Make iPhone Messages Text Instead of iMessage

by Avery Martin
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The iMessage app provides a way to send encrypted messages to other iMessage users. Text messaging may incur additional per-text fees and doesn't use encryption, whereas iMessage uses cellular data to send messages. Sending messages solely over text requires you to completely disable your Wi-Fi and cellular data connection, or change a few settings within the Settings app. Although iMessage provides a simple, cost-effective way to send messages, sometimes it doesn't work as quickly or cleanly as a standard text message. You can either set the default setting to always use text-based messages or use a quick workaround to send a failed iMessage text using SMS.

Disable iMessage to Send as SMS

Step 1

Tap the Settings app.

Step 2

Select the "Messages" option.

Step 3

Set the "iMessage" toggle switch to the "Off" position.

Step 4

Set the "MMS Messaging" toggle switch to the "Off" position if you want to disable longer text messages, audio, photo and video capabilities as well.

Tap the Messages app and send your text message to a supported mobile phone.

Disable Wi-Fi and Cellular Data to Send as SMS

Step 1

Tap the Settings app and select the "Wi-Fi" option.

Step 2

Set the "Wi-Fi" toggle switch to the "Off" position.

Step 3

Tap the "Settings" button at the top of the screen to return to the Settings page.

Step 4

Choose the "General" option.

Step 5

Select "Cellular" from the list of options.

Step 6

Set the Cellular data toggle switch to the "Off" position.

Send your text message as normal. Provided you text to a phone that supports text messaging, the message gets sent as a SMS text.

Sending a Failed iMessage Text

Step 1

Tap the Messages app.

Step 2

Locate the text with the red alert button that indicates the iMessage didn't send correctly.

Step 3

Double-tap the failed message's bubble.

Select the "Send as Text Message" option.


  • Information in this article applies to iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.


Photo Credits

  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

About the Author

Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

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