What do the SMS statuses mean?

Every Twilio SMS has a Status value which describes the current state of the message. When sending SMS here is the typical sequence of Status values:

  • queued
    All new messages are created with a status of queued, indicating your request to send a message was successful and the message is queued to be sent out.
  • sending
    A short time later Twilio starts the process of dispatching your message to the nearest upstream carrier in the SMS network.
  • sent
    Once the nearest upstream carrier has accepted the message for delivery to the SMS network, the status is updated to sent

Although the above represents a common message flow, other Status values are possible:

  • failed
    The upstream provider did not accept the message for delivery, likely because the number is not capable of receiving SMS messages
  • received
    All inbound messages will have this status, indicating the message was received by one of your Twilio numbers.

If a message has a Status of sent or received, you will be charged for the message. If a message is failed, you will not be charged.

sent indicates that your message was successfully sent into the SMS network for delivery. However Twilio does not receive confirmation from the destination carrier that the message was received, and this is not a guarantee that the message has reached the intended device.

The documentation also provides a list of the possible values for the Status parameter.