Why Is MMS Not Working on Android? 6 Ways to Fix the Problem

January 09, 2023
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Trouble downloading MMS messages on your Android phone? Or are you trying to send an MMS message, but it’s not working? Here are some ways to fix the issue when you can’t send or receive MMS messages.

Why aren't MMS messages downloading or sending?

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is an older method for sending multimedia over text messages, and it doesn’t always work as smoothly as newer messaging apps. There are many reasons why MMS messages might not work on your Android. In this post, we’ll walk through the possible causes and solutions.

How to fix MMS issues on Android

1. Check the attachment size

First, check the size of the attachment that you want to send or receive. Often, your carrier will limit the MMS file size. Different carriers have different file size limits.

For example, Verizon only allows images up to 1.2 MB and videos up to 3.5 MB, while T-Mobile has a 1 MB limit for sending (3 MB for receiving). Additionally, the recipient’s carrier can limit the file size. So even if your carrier supports a larger file size, if the recipient’s carrier doesn’t, it’ll reject or compress the file.

For maximum compatibility, ensure your attachment is less than 1 MB in size, then try sending or receiving it again.

2. Restart your phone

Restarting your phone can solve many issues, so this is generally a good solution to try. Hold the Power button on your phone until you see the power menu pop up, then select Restart. After the restart completes, check if you can send or receive your MMS message.

3. Check your network connection

A poor network connection is another possible reason for an MMS not sending or downloading. To check your mobile data connection, see if you have 2 or more signal bars. If not, try moving to a place where you have more signal. You can verify your network connection by attempting to load a website in your browser.

4. Turn on mobile data

Perhaps you need to check your settings to ensure that mobile data is enabled. Go to Settings > Wireless and Network Settings > Mobile Networks > Mobile Data and ensure that the toggle is enabled.

5. Toggle auto-download MMS

If your MMS messages fail to download on an Android, it could be because the Auto-download MMS setting is incorrect. In the Messages app, tap the 3-dots menu in the top-right corner, and go to Settings > Advanced > Auto-download MMS. If the option is on, try turning it off and manually downloading your MMS message. However, if the option is off, try turning it on and seeing if the MMS message downloads automatically.

6. Clear data in the Messages app

Another possibility is that the Messages app has too much data and can’t receive your messages. Try clearing the data by going to Settings > Apps > Messages > Storage. Then, tap Clear cache. If that doesn’t work, you can also try Clear data, but this will also remove your message history.

More MMS resources for businesses

For businesses looking to engage users over MMS, it’s helpful to gain a deeper understanding of what MMS is and how it differs from other protocols.

What is MMS?

MMS is an extension of Short Message Service (SMS), allowing the exchange of larger text messages (more than 160 characters), small images, and videos. It requires a 3G network or higher to work, although you can still send some smaller messages over a 2G network.

When a user sends an MMS message, the sending device must first encode the content before sending it to the Multimedia Messaging Service Center (MMSC) of the sending device’s carrier. If the receiving device is on the same carrier, the MMSC sends the message directly to the receiving device. Otherwise, the MMSC sends it to the MMSC of the receiving device’s carrier, which forwards it to the receiving device.

Learn more about MMS.

What is group MMS?

Group MMS allows you to create group chats much like SMS conversations, but over MMS. This allows for all members of the group to receive all messages sent to the group, not just the starter of the group. Doing so allows you to converse with 3 or more participants and keep everyone in the loop simultaneously.

The main advantage of group MMS over other messaging apps is that no additional app downloads are necessary, meaning anyone with a mobile device can join a group MMS.

Learn more about how to use group texting for business.

SMS/MMS vs. other messaging apps

SMS is the most common choice for text messaging. That’s because SMS is a universal technology supported by every mobile network and device worldwide. It's also a clear choice for businesses because customers don’t have to download an additional app.

Apps such as WhatsApp have clear advantages over MMS when sending media files. Whereas MMS can incur carrier costs above and beyond the data used, WhatsApp and other messaging apps are free to use—apart from the cost of data. Plus, WhatsApp has more features, such as group messaging and audio/video calling. Finally, as mentioned, file size limits on MMS can be restrictive and vary from carrier to carrier.

Other messaging apps are a “walled garden” chock-full of limitations. For example, WeChat users can only receive messages from WeChat users. So to communicate with users in those ecosystems, businesses must have a presence in each one, which requires additional developer time and effort.

Dive deeper into the different text messaging options with What Are SMS and MMS and How Do They Differ?

Send MMS messages reliably with Twilio

Twilio is your reliable messaging partner for all channels. For example, the Programmable Messaging API allows you to send and receive SMS, MMS, and WhatsApp messages with just a few lines of code. This can speed up the process of adding account notifications, verifications, one-time passcodes, and other alerts to your application.

Additionally, the Conversations API allows for conversational messaging across platforms, such as SMS, MMS, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. With it, you can create one-to-one or multiparty conversations, allowing for a new level of customer engagement and relationship management.

Sign up for a free Twilio account today to get started.