Why is an iMessage on My iPhone Sent as a Text Message? The Explanation

Have you ever sent an iMessage from your iPhone and noticed that it was delivered as a text message instead? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many iPhone users have experienced this issue, and there’s usually a straightforward explanation. Essentially, when iMessage is unavailable, your iPhone defaults to sending SMS messages. This article will provide an easy-to-understand breakdown of why this happens and how to troubleshoot it.

After completing the steps outlined in this article, you should have a clearer understanding of the reasons behind iMessages being sent as text messages. You’ll also learn how to ensure your messages are sent through iMessage whenever possible.


Have you ever been texting away on your iPhone, expecting the usual blue bubble of an iMessage and suddenly you see green? “What’s up with that?” you might think. Well, that green bubble indicates your iMessage was sent as a text message. But what does that mean, and why does it happen?

iMessage is Apple’s messaging service that allows users to send texts, photos, videos, and more over Wi-Fi or cellular data to other Apple devices. It’s a great feature because it bypasses your carrier’s SMS service, which can save you from incurring messaging charges, especially when messaging internationally. Plus, iMessages come with nifty features like read receipts, typing indicators, and the ability to message from multiple devices including iPads and Macs.

Understanding the switch from iMessage to text message is important because it could mean you may incur charges, or the message may not be delivered as quickly. Plus, if you’re sending sensitive information, iMessages are encrypted end-to-end, whereas text messages are not. This is particularly relevant for iPhone users who rely on iMessage for its convenience and enhanced features.

Why is an iMessage on My iPhone Sent as a Text Message?

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that these will help you identify the reasons behind why your iPhone may be sending iMessages as text messages and how to address them.

Step 1: Check Your Internet Connection

Ensure you are connected to Wi-Fi or have cellular data enabled.

A stable internet connection is required for iMessage to work. If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, make sure the signal is strong. For cellular data, check if you have run out of your data allowance or if you’re in an area with poor coverage.

Step 2: Confirm the Recipient Has iMessage Enabled

Check if the person you are messaging has an active iMessage account.

Not everyone uses iMessage, and if the recipient has it turned off or is not using an Apple device, your iPhone will send an SMS by default.

Step 3: Look for iMessage System Outages

Visit Apple’s system status webpage to see current service outages.

Sometimes, Apple’s iMessage service may be down. If this is the case, your iPhone will automatically send an SMS instead.

Step 4: Restart Your iPhone

A simple restart can often resolve temporary software glitches.

Occasionally, your iPhone might just need a fresh start. Restarting your device can clear out any minor bugs that might be causing iMessage to not function properly.

Step 5: Check for iOS Updates

Make sure your iPhone is running the latest version of the iOS operating system.

Apple frequently releases updates that can fix known issues, including those related to iMessage.


Avoided ChargesSending iMessages over Wi-Fi helps avoid SMS fees that some carriers may charge, especially for international messaging.
Enhanced FeaturesiMessages come with a range of features that aren’t available with standard text messages, such as digital touch, handwriting, and full-quality media sharing.
End-to-End EncryptioniMessage offers end-to-end encryption for your messages, providing extra security compared to standard text messages.


Requires InternetiMessage needs an internet connection to work, which can be a limitation if you’re in an area with poor Wi-Fi or cellular data reception.
Apple Devices OnlyiMessage is exclusive to Apple devices, so you can’t use it to message friends with Android phones or other non-Apple devices.
Potential Service OutagesAlthough rare, Apple’s iMessage service can experience outages which affects its availability.

Additional Information

While understanding why an iMessage is sent as a text message is helpful, it’s also crucial to know how to prevent it from happening. One key takeaway is always to ensure that your device has a viable internet connection. Additionally, regularly updating your iPhone can prevent many issues, including those related to iMessage.

It’s also worth noting that if an iMessage fails to send after multiple attempts, your iPhone will automatically try to send it as an SMS. You can turn off this feature by going to Settings > Messages and toggling off “Send as SMS.” This way, your phone will only attempt to send messages via iMessage.

Remember, while iMessages are great, they’re not perfect. Knowing how to troubleshoot common issues can save you time and frustration.


  1. Check your internet connection.
  2. Confirm the recipient has iMessage enabled.
  3. Look for iMessage system outages.
  4. Restart your iPhone.
  5. Check for iOS updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my iMessage turn green?

When an iMessage is sent as a text message, the message bubble turns green. This typically happens when iMessage is unavailable due to lack of internet connection or if the recipient doesn’t have iMessage enabled.

Can I prevent my iPhone from sending SMS messages?

Yes, you can disable the “Send as SMS” feature in Settings to prevent your iPhone from sending messages as SMS when iMessage is unavailable.

What is the difference between iMessage and SMS?

iMessage is Apple’s messaging service that works over the internet and offers various features like encryption and digital touch. SMS is a standard text messaging service that doesn’t require an internet connection but lacks these additional features.

Do iMessages count against my texting plan?

No, iMessages do not count against your texting plan since they use the internet for sending and receiving messages.

Is there a way to know if an iMessage has been delivered?

Yes, iMessage provides delivery and read receipts, so you can see when your message has been delivered and read by the recipient.


Sending an iMessage and having it go through as a text message can be puzzling, but it’s usually caused by straightforward issues like connectivity problems or system outages. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll understand why this happens and how to ensure your messages are sent as iMessages whenever possible.

Keeping your iPhone updated, checking system statuses, and maintaining a reliable internet connection are all key practices for seamless messaging. So the next time your iMessage turns green, you’ll know exactly why and what to do about it.

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