Exploring the labyrinth of digital communication, one may often encounter the enigma of undelivered SMS text messages. Why does this happen? Many factors influence the seamless transmission of your electronic missives. 

The challenges vary from the invalid number to network glitches and the subtle nuances of content filtering. But beyond these familiar obstacles lie many lesser-known impediments, each contributing its own layer of complexity to message delivery. These are message length, roaming restrictions, and others. 

In this article, we will discover the main reasons for failed transmissions and why messages fail to reach their intended recipients.

Top 15 reasons why your text message didn’t get delivered

Do you send your messages with no feedback? Sometimes, it’s not because the recipient doesn’t want to respond. Perhaps they didn’t even see your letter. Below, we will consider the top reasons so you will find the answer to the question, “Why doesn’t my message say delivered?”.

15 main reasons text don't deliver

1. Invalid number

This issue often arises due to human error, such as typing the wrong digits or attempting to send a message to a number that has been reassigned or deactivated. Additionally, international formatting errors or missing country codes can also render a number invalid.

2. Opt-out preferences

With increasing concerns about privacy and spam, many individuals choose to opt out of receiving unsolicited messages. This opt-out can be a deliberate action taken by the recipient or might be automatically applied through carrier or messaging platform settings.

3. Network glitches

Despite the robustness of modern telecommunications networks, occasional glitches and hiccups can occur. These glitches might result in temporary disruptions to message delivery, affecting a subset of users or entire regions.

4. Content filtering

Carriers and messaging platforms apply content filtering mechanisms. Thus, they can protect their users from spam, phishing, and inappropriate content. Messages that trigger these filters due to suspicious content or keywords may be intercepted and prevented from reaching the intended recipient.

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5. Network congestion

During peak usage periods or in areas with limited network infrastructure, network congestion can occur. This may lead to interruptions and delays in message delivery. The overload can be exacerbated in heavily populated areas or during events that engage many users.

6. Roaming restrictions

When traveling internationally, roaming restrictions imposed by carriers may lead to the situation of not delivered text message. These restrictions can vary depending on the user’s mobile plan, destination country, and agreements between different telecommunications providers.

7. Do not disturb mode

Recipients who activate do not disturb mode on their devices will not receive notifications for incoming messages or calls. While this feature is intended to provide uninterrupted periods of focus or rest, it can inadvertently prevent important messages from reaching the recipient in a timely manner.

8. Device compatibility issues

Variations in messaging protocols, software versions, or device specifications can sometimes lead to compatibility issues between sender and recipient devices. These compatibility issues may manifest as formatting errors, message truncation, or outright failures in message delivery.

9. Sender reputation

In the context of commercial messaging, the reputation of the sender can influence the likelihood of message delivery. High-quality, reputable senders are less likely to be marked as spam or blocked by recipient networks. In contrast, senders with a history of spamming or abusive behavior may face greater scrutiny, so that they will have the problem of undeliverable message text.

10. Message length limitations

Some carriers impose limitations on the length of text messages, typically around 160 characters per message. Messages that exceed this limit may be truncated, split into multiple parts, or rejected outright, depending on the carrier’s policies and the recipient’s device capabilities.

11. Battery saver mode

When a device enters battery saver mode due to low battery levels, background processes, including message delivery, may be restricted to conserve power. This can result in delays or failures in message delivery until the device exits battery saver mode or is recharged.

12. SIM card issues

Problems with the SIM card, such as physical damage, improper insertion, or network registration issues, can prevent the device from establishing a connection to the carrier network. Without a valid network connection, message delivery becomes impossible.

13. Software bugs

Software glitches or bugs within messaging apps, operating systems, or carrier-specific software can cause unexpected behavior, including failures in message delivery. These bugs may arise due to coding errors, compatibility problems, or issues with other software components.

14. Blocked contacts

Recipients have the ability to block specific contacts from contacting them via calls or messages. If a sender is blocked by the recipient, any messages sent to that recipient will not be delivered. Besides, the sender will not obtain any indication of the block.

15. Server outages

Periodic server maintenance, unexpected hardware failures, or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks can cause temporary outages in messaging servers. During these outages, message delivery may be delayed or interrupted until the server infrastructure is restored to full functionality.

What should you do if your message does not reach the recipient? Revisit this list of reasons, determine the likely culprit, and take corrective action. 

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Tips on how to ensure your text messages get delivered

By following these key tips, you can significantly enhance the chances that your messages will reach their intended destination:

the best tips to ensure your messages get delivered

Choose the right messaging platform

Select a messaging platform that aligns with your needs and requirements, whether it’s for personal or business use. Ensure the platform supports the type of messaging you intend to engage in, whether it’s A2P (application-to-person) or P2P (person-to-person) communication.

Optimize message content

Craft your messages thoughtfully, ensuring they adhere to best practices and guidelines provided by messaging platforms and carriers. Avoid using spammy language or including content that may trigger content filtering mechanisms.

Keep in mind that P2P phones are limited to one message per second, emphasizing the importance of a balanced exchange between sending and receiving messages. A significant disparity, like sending 500 texts but receiving only 20, could trigger concern with your carrier. Businesses employing group texts for marketing must authenticate your phone number with their mobile provider.

Use appropriate phone number types

Depending on your messaging needs, ensure you have the right type of phone number. Businesses engaging in A2P messaging, such as sending appointment reminders or billing confirmations, should use shortcodes or compliant local numbers. 

To avoid message blockage by carriers, use a 10DLC or a 10-digit long code. Below is an example of what A2P messages should look like.

how to create A2P text messages

P2P messaging, characterized by personal interactions akin to texting a friend, requires no such specialized numbers.

Monitor delivery metrics

Keep track of message delivery metrics provided by your messaging platform or carrier. Monitor delivery rates, open rates, and any delivery failures to discover and tackle any issues promptly.

Maintain sender reputation

Uphold a positive sender reputation by adhering to messaging best practices. This means you should avoid spamming behaviors and engage with recipients in a respectful and non-intrusive manner.

Stay compliant with regulations

It is recommended to study relevant regulations and guidelines governing messaging practices in your region. Ensure compliance with laws and regulations such as CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) and guidelines provided by industry organizations and regulatory bodies. Your messages should not contain any illegal info about drugs, adult content, and others.

Test and iterate

Continuously test your messaging campaigns, experimenting with different strategies, message formats, and timing to optimize delivery rates and recipient engagement. Use A/B testing and analytics tools (Verizon, AT&T, TMobile) to refine your approach over time.

Consider versatile approach

Pay attention to the multifaceted strategy. When urgency dictates the need for assured delivery, think beyond conventional text messaging. Augment your communication arsenal with alternative channels such as email or verified messaging applications. Thus, you can add an additional safeguard and ensure your message reaches its target group.

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Now, you have an understanding of the main reasons texts don’t deliver. Effective communication starts with ensuring your messages reach their destination. So, put the tips we mentioned in this brief into practice and watch your message delivery rates soar. 
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  1. Why are my messages green when they should be blue?

This can be due to various factors, such as using a different messaging app, sending messages to non-iPhone users, or experiencing connectivity issues between devices.

  1. Why aren’t my texts delivered to a specific person?

Texts may not be delivered to a specific person due to an invalid number, offline recipient device, or network congestion. The recipient may also have blocked your number.

  1. What does it mean when your message doesn’t say delivered?

If your message doesn’t show “delivered,” it could indicate that the recipient’s device is turned off, out of service, or experiencing network issues. Plus, the recipient may have blocked your number or disabled read receipts.

  1. Why would a text message fail?

Text message failures can occur due to an invalid recipient number, network congestion, carrier issues, insufficient signal strength, message size limitations, or carrier content filtering. Issues with your device or messaging app could also contribute to these failures.