Enable MMS messages on an iPhone: 9 steps (with pictures)

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Enable MMS messages on an iPhone: 9 steps (with pictures)
Enable MMS messages on an iPhone: 9 steps (with pictures)

In this article you can read how you can activate MMS or the ability to send and receive multimedia messages on your iPhone. When MMS is activated, you can send multimedia messages, such as photos, videos, and group messages, to people who don't own an iPhone or who don't use iMessage. The Multimedia Messaging feature (usually abbreviated to MMS) is usually enabled by default on an iPhone, but it only works if you're connected to your carrier's network.


Method 1 of 2: Turn on MMS

Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 1

Step 1. Turn on your cellular data

If you want to send a multimedia message, such as a photo, a video, or a group message, while you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, or if you want to send it to someone who does not have access to iMessage (e.g. someone using Android), you will have to use mms. To be able to use MMS you are dependent on your network provider, even if you are connected to the internet via a WiFi network. To activate your mobile data, do the following:

  • Open the Control Center by swiping down on your iPhone X (or later version) home screen from the top right corner, or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen if you have a different model.
  • If the Wi-Fi icon (the vertical antenna with two curved lines at the top right of the screen) is gray, tap it so it turns green. If it's already green, then you're already on the network.
  • Some mobile plans do not include the ability to send MMS messages, while others require you to pay if you exceed a certain amount. Before you send an MMS message, check with your provider to be sure, so that you know exactly what restrictions apply.
Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 2

Step 2. Open your iPhone's settings


It's a gray gear on the home screen or in the App Library.

Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 3

Step #3. Scroll down and tap on Messages

You'll find this option on the screen along with a number of other Apple apps, such as Mail and Notes.

Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 4

Step 4. Scroll down and toggle the 'MMS' slider to the 'On' position


You will find it in the SMS/MMS section and it will turn green. Now your phone can send messages with photos and videos using the subscription you got through your carrier.

  • MMS is not the same as iMessage. You can send iMessage using a WiFi signal, if the senders and receivers have iMessage activated. If a wireless network is available, your phone data will not be used in that case.
  • Whenever you want to send a photo or any other type of multimedia message to someone with an Android phone, it will be sent as an MMS message. If you don't turn on MMS, you won't be able to send multimedia messages to people with Android phones or to people with iPhones who don't use iMessage.
Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 5

Step 5. Scroll down and move the 'Group Messaging' slider to the On (green) position


Now you can send and reply to group messages, and for that you need MMS if other members of the group don't use iMessage.

Method 2 of 2: Troubleshoot MMS

Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 6

Step 1. Try to send a text message

A text message is an ordinary text message that is sent over your cellular network. If you can send an SMS but not an MMS, the attachment may be too large. Network providers impose certain restrictions on the size of MMS messages. For example, if you (or the person you want to send the message to) is using Verizon, the message should be no larger than 3.5 MB. To send an SMS you will have to turn off iMessage. To do that, follow the steps below:

  • Open Institutions.
  • Scroll down and tap Messages.
  • Move the 'iMessage' slider to the Off (gray) position.
  • Go to Messages again and try sending a text-only message to one recipient with no attachments. Has the message been sent?
  • If you were able to send the text message without attachments, try sending it again with an attachment. If the sending is not successful, it may be that the attachment is too large, or that your provider imposes certain restrictions on the use of MMS.
  • If you can send both SMS and MMS messages without having iMessage activated, chances are the recipient is using an Android phone, but their phone number has been linked to an iPhone in the past. Your iPhone may be trying to send messages to the recipient's iMessage account, rather than to that user's phone number associated with MMS. If so, ask the recipient to ask Apple for instructions on how to unlink that phone number from their iMessage account.
  • Don't forget to turn iMessage back on after the test.
Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 7

Step 2. Update your iPhone

You can run into problems if you don't update your smartphone for a long time. To update your smartphone, go to Update iOS.

Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 8

Step 3. Set up your network again

That way you'll wipe all your cellular and Wi-Fi connections, which often resolves any MMS issues. Just keep in mind that this way you will also delete all WiFi network passwords stored on your smartphone, so you will have to re-enter them if you want to connect to a WiFi network.

  • Open Institutions.
  • Tap on General.
  • Tap on Reset.
  • Tap on Reset network. If you have a passcode, you will now be prompted to enter it.
Enable MMS Messaging for iPhone Step 9

Step 4. Contact your carrier

MMS is a carrier service, meaning your carrier manages the servers that send MMS data from your iPhone to other phones and vice versa. If you're having persistent problems with MMS, resetting the MMS service may be able to resolve the connection problem.


  • To be able to send and receive messages via SMS you only need a mobile signal, but for MMS you need mobile data (such as 3G or 4G) on an iPhone.
  • You can determine which protocol your iMessage uses based on the color of the message. Blue indicates the use of iMessage, while green indicates that the message was sent via SMS/MMS. Green multimedia messages can only be sent or received using mobile data.

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