The Case of Lost Text Messages and AT&T

Oct 14th, like millions of other people, got my iPhone 4S. Because I develop iOS apps I had been using iOS5 for a few months so to have both the new hardware and software together was nothing less than spectacular.  Many unfortunate users that day experience failed activations because of Apple's server overload. Since I didn't get mine until later that night I was able to shut off my iPhone4, activate the new phone and restore from iCloud without incident.  My new phone was BLAZING fast.  Siri, lived up to the height.  Cutting the cord with iTunes has made life so much more enjoyable.  Finally, I was able to communicate with the other iDevice people with iMessage in mass. It was a good day.

The next night at dinner a friend commented that she had texted me but I never responded. I didn't think too much of it because these things happen especially on iPhone launch/activation days due to network congestion.  Over the next few days I noticed that I wasn't receiving text messages from anyone other than iMessages and people weren't receiving mine.  Didn't matter the carrier.

After consulting the Google, I learned that many other people were experiencing similar issues, regardless of carrier or device version (4 and 4s).  It turns that with iOS5 there is a cap in the number of text messages that the messages app will support. After many frustrating hours with both Apple and AT&T, their "fix" was to wait for update from Apple, start deleting messages from your phone to free up space or wipe your phone and set it up as a new phone. By doing the last suggestion all your text messages would be gone.  I wasn't about to start all over with wiping my phone.  I deleted any of the old text messages that I could, but still no luck.  I waited a few days to see if either one of the carriers or Apple would break their radio silence on this issue and offer some support. Well….NOTHING.  While reading on the AT&T community support forum I notice that a moderator had reminded anyone having issues to check their account to make sure that they hadn't gone over their allotted number of texts.

When I checked my account I found something that will make me LOATH AT&T for quite sometime to come.

During the checkout process when I bought my phone I had to choose my data plan.  I still don't know why this was part of the process.  Maybe because I am one of the remaining few who have unlimited data and AT&T hates me. Regardless, I had to verify that I wanted to keep this plan. Apparently, AT&T found it fairly funny to remove my text messaging that I originally had. I mean why would someone assume that their current service features would still be there just because they are ordering a new phone.

Needless to say as soon as I added the text messaging back everything started working.

Carriers wonder why consumers and companies like Apple (iMessage), Google (GoogleVoice) and even Blackberry are doing whatever they can to bypass their unreliable networks, constantly changing terms/conditions and overall uncoolness towards consumers (hidden fees, data throttling, "upgrade fees", etc).

If you are having text messages check your account before you waste days and hours with wiping and restoring your phone.