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Why is my iPhone 4S breaking up SMS messages that are shorter than 160 characters?

20532 Views 39 Replies Latest reply: Nov 10, 2013 11:22 AM by jroku RSS
  • AmZam05 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have found over the past couple weeks that adding one space works every time. Also, double tapping the space bar for a period also works, since it automatically adds a space after the period.

     

    Thanks everybody! This is a relatively pain-free fix until Apple recognizes and fixes the issue (which, let's face it, might not happen)

  • The Divah Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I am having the exact same problem with my Sprint Iphone 4S. I did not have this issue with my Iphone 4 on the ATT network. My husband reported that he always gets a second message with just the final word of my text. I've also heard the swoosh go as many as 4 times, but I don't know what it looked like on the other end.

     

    I'm going to try the "adding spaces" work around and see if that fixes it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • cicerogirl Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)

    Wished it worked for me.  I have tried addi, one, two, or three spaces.  Makes no difference.  It still splits the message into two. 

  • cicerogirl Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)

    Just FYI (for you and anyone reading this), putting in spaces at the end of the message doesn't work for everyone.  I tried, one, two  and three spaces, all to no avail.

  • Fuzionz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have an iPhone 4S, iOS 5.1, on Sprint. Does anybody know if this is supposedly an issue on only effecting the 4S on Sprint; or are other iPhones on other carriers having issues with SMS messages being split?

     

    I am having this issue as well. It's only been about 2 months since i turned the sent text sound back on & initially noticed that it was sending two messages. I quickly confirmed that it was not sending duplicate texts. I then figured out that the majority of the time, when I send 121-159 character SMS texts, the messaging app breaks my texts in two sending the last word second; even with the spaces at the end of my messages. Without spaces, however, my SMS messages get broken when between 71-159 characters in length.

     

    It doesn't always do this though. I usually notice at least 3 text a day that don't get split. Also, Today, i noticed that the messaging app doesnt split the first text i send after toggling the MMS setting On/Off. The messaging app does not appear to incorrectly break SMS messages of 160 characters in length or longer either.

  • Etienne Maheu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    This is not an issue. It is caused by character encoding. When you type text, it defaults to ASCII which maps the characters you enter to one byte. Because of this, the ASCII encoding only have 255 characters in its set. If you type any funky character that is not in this set, iOS will switch the encoding to one that supports the characters you used. It can be UTF8 or something else that I am not aware of. UTF8 uses two bytes to store its characters, thus enabling 65 535 different characters. Since an SMS is 160 bytes long and not 160 characters long, the numbers of characters you can use will drop by half to 80 and then drop again to 70 to add space for a header which tells other phones that the message is sent with a different encoding. For instance, using any characters like "ô" will switch the encoding from ASCII to UTF8 and thus limite your text to 70 characters.

     

    You can activate a character counter in the Messages app by going into the Settings app, then Messages and then setting the switch next to "Character Count" to On. You will see a little counter appearing next to the "Send" button in your Messages when the text box gets big enough to display it.

     

    I hope this helps!

  • Chris Lemon Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Etienne Maheu wrote:

     

    If you type any funky character that is not in this set, iOS will switch the encoding to one that supports the characters you used.

     

    Then I'd love to know what exceptionally common character is missing from the ASCII set that would cause this to trigger as much as it does, because I can provide many examples of perfecty average texts, with nary a caret or tilde or accent to be seen, that have exhibited this problem. 

  • cicerogirl Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)

    No, it IS an issue and it has NOTHING to do with the character set.  I have had a NUMBER of messages containing nothing but the letters A-Z, without even any normal punctuation, get split with the final word in a separate message.  Most of my messages have nothing but letters, periods, question marks and numbers, and almost all of them get split (yet iMessage texts do NOT).

  • Lawrence Finch Level 7 Level 7 (24,495 points)

    Do I infer correctly that this only happens to people on Sprint? I have not noticed it on AT&T.

  • cicerogirl Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)

    Yes, it seems to be limited to Sprint users... But some people have not specified their carrier, so it may not be exclusively a Speint issue.  It is definitely related to the latest OS upgrade, though.  People who did not do the upgrade are not having the problem.

  • melissa35knoxville Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Thank you so much you are a lifesaver. I have waited for months for apple to let me know a solution to this problem and they could give me nothing except tell me that I had to wait for an upgrade and hope that it fixed the problem. Thats crazy because every1 that receives texts from us that dont have unlimited is paying. THANKS again you ROCK for sure. And this isnt a solution Apple we still need a real solution but this helps for now. GET ER DONE apple I mean really you got lots of people with the same problem it is surely a priority to get it solved.

  • Etienne Maheu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Like I said, try enabling the character counter. It will help you figure out if it is a real bug or if it is happening because of one of the characters you used. Also, don't forget that carriers can override many settings of your phones. One of them is the SMS text encoding to impose a specific one.

     

    I do want to correct one thing that I said though. The encodings I listed where educated guesses. Apparently I was wrong! SMSs are 140 data bytes long (not including the header). The default encoding is encoding texts in 7 bits (160 chars) which contains a lot less characters than ASCII does, there is an 8 bit encoding (140 chars, basically ASCII) and a 16 bit encoding (60 chars).

     

    More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_Message_Service#Message_size

     

    There is one thing that bothers me though. Some people mentioned that they could hear the "message sent" sound twice. This does not happen even if the text message is split. Or at least, it does not happens for me. So this might be an indication of a bug. In that case, if you are a registed Apple developer, I would suggest you to open a ticket on http://daw.apple.com. Else, just send your complains to http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html .

     

    @cicerogil iMessages are sent using your internet connection. They do not use the SMS protocol and thus do not have to be splitted every 140 bytes.

     

    @melissa35knoxville: You get what you pay for. If you don't pay for unlimited SMSes, you don't have them and have to deal with technical limitations. Apple already proposed a solution for it and thousands of people are already using it every day. It is called iMessage, which uses your internet connection instead of the SMS protocol. But then again, both parties needs to run iOS 5 or higher; nothing is free.

  • Chris Lemon Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Etienne Maheu wrote:

     

    @melissa35knoxville: You get what you pay for. If you don't pay for unlimited SMSes, you don't have them and have to deal with technical limitations. Apple already proposed a solution for it and thousands of people are already using it every day. It is called iMessage, which uses your internet connection instead of the SMS protocol. But then again, both parties needs to run iOS 5 or higher; nothing is free.

    What an incredible crock of excuses. (Hint: iMessage isn't a solution because NOT EVERYONE HAS AN IPHONE. This bug (and it IS a bug, it has nothing to do with encoding and message lengths when it splits a single word EVERY SINGLE TIME regardless of message length) is negatively affecting all kinds of cellular users, not just Apple's.

     

    How much does Apple pay you to shill for them?

  • melissa35knoxville Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    I get what I pay for???? I do have unlimited messaging thanks you very much but not everyone that I text does. There isnt a point in all people having unlimited if they dont text that much. they shouldnt have to pay for unlimited just because my phone is screwed up and not doing what it should. as for character count I have it on at all times otherwise how would I know that it breaks my messages up at different amounts. And YES it does make the swooshing sound 2 times if it breaks it into 2 messages and IF you would have read one of  my posts I said that I have been waiting MONTHS for apple to give me a solution so OBVIOUSLY I have a ticket open at apple and still to this day it hasnt gotten me anywhere and that has been at LEAST 2 months probably even longer. And imessages isnt a solution considering not everyone in the world owns an iphone. And its not technical limitations because its a glitch in apples software or sumthang. I wish I knew what it was so that I could help get it resolved as it is VERY frustrating. Thanks for your not so useful opinion. I never ask for anything free so have no idea what you are talking about when you say nothing is free....All I ask is that my phone works the way it is suppose to work!!!!!!!!!

  • cicerogirl Level 1 Level 1 (145 points)

    As the others have said, this IS an issue and Apple is apparently doing nothing to fix it... Or not doing anything quickly.  (Not a very good introduction to the iPhone for me, to be sure.)  in the meantime, we are stuck with annoyed friends and family who are using up THEIR text message allotments because of an Apple problem when WE send them texts.

     

    How is using iMessage, which is ONLY available when both people own iPhones a "solution"?!?!? Seriously, do you work for Apple?!?  You certainly seem to be bending over backward with half-baked explanations for why we should think this is NOT a problem.

     

    Lora

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