iMessage: Different colors for text messages on iPhone

iPhone users most likely have noticed this odd thing about the iMessage app: some messages are blue, while some are green. Why is that, though? Here’s the short answer: blue messages have been sent or received using Apple’s iMessage technology, while green ones are the ones sent or received using the Short Messaging Services, or SMS. Now, why is this important to iPhone users?

This is why it is important for iPhone users to know. Standard text messages are delivered over the same voice network used for phone calls. Carriers charge a certain amount per message. In recent times, a lot of the telecom carriers now offer unlimited messaging. Meanwhile, Apple has iMessage, which looks and acts like the standard SMS but relies on data networks (cellular or WiFi). This gives two benefits: freedom from carrier rates for SMS, and a wider set of features.iMessage

iMessage allows you to do things that you can’t do with the standard SMS, like share your location, send walkie-talkie-style voice messages, check message delivery and even see if someone is in the process of writing you back. In iOS 10, Apple added even more iMessage features, like apps, stickers and bubble effects.

You can only use iMessage with other iDevices. If you use an iPhone and you text an Android user for example, it registers as an SMS. Therefore, the messages appear as a green bubble. However, sometimes you could see green even when you are texting an iPhone user. Here are three possible causes:

  • iMessage is not activated on your device. To fix this, tap Settings > Messages, then check to see if the feature is turned on. If it is, you should also activate “Send as SMS”. Note that this requires you to sign in with your Apple ID.
  • iMessage is not activated on the recipient’s device. A lot of users have no idea that it is a thing, and some do not know you have to enable it.
  • There’s no data network available. If your device can connect to a voice tower, it will default back to SMS.
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