Understanding the Difference between MMS and iMessage on Your iPhone

icon_messagingUse Messages to send text and picture messages to your friends, family, or other contacts.  When you use Messages, your texts and pictures are sent two different ways and if you use Straight Talk or Net10 Wireless you should understand the difference.

Like any other smartphone, Messages send standard SMS(text messages) and MMS (picture messages) to any other cell phone user. If you use the Apple iPhone and your buddy or sweetheart uses a Samsung Galaxy S III, your texts and pics are sent and received using SMS and MMS.  If you may remember fondly how AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon and the rest charged you a little fee per message or flat fee per month for unlimited messages.

Messages can also deliver your Messages using iMessage. iMessage is an Apple service that lets you send texts and pictures to other iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Macintosh users.  The service is unlimited and free if you are using your iOS device on a Wi-Fi connection. It will also use your cellular data connection to deliver messages and the cost for that depends on your data plan.

To use iMessage you need to turn in on in the Messages settings. It uses your Apple ID, email, and cell number to connect you to other users using iMessage.

imess-settings

If you look carefully in Messages, you can see if your text or picture messages was delivered using SMS/MMS or iMessage. Messages sent using SMS & MMS appear in green.  Also notice that Messages shows the the message is a text messages (SMS) in the second screen.

bt-mms bt-sms

Messages sent using iMessage appear in blue.

bt-imessage

This is why if you are using Straight Talk or Net1o Wireless you often can send and receive text and picture messages with other iPhone users but not people using other iPhones.

6 comments on “Understanding the Difference between MMS and iMessage on Your iPhone
  1. Rosemary says:

    My daughter has iPhone and I have android. Sometimes her messages come thru and sometime they won’t download with a commend stating message will expire on a particular date. Why???

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi Rosemary,
      I am not sure. Which phone companies are you using? You can email me a screenshot of the error if you like? Press the home and lock buttons at the same time and then release. The screenshot will go into the photos. You can send it to bob at the name of this website
      Regards
      Bob

  2. Roseanne says:

    I am sorry but I still have trouble understand I know my friend can send me a picture she had sent me one since I got this phone she sent it to me about 4 to 6 weeks ago. She also has an iphone. I know when I try to send people thing I happend to notice the stuff that whould not go through even to my friend is when any type of message comes or goes under the subject area I need help fixing so I can send thing also iPhone 3GS straight talk with AT&T compatible SIM card. Roseanne

    • Bob Thompson says:

      Hi
      This article explains the difference between MMS and iMessage. It explains why you may be able to send and receive pictures from iphone users but not other users. iMessage uses your data connection to send pictures, not mms. You need to correctly enter you mms settings for mms to work
      Regards
      Bob

      • b baxter says:

        Regarding Roseanne’s post: I bought an unlocked iPhone 5s from Apple yesterday and I’m only part way through your tutorials. I now have data & text with the Att.mvno profile but not picture message. Got to get a sim to try the sim swap. But I accidentally found that in settings for messages, if I choose to show “subject field”, my text messages will not go through. But if I unchoose “subject field” the texts will go through. What’s that about? Thank you so much for your helpful information! I have spent an untold number of hours trying to get previous phones to work correctly on StraightTalk and I really want to keep this new one, but only if I can get everything to work.

        • Bob Thompson says:

          Hi b Baxter,
          My guess would be that when you turn on the subject line the messages are no longer sent as SMS but as MMS. Group texts are also sent as MMS. Let me know who the SIM swap goes.
          Regards
          Bob

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