I Can’t Send and Receive MMS Picture Messages on My Tracfone Wireless iPhone 4

A reader, Sherrie asks, asks…

“I have tracfone services. Yesterday I have transfered my number to a different phone, an iPhone 4. Every since then I am not receiving any pictures and any pics I send are not going thru. My phone says sent but they never receive it. I am able to get pics I send myself but nothing from anyone else. No one at tracfone is able to help. They all say there is nothing wrong with anything, that there is somthing wrong with everybody else’s phone I have tried exchanging photos with.. but I never had any problem until I switched to a different phone. Thank you for any advise you could give me.”

Hi Sherrie,
So if I understand correctly, you transferred your existing Tracfone service to an iPhone 4 using Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Phone Plan and now your MMS picture messages are not working.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to fix it but I will offer some suggestions.

In order for your cellular data, MMS picture messages, and group texts to work, your phone needs to have tracfone’s APN settings set up in your phone. This is supposed to happen automatically but sometimes there is a problem. And to make it worse, since your phone is supposed to set this up automatically, the settings page on your iPhone is hidden.

If I were you, here is what I’d try. Tap Settings->Messages and turn off iMessage if it is enabled. Then test sending and receiving messages again. You should also take a look at Understanding the Difference between MMS and iMessage on Your iPhone

If that doesn’t work then try this: Resetting Network Settings on Your iPhone

Leave a comment on this article and let me know how it goes.

22 Comments

  1. Wayne Mueller | | Reply

    Just recently purchased a iPhone 6s from Tracfone. After three different Tracfone reps trying to help me we came to the conclusion that the only way to receive MMS with photos is to leave data turned on. That sort of defeats using Tracfone service for me. I pay for “texts” but have to use data to text???? Anyone else have similar experience?

  2. Sara Niemeyer | | Reply

    So glad I found this thread. I have 2 tracfones for my sons that both are not sending or receiving pictures via MMS. 1 year old. Purchased new from Amazon. Samsung Galaxy J7 Crown. I found the APN but am unable to edit. Advice please! Thank you!!

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Sara,
      You either need to edit the existing APN or create a new APN. Usually you can do one or another. For some reason, I am not aware of sometimes a phone won’t let you do either. Check again if you can edit the existing APN or create a new one.

  3. Mar Forbes | | Reply

    HELLO THERE!
    This is exactly what is happening to me… I just got a Tracfone iPhone SE and I cannot send or receive pictures on MMS Messaging — can somebody help me with this?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      OK. Is your data working and do you understand the difference between MMS and iMessage? Does your phone show TFW in the top left corner?

    • Wayne Mueller | | Reply

      Only way I got to work was to leave your data turned on. Defeats the purpose of using Tracfone for me. I have returned the phone to Tracfone. I spent several hours on the phone with three separate Tracfone reps no help. Now using my inexpensive LG and Samsung phones. No problem. Works great and data is turned off.

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Wayne,
        You are correct. MMS Service requires cellular data. The difference is that tracfone and other prepaid services will deduct that data from your data balance. Your testing may show differently, but it is my understanding that all MMS requires data, and your phone is using data to send it even if data is turned off. In addition to testing this with data off, have you confirmed that it’s not impacting your data balance? You’d probably need to send a few photos to see your tracfone balance change, the on phone usage tracker might show otherwise.

        But I would like to understand why this is such a deal breaker for you. First, with iPhone to iPhone messages your phone would use only data to deliver messages to other iPhones using iMessage.(blue bubble), it doesn’t use any text messages. iPhone to Android text message use Text messages (SMS), and iPhone to Android picture messages and group text use both a text message(SMS) and data to deliver the multi-media message. Tracfone data costs $10 for 1GB. Text messages are a half cent ($5 for 1000).

        Does really make an impact on your overall costs or is your objection more on principle? I generally want to understand your perspective.

        It’s my experience with iPhone you want to leave data turned on so that you can use iMessage. The data controls on iPhone are granular enough that you can prevent other apps from using cellular data.
        I’ve have several friends and family members set up this way, no one has reported Messages using up a meaningful amount of data. I’ve also had readers here express a similar concern when switching from Android to iPhone using tracfone. I shared the same advice, no one has ever returned to report that Messages was using an unreasonable amount of data.

  4. Ann B Hibbard | | Reply
    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Ann,
      Did you intend to ask a question? You typed in your street address…

    • Ann | | Reply

      Oh, lord! It’s that auto-fill demon at work again! I have a Samsung S5, formerly on Verizon. I finally bit the bullet and stopped paying for what I hardly ever used and switched to Tracfone. It was a great and then I tried to send a picture attached to a text message. I could never get a picture to go through. I can usually receive them but not send them. Can you help?

  5. Andrew | | Reply

    You can now enter your phone number and choose a phone (I chose Other) at https://www.tracfone.com/direct/controller.block?__blockname=direct.byop_apn.landing_tf&app=TRACFONE&lang=en and get directions. It works for me but my MMS_APN_TYPE was just called APN_TYPE (without MMS at the front) for my phone so that’s one thing to look out for. Here’s the settings as of Oct 13, 2016…

    APN………………………..RESELLER
    AUTH_TYPE…………….None
    MMSC…………………….http://mmsc.mobile.att.net
    MMS PROXY…………..proxy.mobile.att.net
    MMS PORT…………….80
    MMS_APN_TYPE…….default,mms,supl

    I set my “name” field to TracFone and it works fine but the default for that is reseller too. Just make sure the APN field is RESELLER as it says!

    • Melissa Workman | | Reply

      We had to manually set mine up, on an HTC One M8. Everything worked except picture messaging. Went to look and the MMS Proxy wasn’t set. I put in what you have there, and now, I am proud to say everything works! =D

  6. Shatron | | Reply

    I couldn’t open mms texts on my old tracfone or new LG Sunset lte smartphone if someone sent a group distribution text IF I was using wifi. I had to open while using data.

    • Melinda | | Reply

      My Smartphone wouldn’t let me Send or Receive Multi Media Text Messages. After reading this message I went in and Turned Off my Wifi. NOW IT WORKS!!! Don’t understand Why it wont work with Wifi but now I know how to fix the problem… Thanks!!

      • Bob Thompson | | Reply

        Cool. But does it still not work with Wi-Fi? what type of phone do you have?

  7. Donna | | Reply

    I had the same problem sending pictures on my LG 4G sunrise phone with tracphone. They held me on line for hours!!! They changed and checked everything and told me it was the phone number. After changing the phone number it still did not work. Then they said it was the sim card. Still did not send pictures after the sim card was changed and then the phone would not function at all even for calls. I ended up sending the phone back after a year of working with tracphone.

  8. Ray Schwartz | | Reply

    I have a Tracfone LG Sunrise and I have tried to text message a photo and it will not send. HELP

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      I think this phone uses the Tracfone Verizon network? If you go into the settings can you see the Apn settings page?

  9. craig | | Reply

    did you ever get this fixed? and how?

    • Bob Thompson | | Reply

      Hi Craig,
      I never heard back from Sherrie so I don’t know if she got it working. Did you try the steps I recommended in the article?

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