Who hates double texts? There’s nothing more frustrating than receiving them or sending them. It’s effortless to tap that send button twice accidentally, but is that what’s really happening? How can you avoid making this embarrassing mistake for your friends and family? We’ll explore fixing this problem and preventing it in this how-to article.
Am I sending double texts to my friends and family?
Recently, we’ve run across instances where users have received or sent multiple texts during a conversation on their smartphones. An example is when an iPhone user notices that they have sent or received green bubble messages (SMS or MMS) twice in a row. During a conversation, one person will send a text, and in response, the second person will send their reply, but it will show up as two texts/bubbles instead of one. If this is occurring to you, you are probably asking, how could this be happening? Let’s break down the differences between different messaging methods to understand better what’s going on.
iMessage vs. SMS/MMS
There’s a difference in how you send messages on your smartphone. Depending on which type of phone you are using, you send an iMessage (Apple iPhone) or an SMS/MMS (Apple iPhone or Android).
What makes iMessage different from SMS/MMS?
As per Apple, “iMessages are texts, photos, or videos that you send to another iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac over Wi-Fi or cellular-data networks. These messages are always encrypted.” They are denoted by blue bubbles in your conversation. Apple states that this offers, End-to-end encryption, protecting your iMessage and FaceTime conversations across all your devices. These messages are only accessible between two users utilizing Apple’s encrypted iMessage system. iMessage utilizes your mobile phone’s data plan or Wi-Fi when it is available, rather than using your mobile phone carrier’s SMS/MMS system. iMessage apps, which have the same function, are also available on various Apple devices, including Apple Watch, iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks. These apps also allow you to use digital stickers within an iMessage while attaching voice messages and songs, all within the same app.
What is SMS/MMS?
As per T-Mobile (https://www.t-mobile.com/resources/what-is-an-SMS), “SMS stands for Short Message Service and is commonly known as texting. It’s a way to send text-only messages of up to 160 characters between phones”. On the other hand, they also state that “MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. Whenever you send a text with an attached file, like a picture, video, emoji, or a website link, you’re sending an MMS”. Apple (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207006) remarks, “If you aren’t using iMessage, you can use SMS/MMS. These messages are texts and photos that you send to other cell phones or another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. SMS/MMS messages aren’t encrypted and appear in green text bubbles on your device”.
Is iMessage or SMS/MMS more secure than the other?
If you remember using non-smartphones, chances are you’ve been using SMS and MMS longer than most If you remember using non-smartphones, chances are you’ve been using SMS and MMS longer than most millennials and Gen-Zers. You’ve probably even used to only being able to send 160 characters at a time. With that said, we need to realize that SMS messages are not end-to-end encrypted. That means that there is a good chance our cellular phone providers can access the messages we send to one another when we utilize SMS/MMS because it operates and actively stores it on their network.
On the other hand, apps like iMessage (with iCloud storage turned off) and services like Signal utilize end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in their messaging systems. Using a service like Signal means that only you and the receiver of your messages will access your messages. On another note, another similar service that focuses on emails and privacy is, ProtonMail, which functions on a similar level, but provides email instead of messaging services.
Why is my phone sending and receiving double-texts?
Chances are, one or both users are in the conversation using SMS/MMS. If you’re an iPhone user and are sending double-texts to your friend, you’re likely in a low or no data-coverage area. You’ve disconnected from your cellular phone’s data network and must utilize the phone company’s SMS/MMS networks. When you and or your friend are in this position, one of you may be attempting to send a message, fails, and then the system will try to send it again. The second attempt will send the first message again while processing the second message simultaneously, thus sending two duplicate messages one after the other.
Double-texting is less likely to occur if you use iMessage or another digital messaging system such as Signal. Instead of SMS/MMS, these messaging systems utilize existing data networks connected to the web instead of SMS/MMS. Thus, ensuring that sending messages on these systems confirms each message sent, whereas, in SMS/MMS, it can send the message, but your partner may not have received it. Something like iMessage and Signal will only function if the network is engaged (both phones are connected to the web and join one another). End-to-end encrypted messaging differs from SMS/MMS. One user may be connecting to their cellular phone network. At the same time, the second person remains disengaged, thus causing either a delay or duplicate in the relayed messages being sent in between until it is finally received.
How do I prevent double-texts from happening?
- Use iMessage for messaging one another whenever it’s available, but this only applies to iPhone users.
- If you’re using Android or an Apple, you may use another end-to-end encrypted messaging platform such as Signal to communicate with one another.
- Ensure that each user in your conversation connects to their data network and their cellular phone’s SMS/MMS networks before sending messages to one another.
“Something like iMessage and Signal will only function if the network is engaged (both phones are connected to the web and are connected to one another).
This differs on SMS/MMS, where one user may be connected to their cellular phone network and the second person is disengaged, thus causing either a delay or duplicate in the relayed messages between when it is sent and when it is finally received.”Tells us IF you started using signal or another E2EE system: on discord or Give us a comment below!
The bottom line is that there are a lot of different factors with how texts come in and what they mean. For iOS users, keep in mind that you need to be in a high-coverage area with data and Wi-Fi or connected to a cellular data network to send regular text messages. If you’re not, the message will likely never leave your SMS/MMS network, thus waiting until the next time you have a strong enough connection to deliver it. And for Android users, please remember that duplicating texts does not mean someone is really into you. It may mean that you’re just ‘not connecting’ (on the network). And that’s okay. Your relationship is (probably) just fine. Though Oprah may have something to say about it.