There’s a serious issue with Google Fi’s service for iPhone that prevents sending any MMS pictures via the Messages app. The problem doesn’t affect all iPhone users on Google Fi, but if you’re like me and keep getting that frustrating “Not Delivered” alert, there’s a fix.
I jumped on Google Fi as soon as it officially added support for iPhone, that way, my wife and I could be on the same plan finally to save money. At first, it was perfect, and I had relatively no issues for a while. Then, just four months after signing up, I could no longer send any MMS pictures to anyone. I would only see red exclamation marks next to nearly every image I tried sending.
Sure, shooting photos over to other Apple users with iMessage worked just fine, but Messages would slam that red “Not Delivered” text in my face for every other contact. It didn’t happen every time, but there was roughly a 95% failure rate. Google Fi support was zero help and told me to contact Apple. Apple Support was zero help and told me to contact Google Fi. And I tried every “solution”:
- disabling Live Photos when sending
- disabling Live Photos in Settings
- editing and cropping media
- force-restarting my iPhone
- clearing the RAM
- updating my iPhone
- updating the Google Fi app
- deleting and reinstalling the Google Fi app
- deleting and restoring Google Fi’s APN settings in “Cellular Data Network”
- resetting the network settings completely and redoing the APN settings
- restoring my iPhone to a backup
- wiping my iPhone to factory settings
- upgrading from an iPhone X to iPhone XS to iPhone 11 Pro
- toggling Airplane Mode on/off
- turning my iPhone off, removing the SIM card, turning it back on, turning it back off, putting the SIM back in, turning it back on
- sending logs to Google Fi and Apple Support
- signing out and back into my Apple ID
- double-checking that iMessage, SMS, and MMS were all on in the Messages settings
- and every combination of the above
Nothing worked. I gave up for a long time and just dealt with it — for almost an entire year. Eventually, I added the issue to the Google Fi Help boards, and only recently did someone share a working fix. And while it’s not perfect, I’ve dropped down to a 10% failure rate for MMS photos in the Messages app.
Google Fi was insistent that no settings be changed on the “Cellular Data Network” page aside from what it needs to “work.” So that meant “h2g2” in all of the three APN fields and “fi.g.co/mms/wapenc” in the MMSC area. You still need those four entries, but you also need to add one more thing. Few people got this answer from Google Fi support, so most support staff seem to be out of the loop.
Open up the Settings app, then go to “Cellular,” followed by “Cellular Data Network.” Now, in addition to the four things mentioned before, you’ll want to add “10485760” into the MMS Max Message Size field. And that’s it. Save it by exiting those settings, then restart your iPhone.
What you just did there was add a 10 MB limit for MMS text messages. With the entry blank, Google Fi may add an arbitrary limit on MMS texts you can send. Some people have been told there’s an 8 MB cap by default, but in reality, it’s more like 2 MB, and that checks with all of the past failed images I tried sending — all of which were over 2 MB in size.
Whether it’s a restriction Google Fi added itself or as part of the MVNO deal with T-Mobile remains to be seen. It could also be a bug since most carriers and MVNOs will compress images automatically to meet their max file size. I’ve contacted Google about the limits it imposes purposely or not and why. As of this writing, I’ve yet to hear back.
Like I said before, I only have a 10% failure rate now for MMS pictures, so it’s not a 100% fix. At least, not for me. Any images larger than 10 MB will still fail, but you can always try adjusting the 10485760 to a higher number to see if that works in those cases. Sometimes, a random image smaller than 5 MB wouldn’t send for me, but it’s few and far between now.
Also, in most instances, whenever you send multiple images at the same time, they all will fail, even if they are all under 10 MB each. It could happen when sending numerous photos from the Photos app to Messages, as well as from Photos in the Messages app drawer. It’s like Google Fi is counting them all together and not as separate MMS texts. And it’s slow to tell you it failed! For example, I sent six images from Photos to Messages, and with a good signal, it took over ten minutes for the “Not Delivered” alert to come up — and they were all under 4 MB each.
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