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Is there a way for me to use a different app to send/receive SMS messages on my iPhone, and still use my same phone number?

It'd be great if it could become the default for sending messages on my iPhone, without jailbreaking.

So I'd like an app that

  • defaults to sending SMS messages, even for contacts that have iMessage
  • reuses my existing phone number when sending/receiving SMS messages

So in theory, it's like I have an Android phone, and only know how to send/recive SMS messages ;-)

EDIT: Note my main problem is that when I have iMessage disabled, other people still try to send me iMessages, which I dont get if I have iMessage disabled of course!

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You can turn iMessage off in the Settings app under Messages. Then your iPhone will only send SMS and MMS messages using your phone number.

You will also need to turn off FaceTime.

You will also want to make sure every iOS device you have has iMessage turned off, or you will just get iMessages on the devices that have it turned on.

If those steps don't work Apple provides a form to deregister your phone number from iMessage. It is nominally for Android users so I'm not sure if it will work for iPhone users.

You will not find a way to replace Messages as the default app without jailbreaking.

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    Yeah I've tried this, but then people seem to send me messages using iMessage still in some way, even though I have it disabled. I think it's because I had it it enabled at one point. Now when they do that, I don't get the message – Brad Parks Apr 12 at 21:28
  • Do you have any device with iMessage turned on? – dwightk Apr 13 at 2:35
  • good point - i probably do - i'll check that out! – Brad Parks Apr 13 at 13:08
  • I've tried all the above, turning off on all devices, disabling facetime, and sending the confirmation code to disable it for my phone number, but my wife's phone still tries to send iMessages. I also deleted my contact and re-added it to my wife's phone, which didnt help either. – Brad Parks Apr 19 at 0:24
  • that's crazy... not sure what else there is to do... Have you talked to an Apple employee? – dwightk Apr 19 at 2:58
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According to a third party wanting the same, Apple doesn't allow this: https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us/articles/360007321171-Can-I-send-SMS-MMS-with-Signal-

There was once an app which synced your sms and allowed sending and receiving through an app: mysms. It would still work if you put the sim card into an android phone, but that doesn't seem to be what you want, as you'd now need another phone number for calls on your iphone...

The closest you can get on an iphone is probably through your provider's sms website offerings, like this one: https://n.vodafone.ie/business/products-and-solutions/mobile-communications/bulk-texts.html

Depending on your provider, you could probably put a shortcut somewhere on the iphone which opens a page where you can see your sms inbox and write new ones - with some business features on top.

Then you just need to deregister your phone number from imessage and make it work with your email address only. Anyone entering your phone number on imessage should then get to send the message in green.

  • Yeah my main problem is that other people still try to send me iMessages, which I dont get if I have iMessage disabled. – Brad Parks Apr 19 at 0:43
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    Then something went wrong removing your number from iMessage. Check in the settings of iMessage on all your Apple devices. If that fails, use this link (selfsolve.apple.com/deregister-imessage) and have a friend check again - all their messages to you should now either be green or saying that you can't be reached that way. Once that works, register iMessage again, making sure that only the email address, not the phone number appears. You can also click on No when it asks you to verify iMessage through an SMS to your provider. If all that fails, try contacting Apple support. – Carl Dombrowski Apr 19 at 6:40
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The big question is will your carrier allow you to deliver voice to one device and forward the SMS to another service or SMS number you control as opposed to sending your SMS to your iPhone. They overwhelmingly insist on delivering SMS to the same cellular radio as the device registered for voice, but might be able to make that change for you.

Once you find that out, there are all manner of SMS services that run server side that will receive SMS and turn them into APNS notifications for any number of apps to consume.

You also might need to port your number to a MVNO / VOIP provider and then get a new cell number and forward voice to the old number.

Lots of avenues to split things, but almost all involve duplications of cell service unless your carrier will enable a split delivery from one number to two services.

At that point, you choose any app that pleases you and deregister iMessage from any or all of your SMS numbers so other iOS devices will send true SMS and not iMessage notifications over the APNS and your cellular data connection.

  1. Figure your carrier options or switch carriers
  2. Decide if you need two SMS or one works
  3. Pick your app for voice and your app for sms
  4. Deregister all SMS from iMessage

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