I have an iPhone 4S, and an unlimited data plan, so I text. A lot. Apparently, it has been cutting one to two words off the ends of my text messages to my (non-iPhone-user) fiancé. I've always stayed under 160 characters - it splits those texts. Lately, I've taken to trying to stay under 100 characters, and still, the last 1-2 words get chopped off the end and sent as a new text. I can't find any answers online, and this is getting really aggravating for me and the recipients of my text messages. How do I fix this???

  • Strictly speaking, in the US, an unlimited data plan has no bearing in your texting plan. You could have both unlimited data and text, however.
    – Cajunluke
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


I have suffered numerous... Countless compatibility issues between different handsets/carriers. Even when texting in the same country.

One thing you have to understand is that a text is normally limited to 160 7-bits characters. Which means that any message containing special characters outside the range of the 7 bits characters will immediately be shorter.

According to Wikipedia:

Depending on which alphabet the subscriber has configured in the handset, this leads to the maximum individual short message sizes of 160 7-bit characters, 140 8-bit characters, or 70 16-bit characters.

Depending on the characters you use the iPhone will select the character set adapted to the message.

Also I noticed that sometimes problems with character encodings and message length appeared when I was receiving messages from another carrier.

You should try sending the same message to another phone on the same carrier, then the same message on your carrier to see if the problem can be reproduced in these contexts.

As a side note you say you have an unlimited data plan. To my knowledge no carrier includes text messages in the data plan. You might want to check if you have unlimited text messages in your plan. If you use iMessage (blue messages on the iPhone) you effectively use the data plan, otherwise (green messages) go through the voice/text plan.

  • Yes, but … just after the text from Wikipedia you quoted, they go on to talk about concatenated SMS, also known as long SMS, where the size restriction is lifted. It has probably been a decade or more since I had a phone that didn't support them. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 7:32
  • The iPhone may be effectively concatenating your SMSs, but the other party may be getting them split. You cannot control that. I believe iOS 5 had an option to display the number of outgoing messages (which only appeared when it was > 1). I don't have an iOS 5 device with me to check that atm. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 8:40
  • @HaraldHanche-Olsen I know. And reading my response I notice it isn't explicitly stated. But messages sent across carriers don't always play nice. The problem can range from strange characters to truncated messages. The problem I encountered the most often was interrogation marks between each letter on most messages from one of my friends. I believe the problem was due to his handset but we never tested. I also occasionally had complains about truncated messages.
    – Coyote
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 9:06

I am having the same issue with my texts splitting way under the 160 character count. This is happening to Sprint users since the IOS 5.1 upgrade. This is not happening to iPhone users who are with other carriers. A quick fix (until Sprint fixes this issue) is to space 3 times at the end of your message and it will not split (provided that is not over 160 after the spaces). It does work.

I have contacted Sprint and they want me to come in and have the prior operating system restored (when I was able to send a complete text). After that they will log it into the system as an issue.

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