When my iPhone was new I noticed that I couldn't send messages to phones which only accept SMS messages. Therefore I enabled the setting "Send as SMS" in Settings > Messages and that solved the problem.

Recently when I sent a group message to a few people, all having smartphones and one having an Android phone, they all got the message as an individual message which was not my intention. My conclusion is that the message was sent as an SMS to everyone. My question is basically: What settings do I need to be able to send SMS when required and being able to send group messages as MMS or iMessage?

I use iOS version 16.3.1.

Here are my current settings related to message formats:

Messenger settings screenshot Messenger settings screenshot

1 Answer 1


You should have all the correct settings. If you can update to iOS 16 (there was no mention in the post when I answered) - you should also have a "group messaging" toggle and if not - contact your carrier to be sure their carrier settings and back end are set up to do what you want.

What you describe happens out of the box for me and everyone in my family / friend group - group messages that allow you to mix in SMS and it works the same as iMessage groups on the phone. You're correct to expect this to work in my general experience with US carriers.

Before contacting your carrier, open the settings app to general and look in About and tap a couple times on the carrier settings and note the version - sometimes an update is waiting over the air for you to go in and tap the specific setting.

  • Thanks for the input! I actually already use iOS version 16 (updated my question with this info). Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 15:30
  • Also I don't have the "Group Messaging" toggle which should appear between "MMS Messaging" and "Show Subject Field" in my screenshot. As you mention I may have to contact my carrier. Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 15:49
  • Yes - It could get enabled optionally based on carriers @AugustKarlstrom
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 16:25

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