The iMessage app provides a way to send encrypted messages to other iMessage users. Text messaging may incur additional per-text fees and doesn't use encryption, whereas iMessage uses cellular data to send messages. Sending messages solely over text requires you to completely disable your Wi-Fi and cellular data connection, or change a few settings within the Settings app. Although iMessage provides a simple, cost-effective way to send messages, sometimes it doesn't work as quickly or cleanly as a standard text message. You can either set the default setting to always use text-based messages or use a quick workaround to send a failed iMessage text using SMS.
Disable iMessage to Send as SMS
Tap the Settings app.
Select the "Messages" option.
Set the "iMessage" toggle switch to the "Off" position.
Set the "MMS Messaging" toggle switch to the "Off" position if you want to disable longer text messages, audio, photo and video capabilities as well.
Tap the Messages app and send your text message to a supported mobile phone.
Disable Wi-Fi and Cellular Data to Send as SMS
Tap the Settings app and select the "Wi-Fi" option.
Set the "Wi-Fi" toggle switch to the "Off" position.
Tap the "Settings" button at the top of the screen to return to the Settings page.
Choose the "General" option.
Select "Cellular" from the list of options.
Set the Cellular data toggle switch to the "Off" position.
Send your text message as normal. Provided you text to a phone that supports text messaging, the message gets sent as a SMS text.
Sending a Failed iMessage Text
Tap the Messages app.
Locate the text with the red alert button that indicates the iMessage didn't send correctly.
Double-tap the failed message's bubble.
Select the "Send as Text Message" option.
- Information in this article applies to iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images