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How to fix Google Pixel 2 that cannot send or receive text messages or SMS [Troubleshooting Guide]

Majority if not all smartphones nowadays are already equipped with advanced technology, thus offering more advanced features for end-users to benefit from. But what if the simplest feature fails to work on any of these high-tiered devices? Definitely, it’s a bummer but it happens. In fact, it is recently afflicting some users of high-end Android devices including the Pixel smartphone series from Google.

Some have it that they’re unable to send or receive SMS or text messages after installing the latest Android update. Why do these things happen and what should be done as remedy? If you’re searching for answers to the same questions, then this post might be able to help you. Read on to find out which among the possible factors is preventing your device from sending or receiving SMS messages and once you have determined the underlying cause, work on the fix. Keep reading to learn more.

Before we proceed, if you are looking for a solution to a different problem, make sure you visit our Google Pixel 2 troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this phone. But if you need for help, then fill up our Android issues questionnaire and hit submit. Rest assured we’ll look into your concern.

Why does your Google Pixel 2 unable to send or receive text messages or SMS?

A smartphone cannot send or receive SMS or text messages for various reasons. It can be a glitch on the network or carrier’s system, account issue, SIM card issue, a software glitch, incorrect settings, and software updates. Generally the problem is related to the software. Although there are also a few cases where users are no longer able to send or receive messages because the device itself is damaged from prior incidents of dropping or liquid exposure. Unless it’s hardware-related, you still can try some means to get the problem fixed without having to pay extra for device repair. Now let’s take a closer look on the software aspect.

Text messaging is among the phone features and services that require network intervention. If a problem occurs on the network like when it’s not available, the rest of network services on your device will likewise be affected or not working and text (SMS) messaging is among them. The same thing can happen if there are some issues with your account that needs to be settled. Often times, outgoing services like calling and texting function are temporarily disabled or unavailable in this case.

Another factor to consider is a bad SIM card. This is likely the culprit if you are getting SIM card errors while attempting to send a text message. Be sure to read and review the error message to find out what went wrong and what needs to be done in order to get things back to work normally again.

Software glitches can also trigger the same problem to occur especially if it is affecting the messaging app in use. It can be isolated to an app like stock messaging or third-party messaging app you are using on your device. Incorrect settings on the messaging app or device itself can also cause a similar issue. You may consider this as the probable cause if the problem started after making some changes on an app or device settings. SMS problems can also be triggered by a faulty update. This is what has happened to a number of Google Pixel users following the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

So what are your options to resolve the problem on sending or receiving SMS, given that the underlying cause is in the software aspect? Answers to this question are highlighted below. Read on to find out.

Potential solutions and workarounds to deal with SMS problems on Google Pixel 2

While waiting for the next update from Google containing the official fix for this bug, you may resort to trying some workarounds as temporary solutions. Of course, no one would want to just wait longer, do nothing, and receive/send no texts on your device. You can take your chances on each of the following methods.

Before you begin performing any of the subsequent methods, make sure that your phone is getting good signal strength from the network as indicated by the signal indicator on the status bar. Also, if you suspect that the problem has something to do with any unsettled issues on your account, contact your carrier or service provider. Finally, if the problem started after making changes to some settings on your Google Pixel 2 then try to revert the changes back to its prior configuration. If none of these is able to help and yet you still cannot send or receive SMS or text message on your Pixel phone, then you may now proceed with these workarounds.

Be sure to test your device after performing each method to determine whether or not the problem has been resolved. Proceed to the next applicable solution if necessary.

First solution: Soft reset.

Turning the device off then back on is one of the very first steps recommended when troubleshooting device issues that are software related. The process is also referred to as a soft reset in mobile devices. A soft reset will not affect data on the device so it’s a safe process. For starters, here’s how a soft reset is done on Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL:

  1. Press and hold the Power button located on the right corner.
  2. Tap the option to Power off.
  3. If the device is not responding or frozen, you can just press and hold the Power button for about 10 seconds or until the phone reboots.

Minor software bugs and glitches that might have affected the messaging function on the phone will likely be rectified by a reboot so don’t forget to give it a shot.

Second solution: Remove and reinstall SIM card.

To rule SIM card issues out from the possible causes, try to remove and then reinsert the SIM card on your device. Doing so can also help in fixing problems on sending or receiving calls, or connecting to the Internet. And here’s how to do it properly:

  1. Power off your device completely.
  2. Push a paperclip or SIM eject tool into the circular opening on the SIM card tray to remove it.
  3. Remove the SIM card from SIM tray then place it back in. Be sure to keep it properly secured in the tray.
  4. Push the tray back into the slot.

Turn on your device. Try to create a text message to test if you can now send or receive the message on your device without getting any error. If this trick doesn’t do any good, then try to work on the messaging app with the next method.

Third solution: Clear app cache and data.

Should the problem is caused by any corrupt file or message within the messaging app you are using, clearing the app’s cache and data might be the key to fixing it. Clearing cache means deleting temporary data from certain app on your device while clearing data means permanently deleting of all app’s data. The latter option will therefore erase some of your customized settings and information including passwords used for that app. Be sure to create a backup of this information beforehand. If you haven’t already, follow these steps to clear cache and data on your Google Pixel 2 messaging app:

  1. Tap Settings to open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Apps & Notifications.
  3. Tap See All Apps.
  4. Locate and tap to select the Messaging app you want to clear cache and data from.
  5. Tap Storage.
  6. Tap Clear Data or Clear Cache.

Wait until your device is finished clearing cache and data from the app then reboot your device. After the restart, create a text message or SMS and try to send and receive it on your Pixel phone.

Note: Menu options and steps may vary depending on the messaging app you are using. The above procedures apply to the Stock Messaging app on the phone.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings.

Network problems are among the possible reasons as to why you are not able to send text or email messages on your device. To eliminate this from the possible causes, you can try rebooting the network equipment (modem/router) first, followed by a reboot on the device itself. If none of these is able to fix the problem, then try performing a network settings reset instead. Should there be any incorrect options applied on the device’s network settings, that will be deleted in the process for good.

Before you proceed, please note that this process will erase your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular network settings including saved networks and passwords on your device. You can backup this information for safekeeping beforehand.

For starters, here’s how a network settings reset is done on your Google Pixel 2 or Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone:

  1. Tap the Arrow Up icon on the Home screen to view all apps.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap System.
  4. Tap Reset.
  5. Select the Network settings reset from the given options.
  6. Tap Reset Settings to continue.
  7. If prompted, enter the correct passcode, PIN or pattern.
  8. Tap Reset Settings again to confirm action.

Wait until the network settings reset is complete then reboot your device if necessary.

Now see if SMS sending and receiving functions are already working properly on your phone. If not, consider the last option below.

Fifth solution: Factory reset.

Before you proceed, be sure to backup all your important data in Google Cloud. All this information will be deleted in the process. A factory reset often resolves various types of device issues from frozen displays, crashing apps, touchscreen problems, syncing, calling and texting problems. However, you will need to setup and configure your device again from the start. If you want to try your luck on this reset, then follow these steps whenever you’re all set:

  1. Power off your device completely.
  2. Press and hold the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously until the bootloader mode (represented by an Android with Start on it) appears. Release both buttons at once when you see this image.
  3. Use the Volume buttons to highlight or select Recovery mode from the given option.
  4. Press the Power button to confirm selection.
  5. The device will then flash the Google start screen briefly and then restarts in Recovery mode.
  6. If prompted with an image of a broken Android bot with No Command label on the screen, press and hold the Power button, and press the Volume Up button once then release the Power button.
  7. Select Wipe data/factory reset option from the Android Recovery screen. Use the Volume buttons to select the option.
  8. Select Yes.
  9. Wait until the factory data reset process is finished. It can take several minutes depending on the amount of data there is to reset.
  10. Select Reboot system now then wait for your device to boot up completely.
  11. Finally, proceed to initial activation and setup.

Once everything is setup properly on your device, try to create a message to send and receive and then see if it will now go through.

Factory Reset Google Pixel 2 through the Settings Menu

Alternatively, you can use the Settings menu to factory reset your Google Pixel 2. Here’s how:

  1. Tap the Arrow Up icon from the Home screen.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap System.
  4. Tap Reset.
  5. Select the Factory data reset option.
  6. Tap Reset Phone to continue.
  7. If prompted, enter the correct passcode for your device.
  8. Tap Erase Everything to confirm.

Wait until the factory reset is finished then proceed with initial setup on your device. After the reset, try to create a test message (SMS) and then see if you are able to send and receive the message on your phone.

Seek more help

If the problem started after updating your Google Pixel 2 to the latest Android software version, contact your carrier or Google Support to escalate the problem and asked for help. They may be able to reset something on their end and get your messages up and running properly again. Otherwise, try using a different messaging app instead.

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