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

It is too odd for powerful devices like Google’s new Pixel 2 XL smartphone to cause you troubles when using basic functions like texting. Nevertheless, it’s possible and inevitable among smartphones regardless of the branding and platform. So, don’t be surprise if you won’t be able to send a text message on your Google phone at any time later because it can happen.

In fact, you are probably reading this now because you already have and are trying to find ways to get the problem fixed. If that is so then we’ve got your back. This post contains potential solutions and recommended workarounds to deal with text messaging problems on Google Pixel 2 XL so you can try these whenever you’re ready to troubleshoot. Keep reading for more details.

For users who are looking for a solution to a different problem, make sure you drop by our Pixel 2 XL troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common issues with this phone. Browse through the page to find issues that may be similar to yours and feel free to use our solutions or workarounds. If you still need our help after that, fill up our Android issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

Why does your Google Pixel 2 XL won’t send text messages or SMS?

Before jumping into fixes, let us first determine the possible causes. The underlying cause might be within the messaging app or the device itself. As much as possible, try to isolate the problem or determine the root cause beforehand. Doing so will help you find out which from among the given solutions is necessary. To help you save time, here’s a rundown of all possible causes for you to refer to.

Among the common factors that can cause problems with text or SMS messaging include but not limited to the following:

  • Recipient’s number entered is invalid.
  • Network problems.
  • SIM card issues.
  • Apps glitches/software bugs.
  • Incorrect settings configuration.

There are also some cases where a faulty hardware is to blame but that rarely happens to new powerful devices. Unless there were prior instances of dropping or liquid exposure, which might have caused physical or liquid damage on the phone.

Potential solutions and workarounds to deal with SMS problems

Considering that the underlying cause is within the software, any of these subsequent workarounds should be able to resolve the problem. Be sure to create a test message to try to send after performing each method for you to determine whether or not the problem has been fixed. If necessary, proceed to the next applicable solutions.

Make sure network signal is good. Check the signal indicator on your status bar. If the signal strength is too weak then contact your network service provider/carrier to verify network status. A strong and stable signal is necessary for your device to carry out text messaging functions without any error or delay. If the network is not available, then you’ll have to deal with network problems first. Once it’s up, then you should be able to send or receive texts or SMS messages as intended. Also consider to check your account status. Doing so will help you rule account-related issues out from the probable causes. Some carriers would temporarily disable outgoing services including text messaging for accounts with unsettled issues. So if you think you something to settle with your account, talk to your service provider.

Once you’ve got all the requisites reviewed and find out that none of them is the culprit, you may now troubleshoot the problem with the following workarounds.

Reboot your Google Pixel 2 XL (soft reset)

A simple solution to software-related issues in mobile devices including those affecting text messaging functions is a soft reset or reboot. It’s like what you usually do when your computer misbehaves or doesn’t work as intended due to minor bugs and glitches. If you haven’t already, then reboot your phone. For starters, here’s how a soft reset is done on your new Google device:

  • Press and hold the Power button located on the right corner of the device.
  • Tap Power off.

Alternatively, you can press and hold the Power button for about 20 seconds or until the phone power cycles. The latter method is often used to reboot unresponsive devices.

Remove and reinsert SIM card

If you are unable to send SMS and prompted with an error message pertaining to an invalid SIM card or relevant errors, then it’s probably a bad SIM card causing the problem. To rule this out from the possible culprits, try to remove and then reinstall the SIM card on your Google Pixel 2 XL. Here’s the proper way to do it:

  1. Power off your device completely.
  2. Use a paperclip or SIM eject tool then gently push it into the circular opening on the SIM card tray.
  3. When the tray pops out, carefully remove the SIM card.
  4. Examine the SIM card for any possible signs of damage like scratches or dents. If none, insert it back into the tray.
  5. Make sure the SIM card is properly secured.
  6. Push the tray back into the slot then close it.

Reboot your device after securing the SIM card and the SIM card tray then try to send a text message again. Be sure to enter a valid or correct recipient’s number this time.

Clear messaging app’s cache and data

Temporary files can also affect the messaging function in mobile devices. Cached files particularly within the messaging app are usually the culprits especially if some of them are corrupted. As remedy, you can clear the app’s cache and data if necessary. Here’s how:

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

Please note though that selecting the option to Clear Data will erase all your data from the Messaging app including your accounts and passwords. So take note this information beforehand. After clearing cache and data from the messaging app, quit the app, then reboot your device.

Reset network settings on your Google Pixel 2 XL

Texting also involves and requires network functions on the phone. That is why if something goes wrong with the network, SMS messaging might as well becomes unavailable at the moment. Network problems can occur when some settings are configured incorrectly. But since identifying the main error usually requires a lot of effort in digging through one settings menu to another, you can just do a network settings reset instead. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap System.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select Network settings reset from the given options.
  5. Tap Reset Settings.
  6. If prompted, enter the device’s password, PIN, or pattern for security.
  7. Tap Reset Settings again to confirm reset.

After the reset, your device will reboot by itself. If not, then restart it then try to see if text messaging is already working properly.

Perform a factory reset on your Google Pixel 2 XL (master reset)

This is deemed the last resort as it will erase everything from your device storage. It’s an effective solution to software-related issues triggered by complex bugs and glitches in mobile devices. But given the consequence of losing data, creating a backup is highly recommended beforehand. Once everything is backed up and ready, follow these steps to reset your phone to its factory defaults and eliminate every bug there is:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap System.
  3. Tap Reset.
  4. Select Factory data reset from the given options.
  5. Tap Reset Phone.
  6. If prompted, enter your device’s passcode, PIN, or pattern to continue.
  7. Tap Erase Everything to confirm.

Alternatively, you can do a factory reset using the hardware keys if the above method is not applicable. Here’s how it’s done:

  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.

Finally, proceed to initial activation and setup. After everything is setup, try to open the messaging app and then create a test SMS to send.

You may opt to contact your carrier for other options if none of the prior methods is able to fix the problem and that you still cannot send SMS or text messages on your Google Pixel 2 XL. If the problem occurs after installing a software update, then it’s likely a complex bug that requires an official fix patch. In this case, contact Google Support to escalate the problem and have them assessed thoroughly if this can be tagged among other post-update issues to be addressed in the next update rollout. And likewise, you can seek further assistance in performing more advanced troubleshooting using some required tools on their end.

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1 thought on “How to fix Google Pixel 2 XL that cannot send SMS or text messages? [Troubleshooting Guide]”

  1. My Google pixel XL 2 battery only lasts about 8 he with average use no music nor movie just phone and text and email. Also the message plus icon keeps appearing when I have no message.

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