How to fix Samsung Galaxy S4 that can’t receive text messages & other SMS related problems

In this post, I will address a problem involving #GalaxyS4 that’s not receiving texts and other issues related to sending and receiving SMS messages.


The Short Message Service (SMS) is one of the most common services smartphones have. It’s a pity if a powerful phone like the #SamsungGalaxyS4 has difficulty sending and/or receiving 1KB worth of data sent over cellular network. If this problem happens to your phone, there’s a big chance some settings have been messed up or there’s an issue with your provider’s network, although there were also cases caused by hardware problems.

I will walk you through how to troubleshoot this problem and we will follow safe and standard procedures. There’s no need to dig deeper into the problem because if it’s network-related, then there’s not much we can do about it. However, you still need to know some information so you can explain the problem more clearly to your service provider if you need help.

Before we go the our troubleshooting, if you have other issues with your phone, visit the troubleshooting page we made for #SamsungGalaxy S4. It contains hundreds of solutions to problems we already addressed before. Find issues related to yours and try the solutions. If they won’t work for you, then feel free to contact us as we are always willing to help.

Basic Troubleshooting

The purpose of this troubleshooting is to know what the problem is but it doesn’t guarantee a fix especially if it’s a network-related issue. If you were to let a technician take a look at your device, you’ll probably be asked what troubleshooting steps you’ve done. In case you don’t want to go through the hassle of finding the culprit, as early as now, I suggest you have someone check the phone up. For those who are willing to spend time tinkering their phones, then follow the steps below…

Step 1: Reboot your phone if you haven’t done it yet 

If the problem occurred without apparent reason, there’s a chance it’s just a minor glitch either in the system or hardware. A troubleshooting procedure as simple as reboot often fixes problems that are temporary that those that occur out of the blue.

If the reboot didn’t fix the problem, I suggest you do it again but this time, pull the battery out for 30 seconds just to drain off electricity store in the components. This procedure refreshes the phone’s memory and has been proven effective over and over again.

There’s no guarantee the problem will be fixed but there’s nothing to lose and it only takes less than a minute. It might just save from all the troubles in going to a shop or paying for expensive services of a tech.

Step 2: Check the signal bars 

A phone that can’t get signal can’t send/receive text messages and make/receive phone calls. In this step, try to see if the phone is getting a signal. If it doesn’t, then it could be a network problem especially if the problem occurred without apparent reason. While glitches happen all the time, a simple reboot (step 1) often takes care of them.

However, if the phone can’t get a signal after it got wet or dropped, then it must be a hardware problem. Don’t wait for it to worsen, bring the phone to a technician and have it checked. Please note that liquid damage isn’t always covered by warranty.

Step 3: Attempt to make a call 

Assuming the phone still gets good coverage, try making a call to know if this is a service-related concern or an issue with the phone. If you can make phone calls, then there’s no reason for you not to be able to send/receive text messages unless you have limited number of messages in your account.

Another thing that could prevent your from receiving text messages is when the inbox is full or the text message limit was reached. Try this…

  1. From the Home screen, tap the Apps icon.
  2. Find and tap Messages.
  3. Touch the Menu icon on the upper-right corner (3 dots).
  4. Tap Settings from the options.
  5. Tap Delete old messages.
  6. Now tap text message limit.
  7. Increase the number of messages to be received.
  8. Touch OK.

After increasing the number of text message limit and you still can receive texts, it’s time to reset your phone. But before that, make sure you backup all important data in your phone as they will be deleted during the process.

  1. Switch your phone off.
  2. Hold down the Power, Volume Up and Home buttons at the same time for about 10 seconds. Release them when the Android logo appears on the screen. This will bring up the unlock/reset menu.
  3. To navigate through this menu, use the volume up/down buttons to scroll up and down and the power button to confirm selections.
  4. Scroll down and select Wipe Data/Factory Reset.
  5. Scroll down and select Yes – Delete All User Data.
  6. When prompted, scroll to and select Reboot System Now. The phone will then reboot to its factory settings.

Other Messaging Related Problems

Can’t send text message

Problem: I just can’t send text messages. As soon as I hit send, it says ‘failed’ immediately. I receive texts, emails, groupme, and hangout posts. I can send emails, post on groupme as well. I just can’t SEND texts (sms or mms). It is an unlocked phone (originally Verizon) with a straight talk Sim card.

Answer: It must be the message center number that’s causing this. Try going to Messaging > tap the Menu key > choose Settings > touch Message Center > and check for the message center number. If there’s no number in the field or if you don’t know the correct one, call Straight Talk right away. I can’t see any other reason as to why a phone can’t send SMS but can receive one.

Can’t send texts after putting in new SIM

Problem: I have recently bought a Galaxy S4 (Verizon) from my friend. When I put in my cricket (part of AT&T) SIM card only calling worked. I looked up how to fix the internet and found a guide that showed me how to change it from Verizon internet to AT&T internet and now my internet works. However I have a problem with sending text messages, I receive text messages on my phone but can not send any. Please help!

Answer: It still boils down to the Message Center number but let me explain briefly why. Your Galaxy S4 is a Verizon variant, needless to say, it’s pre-programed to work well with its network. Putting in a new SIM will not automatically change the Message Center number. So, please follow this: Messaging > tap the Menu key > choose Settings > touch Message Center > and check for the message center number. You may call Cricket if you don’t know the correct number or if it’s not indicated in the SIM card.

Can’t receive texts

Problem: My son has a Galaxy S4. I have an S5. The problem is that he is not receiving my texts. He receives everyone else’s just fine. On my end it shows as sent. I have had no problems receiving his texts or any for that matter. Please advise. Thanks.

Answer: Have him check if your number is blocked in his phone. There’s no other reason he can’t receive a text message from you but can receive messages from other numbers.

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12 thoughts on “How to fix Samsung Galaxy S4 that can’t receive text messages & other SMS related problems”

  1. My Samsung Galaxy Mini S4 is not SHOWING me the new incoming/outgoing Text Messages. I do receive/send them, i see the preview, and got the notification, but when I go to the Message app, i can’t see them in the Bubble Conversation, or find them anywhere. Can you help?? Thanks.

  2. HERE is the solution…I have tried EVERYTHING and MORE you said on here and NONE of it worked…
    What to do: CALL your service provider and tell them they need to RESET the tower reception to the nearest tower to YOUR LOCATION…THAT is what worked. They need to put you through to tech support other than just one of the agents answering your call. WHY? because the first tier in tech support do NOT have access to do that for you, so the second tier of techs will be able to help you. INSIST to be transferred by the first tier tech. It was not a phone thing…there are TWO points of transferring data or TWO servers if you like, one for incoming texts, the other for outgoing. I could SEND texts but I could not RECEIVE texts…problem solved INSTANTLY when I insisted on a more advanced technician. This happened to me twice and both times I was late on my bill by a day and had to re-instate my account..

  3. I have a contact who receives my text messages but I do not receive her replies. I know she sends them as I have seen them on her phone, We can ring each other without any problems.

  4. My friend receives my txt messages and she has been messaging me back but not once have i received any of her txt’s why is this happing and she is the only person out my whole phone she receives mine no bother and when she sends one to me i get nothing pls help me thank you

  5. Hi I have a Samsung C5 and there is no Message center option in my text message setting . How to resolve this issue.

  6. I had the same issue for 2 weeks . I tried to factory reset my mobile but it was not working. Then i did emergengy firm recovery using through samsung kies. After this step . The problem solved for me.

  7. Hello – I have the same issue, but the thing is that I have rooted my phone by an application and my wifi is pretty slow. After that my brother borrowed my phone and suddenly when he return it to me, I can’t recieve any messages or even call. My network does show signal bar but it does show only for a few minutes, but still I can’t send any messages. My Cellphone is Samsung Galaxy s4. I hope you can help me 😀

  8. Hi Droid Guy – I hope you can help me or someone reading this can. I own a Samsung 4 and have had issues in the past few weeks of receiving some picture messages from contacts but a select few (about 4 people) send me pic messages and I just get the download box and can’t download the picture. I have never had issues in the past with these individuals sending pics, they aren’t sending large file pictures or videos either. I have checked with my carrier (Straight Talk) there are no issues on their end (or so they say). I am able to send pics to phones and can receive a few individuals message pics, but as I said above about 4 people in the last week I have been having issues with. These individuals have no problems with their individual networks to cause this issue. Thanks in advance!

  9. Do this if you cannot receive texts. Go to MESSAGING then SETTINGS next scroll or hit menu key, and hit RESTORE FACTORY MESSAGE SETTING. It works instantly, I have a Samsung S3 and my husband phone would not receive my texts. Too bad even Sprint 7, (online and in store) techs, and Best Buy 5 Techs had no idea how to fix it, that’s 6 hours of my life I will never get back!!!

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