SMS/messages group with a mix of phones

I have a small group of people I’m trying to keep informed via a text group. 3 of the 4 of us have iPhones, the other guy has a Samsung of some description.

One of the iPhone guys started the group and invited everyone but the Samsung guy didn’t join and reckons he can’t. Mr Samsung not super tech oriented so I haven’t been able to find out why, but he is adamant he can’t join.

I asked him to set up a group, which after some mucking around, seemed to work. Except it doesn’t because you can’t reply to the group no matter what you do. He said he used a 3rd party app because he couldn’t get the built in SMS app to do it, but I didn’t catch the name of it.

I have never used Android, so not sure what to suggest next, but surely this should be straightforward. Is he just missing the obvious or is this actually problematic? He suggested Messenger or WhatsApp, but I’m not interested in using anything owned by Facebook if I can avoid it.

If you’re all willing to use a messaging platform, Signal is a good non-FB choice

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Facebook messenger and whatsapp are the two most common options.

If you don’t want to use those two then maybe Viber? (which is owned by a Japanese company).

It’s actually more feature rich than whatsapp.


Thanks for the replies guys. I will check these out.

Is it really not possible to do with the built in stuff on an Android?

There isn’t a single unified messages app, each maker has a version and they don’t tend to talk to apple phones (even if they mostly talk to other Androids).

Second for Signal, and a vote also for Telegram if you want features. Signal is most secure. They are cross platform so everyone should be able to use them

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WTF? All of this sounds very suspicious.

Hang on, they invited everyone? To a group? I wasn’t aware SMS had progressed to the point that it was opt-in these days, or required any kind of “joining” to get messages?

Obviously there are third-party apps you can use to get a group chat going.

But you can absolutely have an Android user in a group chat in the Messages app on iOS, even if they don’t have Android Messages that handles iOS Messages’s reactions properly.

I’ve had a lot of issues with group messaging too albeit different to yours. Was Mr Samsung an iPhone user once? If yes, perhaps he needs to deregister? Deregister and Turn Off iMessage - Apple Support

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Just tried that by messaging from my iPhone to my Oppo Android (which is running the latest available version of it’s version of Android messenger) and it doesn’t work.

You’re telling me that I, as an iPhone user, cannot send an SMS to any random phone number and have it delivered? That somehow, in the year 2021, SMS is no longer the technology-agnostic platform it once was?

I can send a plain text message from my iPhone to my Oppo Android but if I include any emoticons or gifs then it comes through all messed up. And basically everyone uses emojis or emoticons or gifs these days.

Group messaging sucks across platforms and/or apps given the zero consistency. Hell, messaging sucks in general unless you’re all on the same platform… which for any given group is unlikely.

Getting people to move to whatever platform you like (or consider more secure) is terrible because inevitably someone has some issue for some reason or doesn’t want another service.

Personally, I want something I can read/respond (and be notified) on my phone AND my desktop computer since I spend most of my (weekdays at least) at the computer and being able to respond to people from a keyboard is very nice rather than playing with my phone at work. Whatsapp mostly works for me and most people seem to have that. Messenger if I must and (somewhat sadly) iMessage is a last option but at least covers SMS as well.

That was poor terminology on my part. One member started the group, included everyone’s number and sent a message. The other 2 iPhoners got it and replied. Mr Samsung said he wasn’t able to respond. I didn’t press it too hard with him to try and work out why.

I’d love to know how to make this work, because Mr Samsung says “no can do”. Are you able to elaborate?

Not sure about his past, but I can text him ok. It’s only the group thing that’s problematic.

This is the crux of it for me too. I never text from my phone and I really don’t want to have to start if I can avoid it.

Unless @bennyling can educate me on how to make this work with the built-in stuff, we might have to move to some sort of iOS app.

A quick Google search suggests that you’ll need to start a normal, non-iMessage chat with him first, then add the iPhone users in.

I’ve never done it personally, but find it hard to believe it isn’t possible when there’s a Verge article saying that when Android users are in a group chat with other iPhone users, any iMessage reactions performed by the iPhone users don’t show up properly for the Android user… which implies that they are, indeed, part of the group chat. With other iPhone users.

Also, I know Apple and Google are competitors and whatnot, but do we seriously believe, in the year 2021, that there is no out-of-the-box way to communicate between the two platforms? Because it sure as heck sounds like it from the posts that I’m reading here.

I use FB Messenger for my family now because I run into three issues every time using messages between the two.

First is when I reply to a group with android users, all users receive the messages as individual threads which causes confusion and me left looking like an idiot.

Secondly I can never send images because they always fail to send to android users. That might be a carrier MMS thing, but when half the point of the group is to share stuff like that it’s very frustrating since I have no issue with iOS users because it’s using data not MMS.

Thirdly, every now and then android users don’t receive anything from iOS users and there’s no indication that they didn’t. There’s plenty of google results on how to fix it when that happens, but who wants the hassle of troubleshooting everyone?

So yes it’s 2021 and it still sucks if you don’t use a 3rd party messaging app.

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I have multiple successful message groups in which some members have Android phones.

Go to your iPhone settings/messages and check [Send as SMS] is On. If your iPhone senses that your recipient’s phone is not an iPhone, this ensures that your message is sent as an SMS.

If you send a text message to Mr Samsung from your iPhone, does your message appear in blue or in green on your phone?

If it appears in blue, iMessage believes he’s using an iPhone and the message may not get through. This can happen if he had an iPhone in the past, as @Frankie suggested.

If the message is in green, your iPhone recognises he is using an Android phone. This message should be successful.

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Snarl! Thanks.

That fixed my issue, I spent so long looking for a solution on the Android phone and eventually gave up.

I never even considered the problem was with my iPhone :slight_smile:

I just tried this, but as soon as I entered his number it just came up as going to him in the existing thread of messages we have. Not sure how I would start a fresh conversation there.

Mr Samsung tried to set up a group from his end and that is exactly what it does. He can send messages from the group but replies just go to the last person who posted, not the group.

I can sometimes send images to Mr Samsung, but not always. He reckons it works when he’s not on his home wifi.

No, they’re green. iMessage knows he’s not on an iPhone - individual message to him work fine. Group chat is the problem.

Well, that’s usually a reasonable assumption. :slight_smile:

Right, it does the same for me. Just keep adding your iPhone friends into the conversation?

So Messages, +, add Android user. Jumps to your existing conversation with them, that’s fine. Keep adding!

Yeah, I was trying this on the Mac, which doesn’t seem to allow adding another user to an existing convo. On the phone I can add people, but once I get to the last person it takes me to the non-functioning group that Mr Samsung started.

Next step might be to get everyone to delete that group so I can start again. I’m going to get everyone to delete Mr Samsung’s group and try it again. Can’t do much more testing tonight. Will report back.