Messages iconOne of the greatest conveniences of mobile phones is their ability to send text messages to other mobile phone users.  It means that you don’t have to actually dial a number, wait for the phone to ring, hope they answer, and then carry on a conversation, when all you really need to get across is “I’m running late” or some other short anecdote.  It’s very similar to email, though the difference is that the message is delivered straight to the recipient’s phone and notifies them immediately, rather than going to their email account and possibly getting buried and forgotten.  Cell phone providers know that these messages are powerful, and that’s why they are often offered as pricey add-ons to standard plans.  Text messages are great, but you have to pay for them.  That’s where iMessage comes in.

iMessage is Apple’s answer to standard SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging.  It is built into current versions of iOS and OSX, so you can use it to send messages between not only iPhones, but also iPods, iPads, and Macs.  The best part about it: it’s free!  Some of the most popular apps that you can download are those that enable free text messaging, and Apple has now built this service directly into their products.  However, as wonderful as it is to be able to communicate with your friends without having to pay for it, it does have a few downsides.  iMessage is a part of iCloud, Apple’s latest foray into the online services world, and being a young service often comes with its share of problems.  The biggest problem users have found when using iMessage is that sometimes the messages don’t send promptly, or at all.  It’s an issue that they are undoubtedly working on, though for now, outages are a reality of using anything attached to iCloud.  (For what it’s worth, Apple is building several sites that supposedly will be used for upgrading their network, so hopefully when those all go online, everything will work as intended!)

Maybe Apple realized that there was a potential for this to happen, but for whatever reason, they included a bypass mechanism which will switch the iMessage into a regular SMS text message and then send it over the carrier’s service.  Of course, this will cost you whatever a standard text message would normally cost you, but sometimes that’s better than waiting and waiting and then never having your message go through at all!  Thankfully, it’s a very simple action to do to resend a failed iMessage as a normal SMS text message.  All you have to do is tap and hold on the message bubble of the failed message, and a pop-up will appear with a button to Send as Text Message.  All you have to do is tap on this, and the message will resend.  Since it sends as an SMS message over your cell phone provider’s network, you obviously need to have a phone number for this to work, and have SMS texting available to you on your provider’s network.  I haven’t tried on a Mac or other device, though this would suggest that it only works on iMessage on iPhones.

You can apply this trick immediately after finishing composing it and sending it, whether it would ultimately fail to deliver or not.  However, once it has been delivered, you cannot (and there’s absolutely no use it trying to) resend as a text.  If that’s the case, then you won’t even have the option available to you anymore.  With that, hopefully you no longer have to worry about dealing with some of the early struggles of iCloud, and you can get your messages off to your friends whether iCloud wants to agree with you or not!

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