Texting between iPhone and Android users currently broken

A bizarre bug has emerged that is affecting text messages between iPhone and Android users. According to a number of reports on Reddit, texts sent from an Android user to an iPhone user are erroneously adding an extra digit to the phone number. The problem primarily appears to affect Android users with an AT&T phone.

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The problem is caused by text messages being delivered from an Android user to an iPhone user, but the iPhone is inserting a “+” sign at the beginning of the phone number. This causes the Messages app, or the carrier, to assume the message is coming from an international phone number – using the first digits as the international code.

In the Messages app, that incoming message from the Android user is then split off into its own messaging thread. When the iPhone user tries to respond within that thread, the message fails to send. They can respond as normal in the original thread, but when the person responds, the new message is put into the same thread with the incorrect international phone number.

In many cases, the carrier’s automated system then sends a message telling the iPhone user to “re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number.”

One Reddit user explains:

I went to text my best friend this morning, and the message went through in our usual text thread. For context, she is an android user. When she responded it, it started a new thread with her number and a plus sign at the beginning. When I respond to it, I get an invalid number error, but she still receives the text. If I text her in our normal thread, she receives it too. But all her responses come from a number that is invalid.

Another Reddit user:

I’ve had my phone for a year now and haven’t had any issues texting with Androids until today. Even just yesterday I was texting one of my friends and it was acting perfectly normal. Today when I texted her I received her response from a number that was her number but spaced out in an odd way (the last digit in the area code was lumped in with the rest of her number.) Anytime I text that chat window back, I receive an immediate error message saying invalid number, but when I text in our original conversation it’ll go through. Essentially my texts to her and her texts to me are showing up in two different chat windows.

It’s unclear where exactly in the pipeline this bug is occurring. Given that these messages are being sent using SMS, however, it seems like some sort of networking issue on the carrier’s end. We’ve seen a number of reports on this problem impacting AT&T customers. It’s unclear if it’s a problem impacting other carriers as well.

The problem seems to happen primarily when an iPhone user texts an Android user on AT&T, regardless of what carrier the iPhone user has. The problem doesn’t appear to be tied to today’s release of iOS 16.5.

Reddit threads on this problem:

We’ll update this story if Apple, AT&T, or another carrier acknowledges the problem. Are you having issues texting with Android users from your iPhone? Let us know down in the comments.

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