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What Happens To A Text Message When A Phone Is Off? (REVEALED- 2022)

will a system update delete everything on my phone

There are times when you aren’t able to access your phone for a number of reasons.

An example of this type of situation is when your phone’s battery dies unceremoniously, and there isn’t a charger in sight.

Another situation that may arise is that you are required to turn off your phone altogether- such as during a meeting, in a classroom, or on an airplane.

You may be wondering exactly what happens to a text message when your phone is off in these situations and whether you will still receive any missed messages during this period. 

This can be a pretty worrying situation-especially if you’re waiting for an important text!

The answer is that even when your phone is off, your cell service provider will still store incoming text messages for you to receive later. So, you’re in no danger of losing them in the short term!

As soon as your phone is on and you are able to receive text messages again, an attempt will be made to resend them to your device.

However, this attempted delivery period is not infinite; if the time for redelivery elapses, the incoming text messages will be permanently deleted by the carrier!

In this article, we will take a deeper look at everything that goes on when a text message is sent to a phone that’s turned off!

Can A Text Message Be Delivered If The Phone Receiving The Text Is Off?

Can A Text Message Be Delivered If The Phone Receiving The Text Is Off

When you switch off your phone, the service provider won’t deliver your messages until you turn it back on again.

This is because the phone is deemed to be offline. The same goes for when you put your phone in Airplane mode.

If you send a text message to someone and it appears to be “Delivered” shortly after, it probably means that their phone is turned on and not in Airplane mode either.

This is because sending a text message means utilizing your cellular network.

Similarly, you won’t receive a message if your cellular network service is off- which would inevitably be the case if the phone itself isn’t on!

Therefore, the same applies in situations where you send someone a message, and their phone is switched off.

It’s different when it comes to iMessage, as the Apple messaging system requires you to connect your device to a stable internet connection (Wi-Fi or mobile data) instead of a cellular network.

An alternative you can try if you want to receive messages while your phone is off is to use a secondary number.

This number can be shared with your friends and family so that you can receive messages from them.

There are a few free secondary number apps you can use to get messages while your phone is off.

These apps include Google Voice, Sidekick, and Textfree– all of which are available on both Android and iOS!

Where Does A Missed Text Message Go?

Where Does A Missed Text Message Go
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“Attempted Redelivery” is a period in which the cell service provider attempts to resend the text messages that were sent to you when your phone was off.

The duration of this varies depending on each different wireless service.

For example, AT&T attempts to send you the text message you missed for three days. Verizon does this for five days, and Sprint tries for a week.

All the incoming text messages will be deleted if your phone is still off by the end of the attempted redelivery period.

In this case, when you turn on your phone, you won’t receive any indication that you have missed a text.

Therefore, you should always be aware of the period in which your service provider will try to send you your text messages so that you can make sure to turn on your phone for a minute or two within that timeframe and not miss any texts!

How To Get Missed Text Messages When Your Phone Is Turned Off

How To Get Missed Text Messages When Your Phone Is Turned Off
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If you think you received text messages while your phone was off for a period of time and want to retrieve them, the first step is to check what solutions your mobile service provider offers in this situation.

T-Mobile, for example, offers something called Digits. Digit is an app that allows you to have multiple numbers using just one smartphone or device.

On the other hand, Verizon has its own texting app called Message+, which syncs all of your texts on compatible devices.

To see what your service provider specifically has on offer, check with them! Keep in mind that you may also have to pay for these services.

If you have an iPhone, you can also make use of iMessage.

iMessage is an instant messaging service you can use to send messages (single or group), photos, and other files between different Apple devices.

This app sends your message through the iMessage server, which means you can retrieve it from any Apple device that’s connected to iCloud.

So if both your iPhone and other Apple devices are connected to iCloud, you can read any text messages on either device- even if your iPhone is off.

How To Retrieve Missed Text Messages Using Third-Party Apps

Due to the fact that iMessage is limited to Apple devices, people who own other devices may consider third-party apps to retrieve their missed text messages.

Here are a few third-party apps that you can use:


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MySMS is an Android app that helps you to send text messages from your phone, web browser, or any other device on which the app is installed.

Unlike iMessage, you can use MySMS on Android phones. Additionally, you can use MySMS to send and receive regular text messages from different devices.

MySMS also has a Google Chrome extension, and it offers both a free and premium service. The premium service allows you to export messages, access your message history, and schedule messages.


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Everyone’s heard of WhatsApp!

In fact, a lot of people now use Whatsapp more than regular text messaging applications.

However, each party must have Whatsapp installed on their device to send or receive messages using the app.

Whatsapp is free to use in any country and is similar to iMessage in a way that you can’t use the app to send messages to a non-Whatsapp user.


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Pulse is another Android app that can help you to retrieve your messages when you can’t access your phone due to a dead battery or other malfunction.

The app constantly syncs messages between different devices, so you always receive the message even if you don’t have your phone with you.

However, unlike Whatsapp, Pulse is a paid service.

It justifies its price by providing users with extra features such as the ability to block callers, schedule messages, as well as supporting dual SIM cards.

In Summary

So what happens to a text message when a phone is off?

The cell service provider tries to resend the message for a set period of time, which is called the attempted delivery period. After this period ends and your phone is still off, it will permanently delete the message!

Turning on your phone even for a couple of minutes will help you to avoid missing any messages from anyone.

However, if you can’t turn your phone on or access it, there are apps such as iMessage, Message+, or Digits that you can use to see your messages. The apps that you can use may vary depending on your service provider.

You can also use third-party apps like Whatsapp, Pulse, and MySMS if you have an Android phone. Having a secondary number is also a good option in such a case.

Hopefully, now, after reading this article, you know what to do if you are ever stuck with a phone that won’t turn on and an important message anticipated!

The latest smartphone technology got you feeling amazed? Click HERE for a deep dive on the State of the Smartphone in 2022 (and beyond!)

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