iMessage vs Text Message

Discussion of non-operating system issues related to iPods, iPhones, and the iPod Touch.
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Bob Wiswell
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iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Bob Wiswell » Wed Apr 30, 2014 6:18 pm

What is the difference between sending an iMessage vs a Text message? I tried to send an iMessage, from my iPhone 5C, to someone with an iPhone and it said it failed as an iMessage, but it went as a text message. I tried researching this in my iphone book published by Que, but it was so confusing I was lost after the first paragraph.

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Stephen Hart
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Re: iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Stephen Hart » Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:55 pm

If you send any text message from an Apple device to another Apple device, it will go by iMessage if possible. That means it costs you nothing. (Well, to be precise, you've already paid for it in buying the iDevice.)

https://www.apple.com/ios/messages/

Any message sent (or, horribly, received) from a non-Apple device, or if iMessage fails, costs you money, unless you're already paying for a plan that includes unlimited texting.

If you're getting fail notifications from iMessage more than occasionally--when you know you're sending from an Apple device to another Apple device--something is wrong.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
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Bob Wiswell
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Re: iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Bob Wiswell » Thu May 01, 2014 7:49 am

Stephen,
In my scenario that prompted this question, only my first message went as a text message. We continued to text back-and-forth and underneath the first message it labels it as being a text message. None of the other entries carry this label. When you say "something is wrong" do you have any examples of what is wrong or how to fix it; or is this one of those computer things that just happens sometimes?

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Ray Bentsen
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Re: iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Ray Bentsen » Thu May 01, 2014 12:38 pm

Bob,
Just to clarify ... Messages only uses iMessage technology when a device has access to the Internet, and will revert to using cell tower based text messaging otherwise (assuming the device has access to a cell network, like your iPhone, or an iPad with cellular capability).

Furthermore, iMessage technology can only be used to communicate between two Apple devices that are each associated with an Apple ID. Messages uses only text messaging to communicate with a non-Apple phone/device. In that case, a conversation is started using the other party's cell phone number, and not an Apple ID.

An individual message in Messages will be in a blue bubble if it was sent using iMessage technology (using the internet), or in a green bubble if it was sent as SMS text (using a cell network).

So, iMessaging is FREE (once the Internet bill has been paid), but text messaging is only free if your cell data plan has a texting component. I have an AT&T plan that does not include texting, so I am careful only to use Messages when I have Internet access. (or else I pay an additional 15 cents per bubble on my monthly bill!)

In your case, for example, if you are walking around your house using Messages on your iPhone, it is possible that individual messages get sent as iMessages when you are in range of your Wi-Fi network, and then switch to text messages when you walk out of range of your Wi-Fi network.

Hope this helps.
;)

P.S. Another way to text for free is to use Skype, which has apps for all platforms, including the iPhone/iPad.
An old Norse adage: Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

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Stephen Hart
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Re: iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu May 01, 2014 2:44 pm

Ray's additional info is not just right, but essential. In addition to texting between two Apple devices, both of those devices need internet access, either through WiFi or cell data, to use iMessages. And you have to have settings set to allow cell data. iMessage apparently doesn't have a separate setting for cell data.

In any session, one of the devices could lose the internet connection for one or more messages. For example, if you have cellular data turned off, you could go out of WiFi range, potentially even inside your house. If you have cellular data turned on, you could hit a dead zone.

Apple's tech notes on cellular data

Wikipedia on SMS
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
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Bob Wiswell
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Re: iMessage vs Text Message

Post by Bob Wiswell » Thu May 01, 2014 8:12 pm

I think I am understanding what you are telling me. I know the other phone is an iPhone with iMessage on it. I think, in my case, since only my first bubble was green, and it went out as a text, my phone hadn't picked up my wi-fi, even though I was very close to the modem, I think the phone just had not picked up the signal yet when I sent the first message. All of the rest of my messages/bubbles were blue.

Like you Ray, I am paying for each transmission/bubble, including the incoming bubble (I assume). The incoming bubble is gray, not blue, does this mean I am not receiving an iMessage, because I know the other person is on an iPhone, my bubbles are blue? Even the link that you provided, Stephen, shows the incoming messages as gray.

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