iPhone 3.0 Software Sending Group SMS Messages As MMS

iphone-mms-bugConsidering the iPhone had email, MMS wasn't really at the top of my "must-have feature" list for the 3.0 software update, but when it was announced anyway, I shrugged my shoulders with indifference. Only now that indifference has become annoyance with the discovery that the iPhone now refuses to send group SMS messages, instead forcing you to send them as group MMS.

Discussions over on the Whirlpool forums have some people arguing this is a feature rather than a bug – apparently some telcos around the world only charge per MMS sent, rather than per SMS received. So if you send an MMS to six people, you only get charged once, where sending an SMS would see you charged six times. However, as is also discussed, most people on cap plans have SMS, but not MMS included in their contract, meaning that it's still cheaper to send 100 SMS rather than 1 MMS.

The problem seems to affect all iPhones, regardless of carrier, although Whirlpool hackers have come up with a workaround for Optus customers. Telstra is also aware of the problem, sending this message to reader William's wife:

"Service Message: If your iphone is running 3.0 OS any SMS sent to 2 or more recipients gets converted and charged as an MMS. A fix is being developed & we will notify when this has been completed. You can turn off MMS funcionality through the "settings" menu to avaid MMs charges in the interim."

So if this has happened to you, it appears you have two options: switch off MMS in the settings menu whenever you want to send a group SMS, try this fix on the Whirlpool forums. Although a third option would also be to bitch about it to both your carrier and Apple. Considering I'll never use MMS, I'm gonna go for the first one.

[Whirlpoolthanks William!]



    I'm with virgin on my iPhone 3G.

    I always send sms to multiple friends and the fact that I can send a MMS to 100 people and it only cost me the price of 1 MMS is the best thing ever!

    What carriers don't include MMS in their CAPS? that's just the stupidest thing..

    I kept getting SMS via swirly MMS on my first gen phone...i can see clearly nowwwww

    THIS is why i say it should just all be folded into a 'data' plan, telcos (purposely) make the fee structure so complicated! calls, sms, mms ect should just all be sent over 'the net' as data. of course this means everyone would have to get a new phone, but it wouldn't have to be a smart phone to have net access, and i think its well worth it!

    This is pretty old news. It was being discussed on Whirlpool a couple of days before the final release, while people were using the gold master version.

    I'm sure Apple will fix it in the next update.

      No arguments from me Sam – it is pretty old news. That doesn't mean that it's not newsworthy... Especially considering that Telstra has acknowledged it and claims to be working on a fix.

        The fix is as easy as the carrier (i.e. Telstra) updating their carrier file and pushing it out via iTunes.

        I just checked iTunes and Three have just released a carrier settting, which fixes the issue. Pretty funny that the only carrier that doesn't sell the iPhone (not for another week) is the only one to have the proper settings.

    You can download a custom carrier file which can also switch this off. I have done this for my iPhone running on Three.

    Nick - definitely relevant news. This switch is a carrier-enabled option, and requires changes to be submitted by carriers to the carrier.plist / *.IPCC pushed by Apple on behalf of them.

    If customers want a fix to this - pester your carriers, they are the one who need to submit the fix to Apple and request the option changed in their carrier.plist. The current behaviour is the "default" for the iPhone, and will remain that way unless Apple are told otherwise by Optus, Telstra or Vodafone.

    There are now updated carrier settings from iTunes for all Aussie telcos, just plug your iPhone and click Update from iTunes. The biggest beneficiaries are 3 users where iPhone will automatically configure APN, MMS settings when a 3 SIM is inserted. The group SMS as MMS bug is also fixed, tethering is available too as well as the "Call Forwarding Active" dialog has been removed.


    A temporary workaround for this problem is to add additional contacts by pressing the "+" button and searching for the contact through your address book, rather than typing in the contacts name.

    The other option is to keep your carrier file in tact, and wait for the OS 3.1 update. The beta is out to developers, and it has fixed the issue

    You're a bit late here.

    Optus have already fixed it a week ago. Just plug your phone into iTunes.

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