How to Fix Receiving Delayed or Late SMS or Text Messages on iPhone

As a fellow iPhone user, I feel your pain. You send a text to your friend, but for some reason they don’t get it until hours later! Not cool. I’ve been there myself, staring at my phone and wondering why the heck my messages take forever to deliver on iOS iMessage service. 

Delayed or late when receiving text messages used to drive me absolutely bonkers. I’d send time-sensitive texts that arrived too late to matter. Made me want to toss my iPhone out the window! But before you rage quit on your phone, hang tight – we can fix this. 

After dealing with laggy SMS/MMS issues myself, I learned some helpful troubleshooting tips to get text messages sent and received on time again on an Apple device. Let me share what I’ve discovered. First we’ll look at why your iPhone is stalling on delivering texts in the first place.

Why Your iPhone Texts Get Delayed – Understanding the Causes

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The key to any problem is figuring out what’s causing it under the hood. In our case, there are a few usual suspects that could explain why your iPhone won’t send or receive texts promptly on iMessage messenger:

  • Weak Cellular or Wi-Fi Signal – If you have barely any signal bars, your texts get stuck in limbo waiting to send. Time to relocate closer to a cell tower!
  • Enabled Do Not Disturb Mode – This useful setting unintentionally blocks incoming text notifications. Check to see it’s not enabled during normal hours.
  • Outdated Carrier Settings – Your cellular provider sends updates to optimize performance. But if you’re behind, texts chug along slowly.
  • Messaging Settings Misconfigured – Double check SMS and MMS messaging options are set properly in Settings.
  • iOS Software Bugs or Glitches – Apple isn’t perfect – flaws in iOS can also delay text messages until they release a fix.
  • Server Problems on Your Carrier’s End – Issues with your cellular provider’s servers can also bottleneck and stall message delivery.

Now that we know what’s likely causing the holdup, let’s jump into the solutions.

6 Fixes to Stop Late or Delayed iPhone Text or SMS Messages for iOS Users


Take these troubleshooting steps to get your iMessages and standard texts delivered on time again with prompt notifications:

1. Check Your Cellular and Wi-Fi Connections

First things first – confirm you have a strong internet connection, both cellular and Wi-Fi. Without enough signal bars, your texts will lag big time. 

To check cellular strength, go to Settings > Cellular. If the signal is weak, physically move closer to a cell tower or window. For Wi-Fi users, run a speed test and move closer to your router if needed.

2. Give Your iPhone a Restart

Restarting means clearing out any gremlins or software glitches stalling message delivery. 

Just press and hold the Side button and Volume button together until the power slider appears. Drag down the slider to turn it off. Wait 30 seconds, then hold down the Side button again until you see the Apple logo power back on. 

3. Update to the Latest iOS Version

Speaking of software issues, make sure your iPhone is totally up to date! Apple is constantly working behind the scenes to fix bugs affecting text messages in new iOS versions.

Go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest iOS release. Keeping your system completely current should help resolve any known message delays.

4. Toggle Airplane Mode On and Off

Flipping Airplane Mode on and then off again essentially forces your iPhone to reconnect to the cellular network. This can give your device a kickstart if connectivity problems were the issue. 

Just swipe down from the top right to access Control Center and tap the Airplane Mode icon. Wait 15-30 seconds with it on, then tap again to disable Airplane Mode.

5. Reset Your Network Settings

If all else fails, try resetting your network settings back to factory default. This wipes any problematic network connections or weird data that could be slowing down texts.

Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. Don’t worry – this won’t erase any of your personal data, just network stuff!

6. Call Your Cellular Carrier Support

Finally, contact your cellular provider or carrier and ask them to look into your delayed texts. There could be issues on their end with your account settings, SIM card, or even the carrier servers themselves. Your provider should help troubleshoot further.

Whew, that was a lot of suggestions to try! But going through each step methodically should reveal what’s causing your iPhone texting delays. Then you can finally get back to prompt text conversations. Let me know if the issues continue even after all this! Hopefully your messages send and receive in a timely manner again.

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