Having problems opening picture messages on your smartphone?

Has your phone been having problems opening pictures texted to you? Do you just get a Downloading message but the picture(s) never actually open? Does your mobile say sending but never actually sends anything? Here are some steps to get your MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) working correctly.

This is a pretty uncommon issue but does happen and there are multiple causes, so follow the steps below and we should be able to fix this very annoying issue. These instructions are written primarily for an Android user but the main process and steps used should work for just about any smart phone.

Step 1: Recent Changes

Has this issue started happening within the last week or so? What was the last application that you downloaded onto your phone? Weird issues like this often point to a third party app (application) as the culprit, especially if the app involves texting or messaging. Note: Even those apps from the official marketplace are considered 3rd party apps and can cause strange problems such as this.

If you downloaded an app for a cleaner messaging user interface or perhaps more messaging features then try sending a message through your default messaging app (try the one that came with the phone). If it worked then check that third party app for updates (especially if the phones software was just updated). Apps don’t always update as fast as the phones there running on, which of course can cause issues. If there is no update then try uninstalling the app. To uninstall go into your app manager select the app you want to remove and click the uninstall option. Once it’s uninstalled from your phone, turn off the phone for 10 seconds turn it back on, and then send a test message. Make sure you send a picture if that’s the issue you were having. You can even send a test message to yourself if you need to, sounds weird but it’s an option if you don’t have someone to send a message to right at the moment.

If that’s not the case and it’s still problematic then go through your most recent applications (especially the ones you downloaded before or around the time that the issues started), and uninstall those apps. Note: if you don’t think that you will be able to remember the apps you’re removing then write them down, that way you can re-download them if they were not the cause.

After you uninstall your apps power cycle (power it off then back on) the mobile phone and send another test message. If it worked your good to go, just watch the apps you download, especially on phones running on the Android OS (Operating System). You can even re-download some of the apps you removed if you want, just make sure you only do it one at a time, and try the app out thoroughly before downloading another. Note: If you download an app and your phone starts having problems then it’s probably that app causing the problems and you should uninstall that application and not use it any more. If you have uninstalled your apps and are still having trouble with your messaging then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Swatting the bug

Sounds like you got a bug or glitch in your software, maybe even a virus. An app might have put something on there or you might have picked something up online or sometimes bugs and glitches just occur. Don’t worry it’s still fixable. What you need to do is backup your phone and then perform a complete Factory Data Reset, wiping everything from your phone. This will erase everything off your phone and basically put the phone to how it was when you first got it. The mobile phones going to think its brand new right off the shelf, and if it is a bug or glitch it will fix the issue. With the messaging issue you’re experiencing it is almost certainly going to fix your issue. If it doesn’t, which I think it will, then we will get to that in Step 3. What you need to do right now is perform the backup and reset. If you have an Android smartphone then I recommend you click here and follow the instructions listed on that page. If you don’t need assistance with the backup and reset then go ahead and do them re-setup your phone (like you did when you first got it, don’t forget to check your Gmail before doing the reset). Once your phone is setup and running then send some test messages. If it’s still problematic (I highly doubt it will be) then come back to this page and proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Checking your SIM card

If you’re having issues with messaging, or having audio issues, or connection issues like dropped calls or can’t make and receive calls then it could point to an old or malfunctioning SIM card. Your SIM is what communicates with the server/towers and most phones need them to have service. I recommend, if you can, to try your SIM in another phone and see if that phone will send/receive messages correctly. If it still will not work, even in another phone, then go to a store for an in person SIM replacement, or contact your cell phone providers Customer Care number so they can ship you a new one. Note: if you need a replacement then let them know you’re having problems with your service and your SIM won’t let you message even if it’s in another phone and they shouldn’t charge you for the replacement.

If it works in the other phone just fine then it’s not the SIM card. Put it back into its original phone and proceed to step 4.

Step 3: Contact your service provider

You have done the backup, done the Factory Data Reset; your phone is nice and clean with factory settings and no third party applications, you tested your SIM (if your phone requires one) and you’re still having messaging problems then here’s what you do. If the problem is that it keeps saying downloading and never opens, then your phone is most likely going to need to be replaced. It means that your phone is receiving the picture or file but just can’t open it pointing to a strong likelihood of a phone issue as opposed to network related issue. If that’s the case you should read I can’t fix my phone, now what should I do or continue with the instructions on this page, there is still a very slight chance that that issue can be fixed. If it’s just not sending the message or showing that the message was sent but the person or people you send it to never get the message, etc then it could be a provisioning error on your wireless service provider’s end. Give them a call tell them your issue and ask if they can reconnect you to the network. 

Ask them to check your IMEI number in the system and send an OTA (Over The Air Activation) to your phone and also have them make sure the features on your account have not been changed or altered, also make sure they are the correct features for your specific phone. Ask them to check for any provisioning errors, if other people are having issues in your area too, then have them check the towers in your area as well. If you get a good rep or a tech agent they should know what to do on their end. They will most likely have you power the phone off while they do what they need to, so don’t call them from the phone having the issues, they will then have you power the mobile on and test it out. If it works then you’re all set, if it doesn’t ask the agent what options are available as far as a replacement.

Step 4: Replacing the unit

If this issue has a huge impact in the functionality of the phone and you have tried the steps listed above (make sure you did the factory reset), and your still having issues with the phone, then you might want to look into replacing the unit. I recommend you look into filing a warranty or insurance claim and if you can’t do either of those then looking into your upgrade and purchasing options.

Step 5: Enjoy

Those options above should get you taken care of one way or another. Enjoy your phone and don’t forget to turn it off for a few minutes every few days for the health of the phone. Also don’t hesitate to search the site. There are many articles to help you use your mobile phone to its full potential and you’ll probably find out some interesting things you didn’t know before.

Oh yeah! I’m always looking to improve the site. If you have any tips or suggestions, or notice a typo or have a question or even a friendly comment, don’t hesitate to leave one below or get in touch with me through my contact page to let me know. Enjoy your phone and enjoy the site.

This INTEL was submitted by:

If you found this content

Informative Helpful Instructive Beneficial Valuable Educational Useful



Help others find this by sharing it...

1 thought on “Having problems opening picture messages on your smartphone?”

  1. Picture sms not downloded
    I’m using xperia mini pro sk17i. there is some problem in my android that can’t download picture sms in everytime… Very urgent photos stucks.. so need a valuable solution to receive those photos…

Comments are closed.