How to stop sending iMessage texts to a Contact


So, I had this issue: my Father-in-Law had replaced his iPhone with a Samsung Galaxy III. However, my iPhone insisted on sending iMessages to him even though his mobile number had been ported across to the new phone. This led to messages never getting to him or failing.

So, for those of you who don’t know, if you send an iMessage from your iPhone and it is struggling to get through (classic example of this occurring was during the Boxing Day Sales at our local shopping centre… too many people have iPhones these days :P), you can hold your finger down on the iMessage bubble and you will get the option to “Send as Text Message”.

This is great!  However, you don’t want to have to do this EVERY time you want to text someone who has broken their shackles and fled the Apple Eco-system.  After a bit of searching, I discovered on a forum that after you force a number of iMessage txts to “Send as Text Message”, your iPhone gets the point, and stops sending iMessage texts to that person (though no one could agree how many texts that needed to be forced).

My solution to this is simple:

  1. On your iPhone, go to the Message app.
  2. Tap the “New Message” icon.
  3. In the To field, select the Contact that you wish to stop sending texts via iMessage to.
  4. In the message field, type “?” and tap the Send button.
  5. Hold your finger on the new text “bubble” and select “Send as Text Message”.
  6. Repeat Step 4 & Step 5 until your iPhone stops trying to automatically send your texts to that Contact via iMessage.



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  1. #1 by Ally on Dec 6, 2013 - 8:37 am

    This was so helpful. I had the same problem trying to text my friend who recently got a Droid and i couldn’t find a solution. It worked in about 3 messages.

  2. #2 by Nick on Jan 14, 2014 - 7:47 am

    Worked very well! fixed it in 3 messages also, great trick!

  3. #3 by Gary on Jan 25, 2014 - 2:36 am

    It work for me as well. But then the next day it went right back to the same problem.

    • #4 by Rob on Feb 3, 2014 - 1:13 am

      Same here Gary…

      Not sure if it’ll work, but I found another post that said that the old iPhone user needs to unlink their number from iMessage.
      To do this go to:
      Log in
      Click on “Edit Products”
      Click the X to the right of the product
      Click “Unregister”

      I can’t get to the page right now because it is down for scheduled maintenance, but I am hoping it works.

  4. #5 by Angi on May 7, 2014 - 11:42 pm

    I just switched from an Iphone to the Galaxy 5 and I am having the same problem. I turned off all the Imessaging on my old Iphone and am still having the same problem.

  5. #6 by Bill Bloggs on May 12, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    How really stupid of Apple. They come up with great ideas, but never think through the consequences if the person wants to change from Apple, or do things a bit different.

    • #7 by Simon on May 30, 2014 - 9:02 am

      Bill, I think that this is more of a business strategy than not. One of the key things in sales and account management is “locking your customer in”. It is not in a business’s best interest to make it easier for their customers to take their business elsewhere. Apple is just more draconian about this than most other companies.

  6. #8 by Mark on May 24, 2014 - 2:22 am

    So I figured out a better solution…
    In the contact’s information, if you have the number labeled as “iPhone”, then the phone will continue to try to iMessage the contact. But if you change the number label to “Mobile” then the message will default back to text messages rather than iMessages.

    • #9 by Simon on May 30, 2014 - 9:03 am

      Congratulations Mark, if this has worked for you. I have tried this on the two iPhones that we have in the house here and it has made a change for neither phone.
      Out of curiosity, which version of iOS do you have installed?

      • #10 by Mark on May 30, 2014 - 8:10 pm

        So I must admit that this “repair” ended up being temporary. Yesterday, everything reverted back to iMessage again. So back to the drawing board. I will keep trying and let everyone know if I come up with a working solution. Sorry for the misinformation.

      • #11 by Simon on Jun 12, 2014 - 12:58 pm

        No worries, Mark! There has been more than one occasion where I thought I had an Apple issue licked only to be shown up by it again… *wry grin*

  7. #12 by Roseanne on Jun 12, 2014 - 10:37 am

    After digging around this is the only thing that actually worked. THANK YOU for this article.

  8. #13 by Jessica on Nov 9, 2014 - 12:01 pm

    Oh my goodness thank you! I was going crazy!

  9. #14 by Natan Bregman on Jul 27, 2016 - 11:33 am

    Thank you so much, this worked for me

  10. #15 by Janet on Oct 7, 2016 - 3:56 pm

    With the new software update you cannot hold your finger on the text bubble. How do you get the option to send as a text?

    • #16 by Simon on Oct 10, 2016 - 7:05 pm

      Sorry Janet, but I have long left behind my days of using an iPhone (as has my Father In Law… thank goodness!). I have heard of all sorts of grief with the latest OS update but unfortunately I can no longer help you with this.
      Good luck!

      • #17 by Erique on May 19, 2017 - 4:06 pm

        Well done, Simon, if only more people would see the light!

  11. #18 by J S on Jan 23, 2017 - 7:49 pm

    This was very helpful and has worked with the latest iphones to my Samsung S7 so far. Fingers crossed. I will never use Apple again.

  12. #19 by Erique on May 19, 2017 - 4:05 pm

    Typical Apple, that’s why they’re not getting another buck of my cash, I used to have three Apple computers, and iPhone, iPad mini and an iPad Pro…but this 2012 Macbook is the last thing I am having that is Apple.

    They make simple things complicated, and have gone from an intuitive interface to a puzzling one, leave aside the fact that this ‘green’ company is making mostly disposable products with built-in obsolescence.

    I finally figured out why they make it so hard for people to revert back to or change to competitors products, because Apple’s is so poor and so expensive, if they made it easy to leave no one would buy the crud.

  13. #20 by Toney on Nov 23, 2017 - 3:10 am

    I only have instant messenger and messaging there is no message apt so how do I send a text message to their phone number

  14. #21 by Robert Norton on Dec 22, 2017 - 1:56 pm

    Mine worked for a couple of messages and then reverted to iMessage again. I wonder if it’s because of there being an ICloud email address in the contact. I mean, I know that Apple somehow determines that the phone number is an iOS device. What I need to do I guess is to trigger Apple to re-do whatever it does to determine the device’s status, but I want to keep the old text messages and call history so I don’t want to delete and re-create the contact. Hmm. Maybe mess with the phone numbers and save the contact. We’ll see.

  15. #22 by Adrienne on Dec 30, 2017 - 7:29 am


    • #23 by Simon on Dec 30, 2017 - 8:17 am

      Adrienne, if that comment was for me, then you are truly welcome. I just found this so frustrating that I had to write an article on it.
      Now, it has been over 4 years since I wrote the article and it seems to still be a pain in the arse. I’ve been on Android for most of that time now, and am happier for it.
      If you do want to migrate away from Apple to the Android ecosystem, I would recommend Samsung. Their Samsung Stores provide fantastic after sale service, whether you have bought directly from them or not (as long as you are under warranty).

  16. #24 by Jeff on Feb 25, 2018 - 11:52 pm

    It’s 2018 and I’m having this problem with the iPhone X! I am astonished to learn that this problem came up in 2013 yet and I wonder why people at Apple never bothered about it. They could have at least provided the necessary settings. By the way, this worked for me. (Of course, I had to explain why I was sending “?” messages. Thanks!

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