Android 12’s March 5 update arrived with little more than just security fixes. Unfortunately, the hotfix also came with a bug that resulted in multiple user reports not be able to receive multimedia messages (MMS).
It seems inconsequential, but the bug prevented people from not only sending and receiving images and videos, but also from fully participating in group chats.
At the time of writing, Google has neither addressed the issue directly nor released a patch to address the problem, although users on specialized forums Say it should happen soon. Without the help of the company, people had to find solutions on their own.
Why is this bug so annoying
The fact that Android and iOS don’t get along when it comes to messaging is well known to anyone who texts people walking across the OS street. This is because Apple refuses to adopt Rich Communication Services (RCS), a universal text messaging protocol that supports end-to-end encryption and instead uses its own iMessage protocol, which is incompatible with Android. Company insists iMessage is safer, but some think it’s a strategy fueled by peer pressure to sell more devices. Whatever the reason, the only losers in this battle are the users, forced to communicate between the two operating systems using the much less secure and archaic SMS and MMS protocols.
When it comes to group texting, it only takes one person with a different device to move the whole conversation to the MMS. This is why people affected by the Android bug cannot send or receive messages in many of their group chats, even if the messages only contain written words. Instead, they see a loading icon on the thread, which ends with a notification from the Messages app a few minutes later that the platform was unable to download the message.
[Related: Stop putting off your device updates]
Since Pixel phones run what is known as stock Android, i.e. an unmodified version of the operating system from manufacturers such as Huawei or OnePlus, users of Google’s flagship devices get the updates first and were most affected by this bug. Yet users wielding Samsung and sony the phones also encountered problems.
How to Fix Android Messages Bug
It’s unclear exactly what the latest Android update does to MMS settings, but users have found it to be something related to Access Point Names (APNs), the gateways between your mobile network and the internet. Most users reporting this issue have devices running on the AT&T network, but you may experience this issue even if you don’t have a plan directly with AT&T. There are other operators, also known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, such as Net10, StraightTalk, and Tracfone, who lease their portion of the spectrum from AT&T, so they technically operate on the network of the company.
Before proceeding and clearing your phone’s network settings or perform a full factory reset on your device– which in my case did nothing – try resetting APN settings to default. To do this, open Settingsgo to Network & Internet, so what SIM. There, scroll down and tap Access Point Names. At the top right, open the kebab menu (three dots in the upper right corner of the screen) and press Reset to default. And that’s it, the changes should immediately fix the problem. But if you continue to have problems, try restarting your phone to make sure the new APN settings are actually working.
If that doesn’t do it, you can manually enter a specific APN configuration, which has worked for some users, including me. To do this, press the plus sign in the upper right corner of the screen to open a Edit access point menu. So copy settings. When you are finished, press the three dot menu again and press To safeguard. Back in the APN menu, select the new APN profile you created and restart your device for the changes to take effect.
If none of this works for you, you may still need to try this factory reset, but you may want to wait for Google to release a fix for the bug, if possible. There are few things worse than wiping your phone for no reason a few hours before a quick fix appears.