Top 6 Myths About MMS Debunked

Does multimedia Messaging use data


Text messaging can be expensive.Text messaging can be expensive.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The iPhone is a powerful communication tool that many owners use for its text messaging capability. Business owners who send many messages a day can rack up large bills from their wireless carriers quickly unless they have unlimited texting plans. Knowing the ways that the iPhone can send text messages to your contacts can prevent the use of your data allowance on the phone and save money. The iPhone sends both traditional text messages and Apple's proprietary iMessages from the Messages app.

SMS

By default, the iPhone sends text messages over your cellular network through a service called Short Messaging Service. While SMS messages don’t count against your data plan, your carrier charges for each message sent and received if text messages aren’t included in your plan. Long messages can be even more costly, as each 160 characters in a message may be charged separately. In the iPhone’s Messages app, texts sent via SMS have a green background.

MMS

Messages that include a photo or video use a technology called Multimedia Messaging Service. Your cellular carrier likely charges for MMS messages separately from SMS messages, but they don’t consume your data plan. There’s no character limit for MMS messages, although your carrier may set a limit on the size of the image or video clip. MMS messages also display a green background in the Messages app.

iMessage

Apple includes a service called iMessage with iOS 5 and later, which allows users to send messages to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Macintosh OS X users over a Wi-Fi connection without incurring SMS or MMS fees or using any of your cellular data allowance. IMessages can also be sent over a cellular connection when Wi-Fi is unavailable, and these messages use your data plan allowance. Messages sent as iMessages over Wi-Fi display a blue background in the Messages app.

Preventing Cellular Data Use

You would need to send thousands of 160 character messages to use a megabyte of data, but photos and videos consume data much more quickly. Use a Wi-Fi network to send images. To prevent accidental cellular data usage on the iPhone, open the Settings app, scroll to the Messages section and turn off “Send as SMS” and “MMS Messaging.”

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