Perhaps you’ve asked and wondered, can I still receive texts with cellular data off? Is cellular data something that can affect the way you send and receive text messages?
The long wait is over, because, in this guide, we will unravel the truth about text messages and cellular data!
If you’re unsure whether you’ll still be able to get and send texts even if your data is off, you can! Cellular data or mobile data doesn’t affect your ability to send and receive texts, even calls!
For you to be able to understand it better let us quickly go over what cellular data is and how it’s related or connected to texting or messaging.
Cellular data or mobile data is your phone’s ability to connect to the internet using the dedicated signals and receptions of mobile phone providers.
Therefore, with cellular data, you wouldn’t need to be connected to WiFi to access the internet!
It uses its own set of internal antennas to find towers it can connect to so you could be connected to the internet.
Many people treat cellular data as their backup for when their internet connections become faulty.
It’s like something that they can rely on for them to still be connected to the internet.
If you’re at home and you’re connected to WiFi, it’s advised to turn mobile data off so that you can save your smartphone’s battery and for you to avoid any overage on your mobile data bill.
Even if you’re always on the go, it’s not advisable to keep it turned on if you don’t need the internet.
The best and most ideal time to have it turned on is only when you need to be connected to the internet and you can’t detect any WiFi network.
Turning off cellular data on your device does not necessarily mean that you’re removing its “cellular” functionality.
What happens when you turn it off would just deactivate its independent capability of using its antennas to connect to mobile cell towers.
Its major use is to give you an internet connection, which is not, in any way connected to how you’re able to make or receive SMS or text messages and calls.
So, if its primary purpose is to allow me to have an internet connection even if I am not in a WiFi zone, can I still get texts with cellular data off?
Wouldn’t I miss text messages if I have it turned off?
Yes, you can still receive texts even if your cellular or mobile data is not activated. It’s a different technicality or functionality of your phone and it’s not connected to each other.
You can even receive incoming calls or make outgoing calls while your cellular data is turned off!
However, there are instances when people don’t realize that they are using iMessage on their iPhones instead of the regular SMS or text messaging facility.
For Android, they could mistake regular texts for WhatsApp, Viber, and even Facebook Messenger for regular texts.
iMessage is Apple’s online text messaging facility, where it allows Apple users to communicate with each other over the internet.
Should this be what the person who texted you used, and you’re not connected to the internet, then you wouldn’t be able to receive the text.
For WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber, though, it’ll be a completely different application (not through the phone’s messages).
So, how do you distinguish these online messaging apps from regular text messages?
The primary difference between iMessage and regular texts (SMS) is that iMessages usually have a blue color, while regular SMS are in green.
You should find it easy and simple to determine because the hues and colors would be distinguishable.
However, you can actually change your phone’s messages from iMessage to text and vice versa.
Here’s how you can do it:
- On your iPhone, go to All Apps > Settings.
- From Settings, go to Messages.
- Scroll through the list of options and look for iMessage.
- Toggle it ON/OFF depending on what you want to use.
That’s it for iPhones, what about for Android devices?
For Android phones and SIM-enabled tablets, it’ll be easier and simpler to determine if it’s a regular text or if it’s an online messaging facility because it doesn’t use the phone’s messaging app – it uses the independent messaging facility of the device.
To give you an example, if your friend sent you a message on WhatsApp and you are neither connected to WiFi nor do you have your cellular data turned on, you wouldn’t receive the message.
However, if the person used regular SMS to text you, you should be able to receive it even if you are not connected to the internet.
To give a sweet and straight answer, no, your cellular data doesn’t need to be turned on for you to use your phone’s texting facility.
However, if you are going to use online messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Viber, and others, you’ll need to turn on or activate mobile or cellular data if you aren’t able to find WiFi networks you can connect to.
That wraps up our discussion about whether or not you’ll be able to receive text messages even if your mobile or cellular data is turned off or deactivated.
So, you will still be able to receive and make regular text messages or SMS, but you wouldn’t be able to if you are going to use online messaging programs and applications.
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In case you’re worried about not receiving text messages on time because you have your cellular data turned off, don’t worry – you will get it even if you aren’t connected to the internet. Unless you’re using online messaging programs, you should be good to go.
If you’re part of the demographic that isn’t sure if you need cellular data for your text messages, this guide is perfect for you!
The next time you ask, can I still receive text messages with cellular data off, you can easily go back to this guide and learn how to differentiate regular text messages or SMS from online messaging applications.
The best part is that you don’t need to have full technical know-how to do and accomplish it!
Finn Wheatley holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from UCL, London. He helped small data science consultancy firms, helping large corporations to grow their data capabilities, deploy advanced machine learning-based analytics and troubleshoot tech-related issues.