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Trouble sending MMS on the Nexus 6? Here are a couple solutions

Problem lies with Google Messenger and APNs used by some carriers

Mobile communication might be shifting more towards data-based services all the time, but the humble text message (SMS) and multimedia message (MMS) aren't going away anytime soon. Both are vital functions of any smartphone, and so when one of them's not working on your device, it's no small deal. Recently we've discovered an issue affecting the stock Google Messenger app loaded on the Nexus 6 on some carriers.

Specifically, we've found that out of the box, the Nexus 6 (and Nexus 5 on Lollipop, should you download Google Messenger) fail to send MMS messages on certain carriers, including EE in the UK. (Receiving MMS seems to be unaffected.) It's a frustrating problem, but fortunately there's an easy fix.

The workaround: Simply use a different SMS app

Google Hangouts doesn't have any of the issues we've seen in Messenger — switching to Hangout for SMS and MMS messages seems to bypass the problem, as Hangouts is apparently smart enough to use the correct APNs (access point names) for sending MMS. To let Hangouts handle all your text messages, open the app, slide out the menu panel from the right, then hit Settings > SMS and tap the button at the top to make the switch.

APNs

The solution: Delete unnecessary APNs

The source of the problem seems to be Messenger getting confused over which APNs to use to send MMS messages. The simplest solution we've come up with is to remove any extra APNs, leaving Messenger with only the correct one to use. To do so, go to Settings > Wireless & networks > More > Mobile networks > Access point names.

Removing extraneous APNs forces Messenger to use the correct ones

Here you should see a list of APNs, which may include some for your carrier and any MVNOs (virtual operators) that run on the same network. In the case of EE in the UK, you need to delete all but "EE Internet" and "EE MMS." To do this, tap the APN you want to delete, then hit the three dots in the top left corner, then tap "delete APN" — you'll need to do this for each APN you want to remove.

More: What is an APN and how do I change it?

For other carriers where you're experiencing MMS issues, try deleting any APNs that don't relate to your carrier of choice. You can easily restore all APNs by hitting the menu button (three dots) on the APN overview page, then tapping "reset to default," so if you find yourself without data connectivity due to a deleted APN, just do this and you'll be back to normal.

Once your Nexus device has only the necessary APNs loaded, and no extras, Messenger should be able to send MMS messages properly.

Wrapping up

The issue seems to be specific to Google Messenger on Nexus devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop — likely a combination of the APNs preloaded on the device, the carrier in use and some wonkiness with Messenger itself. (It's also worth underscoring that this issue is likely unrelated to the problems some folks are reporting getting text and multimedia messages to work on the Sprint Nexus 6.)

The underlying bug here is Google's to fix, but at least it's easy to sidestep these issues once you know how.

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex is global Executive Editor for Android Central, and is usually found in the UK. He has been blogging since before it was called that, and currently most of his time is spent leading video for AC, which involves pointing a camera at phones and speaking words at a microphone. He would just love to hear your thoughts at alex@androidcentral.com, or on the social things at @alexdobie.

54 Comments
  • Yeah Messenger has just been useless from the get go, and ugly to boot. I have tried using it multiple times on my Note 3, but always end up going back to Hangouts, it's just better all around plus it doesn't look like a clown threw up all over the place (messenger is way too bright). In addition I find that the text bars don't extend all the way across the screen on messenger like they do on hangouts and that just annoys the heck out of me. Posted via Android Central App
  • Agreed. I wanted to like Messenger but Hangouts just does it all and it does it better. Especially if you use both a GV# and your carrier#. Plus there's always the perk of IM will Hangouts and calls. Posted via Android Central App
  • I find hangouts too bulky and slow though.. Do you find that? Compared to other messaging options Posted via the Android Central App
  • You think Messenger is ugly and not hangouts? Wow.
  • Same way I feel about most of the material design stuff honestly. I downloaded messenger then deleted it immediately when I saw it
  • The material designed apps look amazing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I quit using hangouts for sms/mms in favor of messenger.
    Why? Because iPhone users send everyone they know iMessage messages! Even though I don't have an iPhone. They don't understand the difference! In hangouts, I'm not able to receive images when sent as a Group iMessage, and I can't see who all is on the message group. i can only see a blank message from the original sender. Messenger alleviates this problem altogether. Considering most of my friends and family have iPhones, this was a deal breaker for me in using hangouts. I still use hangouts all the time with my android friends, but for sms/mms, for me... messenger is the way to go without question.
  • I'm having no trouble at all sending and receiving MMS on my N6 using Messenger. I'm on Verizon's network.
  • Me either. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Like I said in the post, this seems to be specific to just a few networks, including EE in the UK.
  • You didn't actually expect people to have read the article then comment did you? lol Not in today's world.
  • I've always had issues with group texts and it would just get stuck saying Mms message could not download. I've been on T-Mobile and this issue has existed through several phones and across a few different text apps... Have always thought it was because ios/ichat doesn't play nice. Posted via Android Central App
  • Same here with T-Mobile. Was only affecting MMS to iPhones. 3 Different phones now.
  • Messenger alleviates the group iMessage issues that hangouts has.
    im on t-mobile, and using messenger allows me to see group iMessage mms/sms from idiot iPhone users. Tested and confirmed on a tmo note 3 and oneplus one.
  • The issue is if you are on Verizon you the APN settings isnt even available.. You cant edit the APN settings when using google hang out either
  • To edit your APN settings, messenger has to be your default app. Then you go into settings in the messenger app itself. Not the way that it is described in the above article.
  • I've had a mms issue sending. I'm using messenger on note 3 on Att. I can send pictures I take easily. I CANNOT send a picture I download from get Web. I tried everything but nothing seems to work. It's almost like the picture doesn't get compressed. Any ideas? Posted via Android Central App
  • Stop using Messenger. If you don't like Hangouts try Textra. It's similar to Messenger, but way better. Messenger is a beta test IMO. I'm really irritated with Google for always releasing half baked apps like this. They should just fix Hangouts. IMO texting/mms/sms should all be like ios imessage. As much as it pains me to admit it, Apple does it right, far better than android. Posted via Android Central App
  • I think it's an issue with chrome downloading the images.. I've had this issue forever on many apps Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you are on Sprint you get to send messages to people multiple times.
  • So Sprint's multiple messages cancel out the messages that don't get sent on other networks. Problem solved!
  • Yeah, it'd be great if they would get that fixed up sometime soon. It's pretty annoying.
  • Not just an issue on Nexus, also an issue on sprint galaxy s5 with 4.4.4
  • dont forget to include the HTCOne M7 on sprint to the list.
  • Funny never saw an issue with sprint, the s5, nor 4.4.4 Or the HTC m7 on sprint Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • Im on sprint and mine dont say mobile networks, it says Cellular networks. Then it just lists data roaming, preferred network type, system select and carrier settings (which only has update profile and prl). Can't see anywhere with APN settings at quick glance? I'm at work, so I don't have time to dig in further yet.
  • The only way to see APN settings on Sprint or VZW, is if you have messenger set as your default app. Then you can access the settings in the messenger app. Not how it is outlined in the article above.
  • Missing from the list: Don't use beta software, wait for the oems to do it right. Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • I had the MMS issue with Messenger when my Nexus 5 updated. Sure enough, there were two new ATT APNs (I'm on StraightTalk) but they were both unchecked. Removing them completely solved the problem...
  • I had the MMS issue on my note 3 but it updated yesterday and it seems to be fixed Posted via the Android Central App
  • I uninstalled this app when I could not send/receive MMS or group messaging while on WiFi. (GS4 on T-Mo)
  • It appears to be the case with all non stock Google sms apps ( this and hangouts).. For me at least... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have a good trick to solve that actually. It's called the LG G3.
  • *facepalm*
  • *Palmface* Posted via the Android Central App
  • How is this even an issue being that it's one of the main purposes of a phone to send text messages? Phone's come with built in messaging apps from the carriers. Is this an overseas problem? By overseas I mean other country than United States. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm in the US and the Google app doesn't work as well as the oem one ( I have a gs5).. My stock app can send mms over wifi etc, while both hangouts and this app can't and need a data connection... It seems odd to me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Add HTC One M7 on giffgaff to this list too. Hangouts wont send/receive MMS. Can't add any APN's either. Screen stays blank when you try. I hadn't tried the trick of leaving one APN there, tho. I guess using the O2 one would suffice?
  • I have this app on my gs5 and it can't send mms over wifi or wifi calling.. ( stock messaging app can).. Anyone know how to fix that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I was using it on my Note 4 and the only thing I found was it would take over 5 minutes just to download the picture if I got an MMS. If it wasn't for that I'd be happy, so I am giving Textra a go. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Tetra is amazing and free. I was looking for a replacement app for my Sprint Note 4 and tried Messenger, but it would take light years to relieve texts and MMS. I found out that it dosent support wifi texting and had to use a cellular connection.
  • One word: Textra. Get it and just be done with it. Solves ALL your SMS/MMS issues and looks great. Works perfectly with group MMS with iPhone users. DO IT!
  • I've been having a similar issue with my GS5 on Verizon. Instead of not being able to send MMS it takes exactly 5 minutes for me to see them after they're received. I just see "MMS is Downloading" until the 5 minute mark. It's almost always exactly 5 minutes. I've looked at the APN in settings and the only option to choose from is Verizon Internet. Is there anything else that could be causing this?
  • I don't have a N6, I have a Note 4 on AT&T however, I have been having major MMS issues with Google Messenger since the get go. I can send a photo but cannot receive. Just keeps saying it is retrieving or something like that. I only have one APN listed and is is AT&T branded. Anyone have any suggestions or is it like this across the board like i've been hearing?
  • Having issues sending out MMS from my M8 on Rogers wirless. Keeps showing "sending" forever.
  • http://apn-settings.com/us/att-apn-settings/ I found these APN settings for the Nexus 6 for AT&T. I used them for my HTC M8 and they worked. I finally can use google messenger again and send mms. So if these settings work on my phone they should work for ours. Posted via the Android Central App
  • http://apn-settings.com/us/att-apn-settings/ These are the APN settings I used for my HTC M8 for AT&T. Google Messenger quit sending mms after lollipop update. The app is working perfect now and oem messenger, and Google hangouts are also working just fine on top of it. I would imagine this will work on any phone on the AT&T network, but i haven't tried so let us know. Guess this is were I say also try at your own risk but there is isn't really. You an always set to default and you will be back to stock setting with google messenger no sending mms.
  • I started having this problem on my Nexus 5 after the April 30 2015 Messenger Update and none of these steps work. I had an MMS problem originally when Messenger was introduced where Messenger MMS wouldn't work but it would work on Hangouts. Now it won't work on any service- Messenger, hangouts, Chomp, Textra, Go Pro - Tried them all and all n ow fail to send MMS and this happened right after updated Messenger yesterday. Carrier is Straight Talk with an ATT LTE SIM. APN setting are accurate ; SMS will go through but no MMS. Did all above steps, deleted other APNS, even restored original APNS to delete them and create a brand new Straight Talk APN but still no longer can send MMS on Nexus 5 at all. ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS?
  • I use a nexus 6, tried all the options from changing to hangouts, deleting APNs, ensuring SMS is active but still unable to send SMS
  • I got a new solution which works.
    The problem seems to be the SMS Message Centre Number is not set properly. I got the number from my service provider and set it in the screen got by dialing *#*#4636#*#* Check out this link
    arledia . be / android . html It also has list of Message Centre Numbers.
  • Sms works fine if sent to one person, but in case of multiple recipients it covers that MMS.
    WHY GOOGLE WHY? I may send same sms to many contacts, why convert that to mms?
  • I've had a mms issue sending. I'm using messenger on note 3 on Att. I can send pictures I take easily. I CANNOT send a picture I download from get Web. I tried everything but nothing seems to work. It's almost like the picture doesn't get compresse http://howtorootandroid.net/kingroot/
  • I can't send pics at all to sms recipients using Hangouts on my Nexus 6p. It's getting really frustrating...
  • Okay each carrier and phone has a different set up for APN. For nexus6 t-mobile this link has instruction to fix it: https://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-32195 In conclusion google your phone and carrier example us this is........ t mobile wireless apn settings android nexus 6 good luck