Daily Tip: How to enable group MMS text messaging

Have you ever wondered how to send a text message to several people and have their replies reach the whole group? This feature is known as group messaging. To learn exactly what group messaging entails and how to enable it, follow along after the break!

Enabling group messaging is a simple task; but first, let's make sure you understand exactly what group messaging is. Basically, this setting controls whether or not the complete address list is sent to everyone in the group.

  • When OFF, each recipient will be unaware that anyone else received the same message.
  • If you have group messaging set to ON, but your recipient does not, then that recipient will not see the group list.
  • If both you and the recipient have group messaging enabled, then all recipients are displayed.
  • When a recipient of the message replies, it is sent to all members of the group.
  • All messages are included in a single thread and the senders' names will be displayed above each message.
  • If Group Messaging is enabled, messages sent to the group are billed as a single message.

Now that it's understood what all that group messaging entails, how do you enable it? Simple:

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Toggle "Group Messaging" to ON

There you have it! Now you're ready to partake in group text conversations. Have fun and let us know if you have any questions!

UPDATE: Our commenters have pointed out that this feature appears to be

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to enable group MMS text messaging

59 Comments

I have an iPhone 3GS and when I go to settings and the messages, I don't have this option. How come?

When sending a text to multiple recipients, are you charged for a single message or one for each recipient?

No. A text message sent to multiple recipients counts as a separate message to each person. For example, if you send 1 message to 3 people using group messaging, that's charged as 3 text messages.

Nevermind. I was wrong. For all other phones, my statement is true, but Apple set up this special feature in iOS4, so it only counts as one. My bad! Sorry!

I have an iPhone 4 and don't get the option either, I'm guessing o2 don't support it in the UK?

I don't have this in settings but it's still possible to group message, just add a comma after a number or name.

That's not the same as group messaging because the entire recipient isn't sent out. And I believe each recipient would be considered a separate message as well. With group messaging, it only counts as 1 message on your bill.

Yep. One reason I actually don't care much for it. When I get a group text that someone had their baby, I don't want to get 5000 congratulation texts.

Question- If I send a group message, will all of the recipients know that it is a group message, or does it just come in as an individual message? Will they know they are 'replying all'?

My question is somewhat answered in the post but I have always hesitated to use this feature because I never completely understood it.

If they have group messaging enabled, they will see the entire recipient list and know it's a group message. If they do no have it enabled, it will be treated as an individual message for that recipient.

Wow I got really excited when I read this post but sadly I do NOT have it on my 3GS on Telus :( Maybe they will give it to us in 4.3?

It is considered an MMS. Therefore is not compatible with Google Voice SMS. I wish Google would step up there game in this dept. They don't do MMS.

Im on o2 in the UK and I don't have that option in my message settings either so its a definite no for the o2 heads, probably o2's way of stinging the pay as you go crowd or something silly

Leanna, maybe you should research this a bit more to find out why there are so many variations in this feature (if it's carrier specific, if it's iOS specific, how texts are billed, if all parties have to enable it to take advantage of the features, etc...) and then post an update.
This could be potentially costly and embarrassing for people who are not fully informed.

US, AT&T, iPhone 4, iOS 4.2.1
I have group messaging in settings. But it's off since I don't txt.

Am I the only one who hates those goofy iPhone chat bubbles or balloons. Always on the lookout for an SMS program that would display conversations from edge to edge. I have a jailbroken 3GS.

Is there a way to make a group in contacts, so that when I need to send a group text I don't have to add each person individually to the message ? Basically I want to create a group in contacts, then launch SMS and type that group's name, type the message and send.

Updated to reflect that fact that group messages are billed as a single message and that it appears to only be available on AT&T.

Does anyone know how this works with non iPhones?? I've read about issues when sending group texts to, say, Blackberrys and iPhones. I think the Blackberry won't see the message, just some weird MMS notice or something? And I think windows phone gets the message fine, but without group messaging recognition, i.e. no 'reply-all' feature.
It would be GREAT if group messaging worked seamlessly across carriers and different phones (or if iPhone could get something like BBM!). Alas, the competition between phone makers/carriers continues :/

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I don't have the group message option in my iPhone4. I'm using the latest iOS 4.3 beta 3. Does this feature has got any dependency on the service provider?

Ok so I have my group messaging turned off...I received what I thought was a text from my friend sent only to me...I responded to her text...almost right after I received a text from a number I didn't know...keep in mind these texts are separate...after talking to my friend I discovered she had sent the original text as a group text and everyone who responded had their response go to everyone who received the original message...that includes my response that I had thought was only going to her because like I said the text for me came through in my regular thread of ours not in a new "group text" so my question is are my future text messages to her going to be shared with the whole group? Since it didn't come in a separate text how does it work exactly? ( sorry so long but kinda complicated and hope I expelled it well enough :)

I had this happen to me several times, and its really annoying because you don't know that its going to reply to everyone that the original sender sent to....until after you reply! i would delete the thread that has the group message, and turn group messaging off. Thats what i finally had to do. I guess I will turn it back on if i want to group message, but until then I can't have it on or who knows who all i'll be replying to. ITS ANNOYING. did i say that already?

I have the same problem! except my group messaging is on, but instead of everyone's messages going to one thread, it goes seperately. what the heck do i do?

I have the same problem! except my group messaging is on, but instead of everyone's messages going to one thread, it goes seperately. what the heck do i do?

My problem exactly! I don't want anyone else to see my reply except for the sender. Half of those people don't even know me. Has anyone figured out how to respond to group text without having to explain to several other people for the next 20 mins who you are?

This has happened to me twice now. I spent a bunch of time replying to "Who is this" messages with an explanation of what happened. I think you need to be aware of who is in the recipients list, and start a new message if you don't want everyone to see your reply. Kind of kludge.

I agree. It's very confusing. So now if someone texts me a group message and I reply it's going to go to all the people in the group or just the person who sent it to me? I have no idea.

How do I know who has been getting my messages that I am sending out my group MMS was turned on?

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Ive used group message before but it doesn't seem to work it. Is there a setting I need to change to set it up? People can send me group messages and I can reply but I can't sart one!

@Emma
If you have iphone 4, go to messages, click "messages" in upper left corner, then new message symbol in upper right corner, then type first recipient initial and pick from drop list, then pick second recipient initial and pick name from drop list. As soon as you make the 2nd contact selection, it converts the msg to "New Group MMS" Good Luck!

I am wondering if I choose the "OFF" setting for group messaging, will I still recieve a group msg sent to me? And if I do, and I reply (with setting still "OFF") will it go to all in group, or just the original sender? Thanks!

I'm having a problem with my iPhone 4S. When an iPhone carrier starts a group message, he'll create one with not only iPhones, but also non iPhones. When those sort of messages are created, I don't get any texts from that group message. But all the other iPhones in that group message will get the message. How can I start to get group messages from not only iPhones?

There are some newer group messaging apps (like grouptime) which have far more features (send locations, multiple photos, custom fonts, links with previews) and better settings (e.g. they easily allow to leave group chats).
There is a blog that regularly writes about new instant messaging apps for iOS and Android: www.messaging-apps.com