‘Sent as SMS via server’ Android Receipt Message: What It Means and How To Stop It 

Android users everywhere were a bit perturbed and confused about the recent changes to the message receipts on their mobile devices. After getting accustomed to SMS protocol in the last couple of decades, where you are informed about the status of your sent messages with simple texts such as “sending”, “delivered”, “read”, etc., you now receive notifications such as “Sent as SMS via server”.

If ever you encountered such a message receipt, you are not alone. Many users even flocked to message boards and help forums to find out what is going on with their devices. This is actually just one of the small changes that happened when Google widely implemented the RCS protocol on Android mobile devices, which is a part of their continuous effort to improve users’ experience.

It turns out the “Sent as SMS via server” is just a fairly standard message and does not mean anything is wrong with your phone. And yet, many Android users want to stop this notification and return to the old format. Continue reading to learn more about SMS, RCS, and how to stop the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message. 

What Does ‘Sent as SMS via server’ Mean?

The ‘Sent as SMS via server’ notification is the result of changes to the use of SMS, or short messaging system technology. It means the message is routed through a third-party service instead of directly from your device, which is not bad. It is just we are so used to the old message notification system, that a message like “Sent as SMS via server” seemed to be out of place.  

The message usually looks something like this:

Sent as SMS via server notification message

There’s been no indication from Google, the owner of Android, that anything is amiss when this message appears. Most often, it just happens when your phone is using the RCS protocol and you are in a conversation with a person using SMS. Since SMS users can’t receive multimedia files, your message gets converted en route to the receiver. 

In other words, the “Sent as SMS via server” message receipt is nothing much to be concerned about. Often, you can just brush it aside, unlike other notifications you might get on your Android phone such as “account action required”, or the “internet may not be available” error, that there are prompt actions you need to take.

What is RCS?

All of this fuss is associated with the RCS or Rich Communication Services protocol, which is often called RCS Chat. It was designed to improve the outdated SMS messaging format, which hasn’t progressed over all these years to include modern features that users expect today. 

The RCS protocol was developed by giants of electronics and communications industries, such as OS providers, cell phone manufacturers, and mobile network operators to make SMS messaging more competitive against Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and iMessage. 

RCS is designed to replace SMS and MMS messaging effectively. It enables users to easily create group chats and send and receive multimedia content like images and videos. Moreover, RCS supports read receipts and end-to-end encryption. It also works even when the recipient doesn’t have cell service, but is connected to a wireless network. 

This next-gen messaging format has all the beloved features of the iMessaging app that keeps many consumers hooked to Apple devices. Users can complete transactions, and send location data, PDF files, and more with RCS. 

Rich Communication Services have been around since 2007 but haven’t been widely adopted until recently. In 2018, Google started working with cell phone carriers to support this protocol, and two years later, they included the RCS chat via its Android Messages app. RCS is not yet available on iPhones though, as Apple remains resistant to supporting it on their devices in favor of their iMessage app. 

Is the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message different from the ‘Delivered’ notification?

No, the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message is essentially the same thing as the old ‘Delivered’ notification. Unfortunately, it’s not as explicit as the old message receipts and has led to lots of questions from long-time Android users, familiar with SMS texting. 

In some cases, the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message appears when the RCS message has to be converted to SMS before delivery. 

Does the “Sent as SMS via server” Message Means I’m Blocked?

Of all the questions posted about the said message receipt since Google added RCS to their Android Messages app, this is the most common. Some users quickly surmise that they’ve been blocked by the recipient when they see the “Sent as SMS via server” message for the first time. Silly as it may sound, some even suspect their message is stuck on the server.

Typically, the message does not mean you are blocked. While it may be remotely possible, it is usually caused by different incompatibility issues or other small erroneous matters in the system.

How to Stop the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ Message on Android Mobile Devices 

Many Android mobile users hate the changes in the notification format. Having familiarized themselves with certain receipt messages, like ‘sent’, ‘received’, and ‘delivered’, it seems silly to change the status quo. 

If you want to stop the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message, you can try the following solutions. But understand that this message doesn’t necessarily indicate anything is wrong. So, you may not manage to get around it. 

1. Check if RCS is Enabled

Most, if not all new models of Android smartphones can use the RCS protocol, even if some carriers and manufacturers have been dragging their feet on fully implementing it. Google has encouraged them to widely support this protocol for a better user experience. 

If you bought your smartphone no more than 4 years ago, you should check first if your device has RCS. You can also verify if your recipient has RCS capabilities, but keep in mind that iPhone users don’t have RCS.

You’ll need to install Google’s Messages app if your phone has no built-in RCS, as not all cellphone manufacturer’s brand-specific apps support RCS yet. 

  1. Open the Messages app and click the three ellipses in the top-right corner. This will open a dropdown menu.
3 dots to open dropdown menu
  1. From the dropdown menu, select Settings.
serrings option
  1. Within the Settings window, if you see the Chat Features option, this means your device supports RCS. 
chat features option - confirm RCS is running

If you are messaging a close friend or family member, they can also check this to see if their device supports RCS. If not, then that’s likely the source of the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message and there’s not much you can do to get around it. 

2. Enable Show When Delivered Option

Some users have reported success with turning the ‘Show When Delivered’ or ‘Get SMS delivery reports’ option on. It’s not a 100% percent solution, but it returned the old receipt messages for many consumers, so it’s worth a shot.

Remember to install Google’s Messages app for this solution for the best results. We’re gonna start by repeating steps 1 and 2 of the first solution:

  1. Open the Messages app and click the three ellipses in the top-right corner. This will open a dropdown menu.
start to solve sent as SMS via server
  1. From the dropdown menu, select Settings.
settings option - sent as SMS via server fix
  1. Scroll down past Chat features and other options, till you see Get SMS delivery reports or some similar option. This will notify you when an SMS message is delivered and can restore the recognizable receipt notifications including ‘sent’, ‘delivered, and ‘read.’ Toggle the setting on. 
get SMS delivery reports option

Note: If it doesn’t work on the first try, you can try to enable, then disable, then reenable. Some users have reported that you need to toggle this option a few times before it starts working. 

3. Clear Messages Cache

Next, we’re going to try clearing out the cache of the Messages app itself. There may be some error or other issues stuck in the cache memory, that is causing the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message. 

  1. Start by navigating to the Settings (cog wheel) application.
navigate to settings - clearing cache on Android
  1. Then select Storage from the list of options in the Settings menu. 
storage option from the menu
  1. From the Storage tab, find and tap the Apps option (on Android 11 and earlier it will say Other Apps)
other apps
  1. Now you can see a list of all applications installed on your phone. Scroll through the list (it’s alphabetical) until you find Google’s Messages app. Tap it to select.
find Google Messages from the list of applications
  1. We’re using Chrome as an example here, but the process is the same for any app, including the Messages app. From the app storage settings, find Clear cache. It’s usually one of the options with a trash can icon
clear cache option
  1. After you clear the cache, restart your phone and then you can check if the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message returns. 

4. Verify If You Are Not Blocked

You might suspect you’ve been blocked because the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message appears on a specific contact instead of various ones. Maybe you have a contentious relationship with an ex or there’s somebody else you are not getting along with. Regardless of the reason why you might think you’ve been blocked, it’s fairly easy to check.

Normally when you are blocked on an Android smartphone, the messages may still say ‘delivered,’ like normal, but the actual result may be the opposite. Of course, you won’t hear from them again, but there’s no clearer indication. 

Unfortunately the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message doesn’t make it any clearer! 

In the end, the best way to check if you are blocked is to call the number! If you are blocked, the call will go straight to voicemail as if the phone was off and any voicemail you leave won’t get delivered to the recipient. But here’s the important thing – the phone will never seem to turn back on. If you keep getting rerouted to voice mail after repeated attempts on different days, then maybe it’s time to take the hint.

5. Try Safe Mode

If you’ve tried the above options and the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message persists, you can try launching into Safe Mode to see if this can fix the issue. By booting your phone into Safe Mode, you are disabling any recent Google updates or third-party apps. This will help you find out if the issue is originating from a third-party app:

  1. Turn your phone off. Then start it back up. As soon as you see the logo appear on the screen, press and hold your device’s power button
  2. Now press and hold the volume down key. If your phone successfully boots into Safe Mode, you’ll see Safe mode at the bottom of your screen. 
This article explains what the "Sent as SMS via server" notification means that many Android phone users get when sending content rich messages. It also discusses in passing what is RCS or Rich Communication Services protocol.
  1. If the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message did not appear when you send new messages in Safe Mode, then a third-party app is to blame! If you are using a messaging app other than Google’s Messages app, then that is likely the cause. Switch over to the Messages app for a better experience. 

Note: While in Safe Mode this is a good time to uninstall and reinstall Google’s Message app. This ensures that there are no configuration glitches that cause the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message. 

Success: ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message is gone

In a few years, everyone might be accustomed to the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message. But until then, Android users will continue to search for information about what this new message receipt means. 

Most users are concerned about being blocked because this new message might sound like the message has not been received. But more likely it’s related to RCS incompatibilities with the recipient or a third-party app that doesn’t support direct transmission between the two messaging protocols. In these situations, the RCS message must be converted to an SMS message first. This means it made a stop at a third-party server along the way, hence the ‘via server’ part of the message. 

If you want to stop the ‘Sent as SMS via server’ message, you’ve got a few options available. You can verify that your phone supports RCS messages and ask your friend or family member if their phone does too. You can try turning on the “Show When Delivered” option in the Messages app and you can clear the app’s cache. If all else fails, you can try entering Safe Mode. If the issue is resolved in Safe Mode then this narrows the problem down to a third-party app or a recent update. From there you can remove messaging apps until you find the culprit!  

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