Why are my text messages not making a sound when they come in?

Check Your Phone’s Sound and Notification Settings

The first step is to check your phone’s sound and notification settings to make sure text message notifications are enabled with an audible alert. The steps to access these settings will vary slightly depending on if you have an iPhone or Android phone.

On an iPhone, open the Settings app and tap “Sounds & Haptics.” Make sure the toggle for “Sounds and Vibration” is turned on. Then scroll down and tap “Text Tone” to select a sound for new text messages. You can preview the sounds to test them.

On an Android phone, open the Settings app and tap “Sound.” Make sure the toggle for “Media volume,” “Alarm volume,” “Ring volume,” and “Notification volume” are turned up and not muted. Tap “Default notification sound” to select a sound for new notifications including text messages. You can preview the sounds before selecting.

If a specific sound was already set for text message notifications, make sure that sound is still selected and enabled in the notification settings. If no sound is set, choose one from the available options.

Once you confirm the text notification sounds are active in your phone’s settings, you should hear audible alerts for new incoming text messages.

Source: https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/change-notification-settings-iph7c3d96bab/ios

Verify Text Message Sounds are Enabled

One of the most common reasons for text messages not making a sound is that text message notifications are disabled or the notification sound is set to None. To check your text message notification settings:

On an iPhone, go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and ensure that “Allow Notifications” is turned on. Then tap Sounds and select a sound option like Default.

On Android, open your Messages or Messaging app, tap the Menu icon (three dots or lines), choose Settings or Message Settings, and look for the Notifications section. Make sure notifications are enabled and a sound is selected, not Silent.

You may also want to check the system sound settings to confirm text message notification sounds are enabled. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics and verify “Text Tone” is not set to None. On Android, go to Settings > Sound and check that “Default notification sound” is enabled and set to a sound.

If no notification sound is selected for text messages, you will not hear sounds when new texts arrive. Double check these settings to ensure text message notification sounds are fully enabled.


Check If Do Not Disturb is On

Do Not Disturb (DND) is a feature that mutes sounds and notifications on your phone when enabled. This includes muting the sound for incoming text messages.

To check if Do Not Disturb is turned on and causing your text messages to be silent, follow these steps:

On an iPhone[1]:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Control Center
  • Check if the DND icon is highlighted. If so, tap it to disable DND

On Android[2]:

  • Open the notification shade and look for the DND tile
  • If it’s on, tap it to turn it off

With Do Not Disturb disabled, your text message notifications should ring or vibrate again.

Restart Your Phone

Restarting your iPhone is a simple first troubleshooting step that can often resolve issues with sound and notifications not working properly. Completely powering down and restarting the device essentially functions as a “reset” that clears out any temporary glitches.

To restart your iPhone, press and hold the side button and either volume button at the same time until the power off slider appears. Drag the slider to turn off your phone. After the phone is fully powered down, press and hold the side button again until you see the Apple logo on the screen to turn it back on and restart. This process takes about 30-60 seconds.

Once your iPhone has fully restarted, check if your text message sounds and notifications are now working. Many minor issues can be fixed simply by restarting the phone. However, if the problem persists, you may need to investigate further troubleshooting steps.

For more help on restarting an unresponsive iPhone, see this Apple support article: https://support.apple.com/en-us/116940

Update Your Phone Software

One reason you may not be getting sound with text message notifications is if your phone’s software is outdated. Phone manufacturers regularly release software updates that include bug fixes and improvements, including for notification sounds. Using outdated software can lead to problems with apps and phone functions not working as expected.

To update an iPhone, open the Settings app, tap General, then tap Software Update. Your iPhone will automatically check for available updates and show you if any are ready to be installed. Follow the on-screen prompts to download and install the latest iOS software version.

For Android phones, open the Settings app, tap System, then tap System Update or Software Update. This will check for and allow you to install any pending Android OS updates. You can also open the Software Update app on some Android models to check for the latest software.

Keeping your iPhone or Android phone updated with the latest OS version ensures you have the most recent fixes and optimizations, which may resolve any issues causing your text notifications to be silent. If your phone says your software is up to date, the problem likely lies elsewhere.

Learn more about updating your phone’s software here: How to Update Your Phone’s Software

Check Connectivity and Signal Strength

One of the most common reasons text messages may not make any sound is if you have a weak cellular signal or limited connectivity. Cell phones rely on cellular networks to send and receive texts. If the signal strength is low in your area, texts may fail to come through reliably.

Start by checking the signal strength on your phone. On an iPhone, open Settings > Cellular and check the signal strength bars. On Android, open Settings > Connections > Mobile Networks to view signal strength. Generally, two or more bars represent a good signal.

If you see only one bar or no bars, that indicates a weak cellular connection. Try moving closer to a window or stepping outside to improve the signal strength. Texts often won’t come through clearly with a weak connection. You can also try toggling Airplane Mode on and off to force the phone to re-establish a stronger connection.

Additionally, check for any connectivity issues with your wireless carrier. Contact them to see if there are any network outages in your area affecting service. Limitations with your carrier’s coverage could prevent your texts from going through.

Sources: https://support.signal.org/hc/en-us/articles/360007318711-Troubleshooting-Notifications

Reset Network Settings

Resetting your network settings can help resolve connectivity issues related to your wireless connections. This resets all network settings including WiFi networks, Bluetooth paired devices, and cellular settings.

On an iPhone, you can reset network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset and tapping Reset Network Settings. This will delete all known WiFi networks and passwords, so you’ll have to re-enter any passwords. It won’t delete any data or media.

On Android, go to Settings > System > Advanced > Reset Options and tap Reset WiFi, Mobile & Bluetooth. You’ll have to set up WiFi networks again afterwards. Some Android variants may bury Reset Network Settings under Network & Internet or Connections instead. Any stored WiFi passwords will be erased.

Resetting network settings is useful to troubleshoot connectivity issues, and won’t delete any personal data. It simply erases all wireless connections and returns them to default. After resetting network settings, you’ll have to reconnect to WiFi networks and Bluetooth devices. If you continue having no sound issues for text messages, there may be a different underlying problem.

Try a Different Messaging App

The default messaging app that comes pre-installed on your phone, whether it’s Messages on iPhone or Android Messages on Android devices, can sometimes glitch and cause issues like missing notification sounds. Trying a different third-party messaging app may help resolve the problem.

Popular alternative messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal offer reliable messaging across platforms. Since they are separate apps from the default messaging app, they may function properly even when the default app is glitching.

Switching to an alternative messaging app like WhatsApp could allow your notification sounds for text messages to come through as expected. If the sounds start working in the new app, that indicates the issue was with your phone’s default messaging software and not your actual device settings.

Contact Your Wireless Carrier

Sometimes issues with receiving text messages can be caused by your wireless carrier’s network. There may be an outage or technical problem preventing texts from coming through properly. Contacting your carrier’s customer support can help identify if they are having network issues.

The main wireless carriers in the US are Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. You can contact them to check if there are any known issues in your area that could be affecting text message delivery:

Explain the issue you are having and any troubleshooting steps you’ve already tried. The carrier can run diagnostics, check for outages, and potentially reset your connection to resolve text message problems.

If there is a larger network issue, they can advise you when it is expected to be fixed. If it appears to be isolated to just your device, they can help identify settings changes or next steps for your specific phone and plan.

Backup and Restore Your Phone

If you are still having issues with text message notifications after trying the other troubleshooting steps, you may want to consider resetting your phone back to factory settings as a last resort. However, resetting your phone will erase all of your data, so it’s very important to back up your data first.

For iPhones, you can back up your data to iCloud or to your computer using iTunes. To backup to iCloud, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and tap “Back Up Now.” You can also connect your iPhone to a computer and backup to iTunes. For more details, check out Apple’s guide on restoring your iPhone from a backup.

For Android phones, you can backup your data through your Google account. Go to Settings > System > Backup and tap “Back up now.” Your contacts, apps, and settings will be saved to your Google Drive. You can also backup media files like photos to services like Google Photos. See this guide from Asurion on restoring your Android phone from a backup.

Once you’ve secured a full backup, you can proceed with resetting your device back to factory default settings. This will wipe your phone and restore it to original settings which can potentially fix software issues. Just be sure to use your backup to restore your apps and data afterwards.

Factory resetting your device should be a last resort after trying other troubleshooting steps, as you will lose all unsaved data. But having a backup ready means you can restore your device and hopefully resolve any software issues with notifications while getting your files and settings back.

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