What causes the “message blocking is active” message on iPhone? And can you send a message to a blocked number? Read on to find out.
The “Message blocking is active” error often indicates that you blocked a number on your iPhone and you’re unable to send messages to it. The recipient may also have blocked you, but this doesn’t usually show a message. Network factors can also play a role, so blocking is not always the cause.
Aside from the obvious problem of someone thinking you blocked them, getting this error could be a severe inconvenience if you need to send an urgent message. The frustration is made even worse by the fact that various things could be causing the problem, and not all of them are things that you can fix. Let’s look at the reasons why you may get this message and how to fix it.
Why Do You Get The “Message Blocking Is Active” Error?
Text messages can easily lead to misunderstandings, even at the best of times. But few can have such far-reaching adverse effects as the “Message blocking is active” message. Many users have received this and assumed that the recipient blocked them, often ruining friendships and relationships in the process.
There are six main reasons why you could be getting this error. It usually happens when you’re trying to send a text message from your iPhone using the Messages app, and the error says something along the lines of “Free Msg: Unable to send message – Message Blocking is active.” Here are the leading causes and what you can do in each scenario to fix them.
You Blocked The Recipient On Your Phone
Blocking isn’t usually something that you can do by accident since there are several steps you must go through to block someone’s number on your iPhone, but stranger things have happened, and it is far from impossible. In a worst-case scenario, you might have blocked the person in a moment of weakness and forgotten all about it.
Luckily it’s easy to fix, and when you get the error saying that message blocking is active, this is generally the first and easiest thing to check.
On your iPhone, go to Messages, tap the message you tried to send, and then tap on the user’s number or name at the top. The user’s contact details will appear. Now tap on the Info icon. The red “Block this Caller” option at the bottom indicates that you did not block this person, and that is not the cause of the error.
If you happen to see “Unblock” instead, that is the problem. Simply tap on Unblock, and you should be able to send the message.
The Recipient Blocked You
We should note at this point that you generally won’t receive the “Message blocking is active” error if the recipient blocks you; the message simply won’t be delivered, and you won’t get an error message. However, it has happened before (possibly depending on the method of blocking), so this is worth checking into.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine if someone blocked you. The best ways can still give inconclusive results. But you can try the following three ways:
- Try calling them from the same phone and number you tried to message them from. If the call doesn’t go through, it could mean that they blocked you; but it could also mean that their phone is off or they are out of mobile network range. So this is not conclusive.
- Try calling or messaging them from another phone and number. If the call goes through immediately after your call from your own phone didn’t, it means that they probably blocked you. However, this could also be a fluke since they might have just moved into an area with a better signal at that moment.
- Ask them. If you manage to get a hold of them, ask them if they blocked you or not. It might be an awkward question, so perhaps rephrase it to something like, “I tried sending you a message, but it didn’t go through. Did you receive it?” This should clear up any misunderstanding on the matter and tell you where you stand, at the very least.
This is less common, but it happens. Sometimes a temporary software issue could cause the “Message blocking is active” error. This is especially true when attempting to send an iMessage to another iPhone user while there’s a temporary iMessage problem.
You could try sending it as a regular text message to fix this. On your iPhone, go to Settings, Messages, and then flip the switch next to “iMessage” to the off position. This will disable Apple’s encrypted iMessage service, and you will then send standard plain text messages. Try sending it again, and see if it goes through.
If the message goes through this time, try restarting your phone or signing out of iMessage and signing back in again. This will usually clear up the problem, but if it doesn’t, try checking for software updates or contact Apple support to see if they have a solution for you.
If even the plain text message doesn’t go through, you know that there must be another problem.
Premium Messaging Is Disabled
Premium SMS is a service offered by most mobile networks that allow companies to charge extra when users send them SMSs. These services are often used for competitions or gaming activities. Unfortunately, some companies are known for abusing the service, which is why some networks allow users to disable the feature, while others even disable it by default.
The problem is that some text messages can be recognized as premium SMS messages, even though they’re not, and there have been hundreds (if not thousands) of cases where people tried sending a regular text message to a friend, but it was blocked due to the Premium SMS feature being turned off.
If this is the case, the only solution is to contact your mobile carrier. Some have apps or platforms that allow you to tweak these settings, but more often than not, you will have to give them a call. They will then be able to confirm if this is the problem and enable the Premium SMS feature for you.
The Network Is Down
Network problems happen. No technology is fail-proof, and it’s hard to predict what would happen if the network runs into difficulties since so many things could go wrong. So even though this isn’t the most common cause of the “Message blocking is active” error, it has happened before and likely will happen again.
Once you’ve checked the possible causes mentioned above and found none of them are the cause, this is the logical next possibility. The problem is that it could be your network or the recipient’s network causing the error. You can contact your mobile carrier and find out from them; the chances are that they might even know if there’s something wrong with another network.
T-Mobile Short Code Issues
There is a known problem with T-Mobile’s short code blocking system that often causes the “Message blocking is active” error. These blocking systems aren’t things that T-Mobile can safely change, so they resolve them on a per-user basis.
If either you or the recipient is using T-Mobile, this could be the issue, and the only solution is to contact T-Mobile and ask them to resolve it. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do so on behalf of the recipient since they will only talk to their user, but if you can get the recipient to call, the problem could be resolved in a few minutes.
What If None Of These Resolved The “Message Blocking” Error?
The possibilities mentioned are the most likely causes of the “Message blocking is active” error on an iPhone, ranked from most likely to least likely. If you went through the steps, you would have eliminated problems caused by you, the recipient, or the mobile carriers.
The only possibility that’s left is either a problem with your phone or your Apple ID. These are very remote possibilities but not impossible; the only way to resolve them is to contact Apple support.
Thankfully, Apple’s support is excellent and very helpful. If you explain everything that you’ve tried so far without success, the support staff should be able to find if there’s another setting or issue that’s causing the problem. As we mentioned, there is a very slight possibility of this being the case, but it is still possible.
iPhones are excellent devices, and they work really well. Unfortunately, there are so many other technologies involved in cellular communications and messaging that we can’t always guarantee something will work as it should. This list should help you resolve the “Message blocking is active” error on your iPhone if or when it shows up.