What are the different statuses when sending text messages?

Phone carriers in the United States and Canada have generally agreed to report back the status of messages received for customers on their network. For example, if I sent a text from YetiText to someone who has a phone number and texting plan through AT&T, AT&T will normally reply back to us when the message was "Delivered" to their customer (the person you are texting through YetiText). Other times they will reply back that the message was "Undelivered". Below are some reasons why a carrier may not reply with any status (Delivered or Undelivered) and why the message status in YetiText may display "Sent" for more than a few minutes.

Common messaging statuses:

  • Sent – This status simply means that we have confirmed the message was sent from us to the recipient's phone carrier. This status can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. If it is longer than that, it simply means that the receiving carrier (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc) chose not to reply with the delivery status. This does not mean it was not delivered, but if it is happening often, it could mean the carrier has temporarily blocked messages from your number to their customers.
  • Delivered – This status means that the receiving carrier has replied to us with confirmation the message was delivered. Unfortunately, this does not always guarantee the message was actually delivered. In some cases, carriers like T-Mobile have replied to us with a status of Delivered, but the person who should have received the text may not receive it. The common reasons for this are if a link in the message is considered to be potential spam or a scam or if the message contains specific words or phrases that the carrier considers to be spam, or lacking conversational tone (too heavy with the sales or promotion language). To improve your odds, limit the use of bit.ly type links and use conversational language.
  • Undelivered – This status means that the carrier has chosen to not deliver your message to your intended recipient. This usually means either 1- your number has been seen as sending spam or unwanted messages (too many spam complaints in a short amount of time) and is temporarily or permanently blocked or, 2- the device of the recipient does not support receiving the type of message sent (usually with MMS and older devices) or 3- the person has blocked your number from their device or through their carrier. This is not to say that if a message shows undelivered that messages will not deliver to that same phone number in the future. A different message a couple of minutes or hours later will often be delivered. The same reasons a message might remain in the "Sent" status or show "Delivered", but weren't actually delivered to your intended recipient can apply to why a carrier may reply that the message was Undelivered.
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