Annoying Android SMS (text message) not sent problem finally fixed! (Not sent, tap to try again.)

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A few months ago I suddenly noticed that I could not send SMS (text messages) anymore. While receiving messages continued to work fine, I was unable to respond with a message to certain contacts - some contacts continued to work fine.

I have been using Android's default "Messages" app for SMS messages and in January or February this year (2023) sending text messages all of a sudden stopped working. Whenever I hit this, I could clearly see a red error message "Not sent, tap to try again." below my sent message.

Text Message (SMS) not sent, tap to try again error in Android

Is it caused by the Chat Feature?

My initial thought was that it could be caused by the "Chat Feature". A service which was added some time into the Messages app and was also added by the mobile phone provider (calling it Message+ service). This is supposed to enhance the old and text-only SMS service to add voice messaging and be able to send pictures (see Attach recent photo button in the screenshot above) and other files.

Message+ service enhancing SMS

Could this feature now be broken and cause the Not Sent error? For the sake of troubleshooting I disabled the Message+ service on provider side and disabled the Chat feature inside the Messages app. The result? I was still not able to send SMS to specific contacts.

Is it caused by a data/cache problem?

Most of the hints you find on the Internet when searching for this "Not sent, tap to try again" error mention you should empty the data and cache storage of the Messages app.

This can be done using Settings -> Apps -> Apps -> Messages -> Storage -> Clear Data + Clear Cache

But even after clearing both data and cache storage, I still got the Not Sent error.

It's actually a missing permission (Location) issue!

At this point I was mentally preparing to  do a factory reset of my phone (a still very responsive Huawei Mate 20 Pro). But I eventually came across a video on Youtube showing different solutions of this problem. One of the solutions was to check the Messages app's permissions. And as seen in the video, my phone also had the Location permission denied:

Missing Location permission in Android Messages app

Why would a text message service require Location (GPS) permissions? Anyway I enabled this Location permission for testing.

Heureka!!! Suddenly I was able to send text messages again to all the contacts which previously didn't work. The "Not sent, tap to try again" error was gone.

How did this happen?

I wish I knew exactly how this happened. My best guess is that some time in January or early February this year an update happened on the Messages app which enabled the Chat features. By enabling these additional feature, access to files (for sending pictures for example) required additional permissions for the Messages app. It could very well be that I did not allow access to "Location" as I thought "What would a SMS service need geo-positioning for?!" - hence most likely causing this problem.

Interestingly though sending text messages to customers of the same phone provider (e.g. my wife) still worked - yet others failed.

Well I'm glad I finally sorted this out after many months. Luckily SMSing / text messaging is not a thing today anymore as there are web-based apps nowadays. Remember the Nokia 3210? Hell, I was fast with my thumb back then! :D

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