Text messages converted to picture messages

Many phones automatically convert some text messages to picture messages.  

So if you’ve been charged for sending a picture message when you didn't intend to send one, this might be because your device has automatically converted a text message (SMS) to a multi-media message (MMS), which may not be free with your plan.

When do devices convert text messages to picture messages?

This can happen when:

  • your text includes a non-standard smiley or symbol such as an emoticon or emoji
  • your text is sent to an email address instead of to a phone number
  • you're sending a group text message
  • your text exceeds the character limit (on some phones this is 160 characters, on others it can be higher)
  • you add text to the subject field

How do I stop this happening again?

When this happens, it's because of the device you’re using and isn’t something that EE has any control over.

Here's some more information to help you avoid further charges:

Have you updated your device software?

More recent device software will warn you when a SMS has been converted to an MMS. Ensuring you have the latest updates applied to your device will decrease the chances of the conversion happening without your knowledge.

Are you using an older Samsung device?

Some devices, such as older Samsung devices will convert SMS into a MMS when an emoticon/emoji is used, resulting in a picture message charge for each message sent.

More information on the charges for picture messages can be found within our pay as you go and pay monthly price guides.

If you are using an older Samsung device follow these steps to ensure that emojis inserted using the standard keyboard on your device do not convert the SMS to an MMS.

Messaging > Settings > Text Messages > Input mode > select Unicode instead of Automatic

Do any of your contacts have only an email address and no phone number?

When composing a message, if you select a contact which has only an email address and no phone number associated, the some devices will convert the message to MMS. When sending a SMS, be sure to select only contacts with phone numbers as recipients.

Are you sending a group message?

Group messaging allows multiple recipients to be sent the same message. Some devices will automatically convert group messages to MMS. Consult your device manual to check your device’s behaviour and whether there are any settings which may be adjusted to alter this behaviour.
On Android, if the "Group Messaging" option is turned on within Messaging Settings, then group messages will be sent as MMS.
On iOS, if the "Group Messaging" option is turned on within the Messages section under Settings, then group messages will be sent as MMS.

Have you added a subject line or included a picture in your message?

If you have added a subject line or included a photo in your message, then your device will more than likely send an MMS because these are not features of SMS.

Have you downloaded any third party 'emoji' applications or third party keyboards?

Check the terms and conditions of any third party emoji applications and keyboards downloaded from application stores. Some third party applications and keyboards will send emojis as MMS messages. If you are only inserting emojis using the keyboard on your device as part of a SMS, then a SMS is usually  sent as long as you have the latest software for your device.

Was this article helpful?

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you, now you can press any tab to choose why this article is not helpful.

Your response was sent. Thank you.