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MMS not downloading on Android? Top 7 solutions

MMS messages not downloading

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) in 2022 is far from ideal. It’s an old technology that’s fallen behind with the rise of instant messaging apps, RCS, and fast mobile data connectivity standards. Still, some users rely on it and we are sure they have good reasons for doing so. There are reports that MMS messages are not downloading no matter what they try. They get notified about the incoming message but this is closely followed by the Failed to download multimedia messages error. Check the instructions below to fix this problem in no time.

Why does my phone keep saying Failed to download multimedia messages?

We managed to replicate the problem and solved it by disabling Wi-Fi and using mobile data to download MMS messages. If that doesn’t work for you, we have a few other solutions to recommend.

Resetting the app, checking MMS settings, and trying a different messaging app are some solutions you can try.

1. Try with mobile data and restart the device

The first thing to do is to disable Wi-Fi and enable mobile data. For some reason, MMS messages and attachments won’t download on Wi-Fi and require mobile data. So, disable Wi-Fi and enable Mobile Data from Quick Access and open Messages. Once there, open the multimedia message that failed to download and try again.

If that doesn’t work, make sure to try the next step. There are some settings you should check and get a fresh MMS Configuration from the carrier is also a viable solution.

2. Check MMS settings and get a fresh Configuration

The next thing you should inspect is the MMS settings in the default messaging app. When it comes to MMS content, you can choose to download it manually or for it to download automatically. In this case, we suggest resorting to the automatic approach just to see if it makes any difference.

Here’s how to tweak MMS settings on your Android:

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu and open Settings.
  3. Tap Advanced and enable the Auto-download MMS option.
  4. Check if the MMS is downloading or not.

Moreover, you can install the carrier-provided configuration for MMS and cell data anew. These messages are provided as soon as you put the SIM card in the device for the first time and are also updated over time. All you need to do is to install them. If you want to get these configuration messages manually, you’ll need to dial a particular code or use a companion app. Once you get the configuration for mobile data and MMS, install them and check for improvements.

3. Reset the APN

An alternative approach to fixing issues with the carrier’s configuration is to reset the default Access Point Name and restore it to its default values. We are uncertain whether this will solve the issue or not but encourage you to give it a try because it’s closely related to this problem.

Here’s how to reset the APN to defaults on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Connections.
  3. Select Mobile networks and then open Access Point Names.
  4. Tap on the 3-dots menu and select Reset to default.MMS messages not downloading

If that doesn’t help and MMS messages are still not downloading, continue to the next step.

4. Clear data from Messages

There’s a slight chance that the messaging app you use (be that Google Messages, Samsung Messages, or any other) is causing the problem. You can uninstall app updates but, before doing that, make sure to try fixing the problem by clearing the local data from the app.

Here’s how to clear data from Messages on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Open Messages from the list of all apps.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear data and restart your device.MMS messages not downloading

5. Uninstall updates from Messages

If the issue persists, uninstalling updates from the default app is another viable step. Once you uninstall updates, make sure to update the Messages app again and check if MMS messages still fail to download.

Here’s how to uninstall updates from the Messages app on Android:

  1. Once again, navigate to Settings > Apps > Messages.
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu at the top and select Uninstall updates.
  3. Open the Play Store and update the app.

6. Use an alternative SMS/MMS app

There are many alternative apps if the one you currently use doesn’t work as intended. The first one that comes to mind is Google Messages although this app is slowly becoming the default option on most Android skins. If you’re experiencing issues with Google Messages, you can try different apps, some of them even pre-installed on your device. You can choose default apps in Settings > Apps > Default apps.

On the other hand, you can download third-party apps like Textra SMS, Pulse SMS, or Signal and try them out. We are running out of options and turning to alternative apps, with all instructions mentioned above followed (Mobile Data ON, Auto-download MMS enabled), is another thing to try.

7. Consider switching to RCS

Finally, we are slowly but steadily entering a new era of messaging with Rich Communication Services succeeding SMS and MMS. So, if you have the option to use this feature (it relies on an internet connection to send texts and multimedia like all instant messengers), we strongly encourage you to give it a try.

Of course, there’s always a problem of making your friends and family switch to your preferred way of communication but there are some definite advantages. You can keep using the default Google (Android) Messages app and the steep limitations of MMS won’t bother you anymore.

Here’s how to enable RCS in Google Messages:

  1. Open Google Messages (Samsung Messages have this functionality, too).
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu and select Settings.
  3. Open Chat features.
  4. Enable Chat features. The registration shouldn’t take more than a few seconds and you’re good to go.MMS messages not downloading

Now you can send videos and images with much better quality, in a much faster and more reliable manner.

And, with that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions with us in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in March 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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