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Texts and picture messages

Texts and picture messages

Picture messages (MMS) aren’t included in your standard tariff plan. See how much they cost.

You might be charged for a picture message (MMS) when you thought you’d sent a text (SMS). This could be because your text has turned into a picture message.

A text might turn into a picture message because:
  • there are pictures or attachments in the message
  • you’ve included a symbol, emoticon or emoji
  • you’re sending a group text
  • the message is too long (over 160 characters)
  • the message has a subject line
  • you’re texting an email address.
This can happen on any network and is beyond our control. Your phone will usually tell you if it’s converting a text message into a picture message.

To stop this happening, keep messages within the character limit. Remove pictures, sounds and emojis from your messages. Sometimes your phone will convert a text to an MMS when you send a group message so try sending the message individually or to smaller groups.

Older phones like the Samsung Galaxy S1, S2, S3, S4 and the Galaxy Note 1, 2, 3 and the Galaxy Ace will change a text into a picture message if it includes certain smileys or symbols. If you’ve got one of these phones, you can switch the function off. Go to Messaging > Settings > Text Messages > Input mode > choose Unicode instead of Automatic.

Most phones will let you change your message settings to alert you when you’re about to send an MMS. If you can’t find this in your settings, try searching online or on YouTube for help with your specific phone. You might need to contact the manufacturer to find out how to set up this function.

Send media messages for less

If you send lots of multimedia messages, you could save money with an MMS Bolt On. You’ll get 50 picture or video messages to send and you’ll pay £5.11 a month. Go to My O2 to add the Bolt On.

If you’ve got an iPhone, you can send picture messages, Digital Touch messages or handwritten messages for free to other Apple users through iMessage. You and the person you’re sending the message to will both need to have iMessage turned on in your settings. And you’ll both needed to be connected to the internet. If it’s an iMessage, the ‘Send’ button will be blue. If it’s green, it means you’ll be sending an SMS or MMS and you’ll be charged at your standard rate.

There are apps that let you send pictures and videos for free when you’re on mobile data or wifi. You can download them through the Google Play Store or App Store. They include:

Bear in mind that multimedia messages sent using the TU Go app will still be charged at your standard UK rate.

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