Google breaks SMS on many Android phones, is rolling back changes now
December 10, 2020
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Google's Messaging app. It's broken now.
Enlarge / Google’s Messaging app. It’s broken now.

Google

If the text messages on your Android phone have suddenly stopped working, you’re not alone. Google pushed out a bad copy of the Carrier Services app, and the result was broken SMS on many Android phones. It also sounds like the company is rolling back the update and fixing the problem.

Carrier Services is a little-known Android system component that popped up on the Play Store in 2017. This highly privileged app with the package name “com.google.android.ims” is part of Android’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)—the collection of 3GPP standards that lets your phone connect to the cellular network and typically delivers voice, video, and text, including the fancy stuff like Voice over LTE, Wi-Fi calling, and RCS, a more modern replacement for SMS. Google typically uses this app to push new RCS features out to users, but it can also be used to rapidly distribute bugs to users when things go wrong. With over a billion Play Store downloads as a default Android app, it has a big reach.

Google pushed out version 50 of Carrier Services, and afterward, many users—including Samsung, OnePlus, LG, Motorola, and TCL customers—have reported sending and receiving issues for SMS. Android Police says it has received some reports of users being automatically downgraded to the previous working version of the app, Carrier Services v48.

If you want to check your version of Carrier Services, the easiest way is to open the system settings, hit the search button in the top right, type in “Carrier Services,” and press the app info result for the Carrier Services app (it has a multi-colored puzzle piece next to it). If your Android skin has somehow broken the settings search feature (it happens), the long way is pressing on “apps & notifications,” then “see all ~100 apps,” then scrolling to find Carrier Services. Once you’re on the App info screen, press “Advanced” at the bottom, and you should see the version string all the way at the bottom. If you’re on version 50 and having problems, uninstalling app updates (available via the three-dot button in the top right) is a temporary fix.

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