Is your iPhone suddenly not ringing or making any sound when you receive an inbound message? Have you recently missed an important text because your phone didn’t notify you? Wondering why you didn’t get an alert when someone recently texted you? No text or message notification coming in even from your favorites or in emergencies?
If so, you are not alone! Several of our readers report their iPhone and iPads suddenly stop alerting them when new texts or messages arrive. Naturally, this issue causes a lot of trouble for folks, especially when missing those critical messages from family, friends, and workplaces.
It’s really frustrating when you never hear your texts! Here’s how it’s supposed to work: you receive any new message, your iPhone or iPad alerts you with a sound, an on-screen alert, and a vibration.
This process should work for all new incoming messages, whether it’s an iMessage or an SMS text. But if you find it’s not working as it should, and your iPhone’s not alerting you to new texts, we’ve got some tips to fix it quickly!
- 1 Quick Tips
- 2 Not Seeing Your Message Notifications on Lock Screen or in Notification Center With iOS 12+?
- 3 How-To Fix Not Receiving Sound With Incoming Text Messages
- 4 Look at Date & Time
- 5 Text Message Notifications Not Working in iOS 12?
- 5.1 Update Notification Banners
- 5.2 No Text or Message Notification? Check Do Not Disturb (DND)
- 5.3 While you’re at it, also check Do Not Disturb While Driving
- 5.4 Contact Specific Do Not Disturb
- 5.5 Look at Bluetooth
- 5.6 Paired with an Apple Watch?
- 5.7 iMessage Enabled on Your Mac?
- 5.8 Check Your Side or Ring/Volume (Mute) Switch
- 5.9 Saved by the Bell!
- 5.10 Change What Sends & Receives
- 5.11 Turn Notifications ON
- 5.12 Toggle Message Notifications Off and then Back On
- 5.13 No notifications or alerts when the phone is locked?
- 5.14 Check Your Lock Screen Allow Settings
- 5.15 Reset Network Settings
- 5.16 Update Your DNS Servers
- 5.17 Switch it Up!
- 6 Ask Someone to Call
- 7 Try A Settings Reset
- 8 When in Doubt, Restart!
- 9 No Time? Check Out Our Video
- 10 Reader Tips
Try These Steps to Fix Missing Text Message Notifications or Sounds
- Check if your notifications are stacked together (for iOS 12 and above)
- Make sure Deliver Quietly is not turned on for the app (for iOS 12 and above)
- Check that your mute switch isn’t on
- If you pair with an Apple Watch, notifications often bypassing the phone and go directly to your watch
- Look through your contacts and ensure that you have not set their text or ringtone to None–if so, update it to a sound you like
- Select a Text Tone or Change your selected text tone
- Look at your Date & Time and choose Set Automatically
- Change Notification Banners to Persistent
- Make sure Do Not Disturb is off
- Turn off Bluetooth or check your BT connections
- Reset your network
- Update to iOS 12.2. The new iOS fixes a bug that prevented missed calls from appearing in the notification center
- Group Notifications Not Working?
- How To Read Prior or Missed Notifications on Your Apple Watch
- All About iOS 12 Notifications–more convenient and feature rich
- How To Manage Notification on Apple Watch
Not Seeing Your Message Notifications on Lock Screen or in Notification Center With iOS 12+?
If you updated to iOS 12 or greater, there’s a new Notification Grouping feature that bundles notifications together. So if you don’t see a notification, it’s quite possible that it’s hidden in a stack.
iOS 12 introduces this notification grouping to cut down on the clutter and chaos of individual notifications filling up your Lock Screen or Notification Center.
Luckily opening your notification stacks is really easy!
- Open Notification Center or go to your Lock Screen
- Look for any notification groups–these look like a stack of papers and tell you in the bottom left how many more messages or notifications are in the group
- Tap the stack to expand it, then tap the individual notifications to see the details
- Press the large X icon to clear the stack OR press the Show Less button to re-stack the notifications together
Check If Your Notifications Are Set To Deliver Quietly
With iOS 12, when you swipe to the left on a notification or notification stack, you can choose a new feature called Manage.
With Manage, there’s an option to Deliver Quietly, which turns off all of those specific app’s notifications.
Notifications from that app still appear in your Notification Center but they do not appear on your Lock Screen or as badge app icons, banners, and there is no chime when a new notification arrives.
Deliver Quietly Feature is App Universal!
Be mindful that when you silence an app’s notification via Deliver Quietly, it quiets all notifications from that specific app.
Turn Off Deliver Quietly
- Go to Settings > Notifications
- Select the App you wish to turn Deliver Quietly off
- Just below the app’s name, look for “Deliver Quietly”
- Tap and checkmark Lock Screen and/or Banners to turn these back on
- Select a Banner Style
- Toggle on Badges if it’s off
- Select a Sound from Sounds if you want to hear your notification
- Choose any other notification options you want (show previews, notification grouping, and repeat alerts)
How-To Fix Not Receiving Sound With Incoming Text Messages
Check Your iPhone Text Message Sound Effect & Select a Text Tone
Yup, sometimes it’s the easy things that fall through the cracks. So let’s make sure that you selected a tone for your incoming text messages! Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > and scroll down to the section Sounds and Vibration Patterns. In this section, look for Text Tone. If this says None or Vibrate Only, tap it and change the alert to something you like.
Use Your Text Tone Default!
A couple of our readers found a quick solution, just change your text sound to the default and simple Ding or Note. Readers noticed problems with texts not consistently sounding alerts when using longer alert tones. So stick with the defaults!
To update, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Text Tone and change to the default, listed in parathesis such as Note (Default.)
Alerts Not Sounding For Just A Few Contacts?
Look at your custom settings for each contact
- Pull up one of the contacts that’s not alerting you (open either the Phone or Contacts app)
- Tap Edit in the top right corner
- Scroll down to Text Tone and look at the selected sound
- If none is listed, tap and select a new Alert Tone from the list and tap Done
Look at Date & Time
It’s always good to check that our date and time are correct and ideally toggle on “Set Automatically.” If our phone’s or iPad’s time is incorrect, this may explain why you aren’t getting notifications and alerts promptly.
A mismatch with your Date&Time can cause a whole host of problems. So let’s check it out. Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and toggle on Set Automatically. If this is already on, toggle it off, wait 20 seconds, and turn it back on again.
Text Message Notifications Not Working in iOS 12?
Update Notification Banners
Often, your new text notifications appear but disappear so quickly that you may just miss seeing them. Fortunately, there’s a way to change your text banners from temporary to persistent.
Persistent banners require you to take action before they disappear, while temporary banners go away after a short time on-screen. Both types appear at the top of your screen.
So if you’re missing notifications, try changing to persistent banners and see if this makes a difference. Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and just below Show as Banners, tap on the icon for Persistent.
Confirm your selection by checking that the word Persistent is circled.
No Text or Message Notification? Check Do Not Disturb (DND)
First, check and see if you’ve accidentally (or purposefully) turned on Do Not Disturb. Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and make sure it’s toggled OFF. Or swipe up control center and look for the crescent moon icon. If it’s highlighted, it’s on. Tap it to turn off.
While you’re at it, also check Do Not Disturb While Driving
For those using iOS 11 and above, Apple added a great feature to silence notifications for folks while driving. While handy, if DND while driving stays on, you won’t get any notifications and your screen remains dark–no alerts appear on the screen.
So if you’re experiencing problems with message alerts, check that this setting isn’t inadvertently ON.
Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > and scroll down to the area marked Do Not Disturb While Driving. Your options are Automatically, While Connected to Car Bluetooth, or Manually. If set to Automatically, DND is active when it detects motion similar to driving, even if you’re a passenger!
For that reason, we recommend setting it to Manually and toggling on and off via Control Center.
To quickly access DND while driving, swipe up Control Center and locate the car icon. If it’s highlighted, it’s on. Tap to turn off.
If you don’t see this setting in the Control Center, open your Control Center Settings and add it to Customize Controls.
Contact Specific Do Not Disturb
If you notice that only specific contacts don’t show or play alerts, then make sure Do Not Disturb isn’t on for that particular contact.
To check, scroll through your messages and look to the left of each conversation’s name. If you see a crescent moon icon next to the contact, you’ve somehow activated Do Not Disturb Mode for that person/contact.
Sometimes the crescent moon icon doesn’t even show up when DND is activated for a single contact, so it’s a good idea to check that contact, even if you don’t see the crescent moon.
Edit the contact’s details by pressing the “i” and turn OFF Hide Alerts (or Do Not Disturb.)
Alternatively, if you already know which contacts’ texts are not alerting, tap on a message from the contact and press the “i” and toggle OFF Hide Alerts (or for previous iOS versions, Do Not Disturb.)
Look at Bluetooth
If you’ve recently connected to a Bluetooth device, sometimes that connection remains and iOS sends alerts to it rather than your iPhone or iDevice.
To check, go to Settings > Bluetooth and check if any of your Bluetooth devices are connected and routing sound. If so, disconnect or unpair that Bluetooth device.
Alternatively, if you’re not currently using any Bluetooth device, disconnect devices by swiping up Control Center or turn Bluetooth off by going to Settings > Bluetooth > Off.
Paired with an Apple Watch?
If your iPhone pairs to an Apple Watch, by design your paired iPhone does not chime when a new text arrives. Instead, Apple routes your alerts to your Apple Watch, especially when the iPhone is locked.
As of now, there is no option to play a sound alert on BOTH your Apple Watch and your iPhone at the same time. It’s one or the other, based on the locked status of your phone.
The rule of thumb is if your phone is unlocked, notifications go to the iPhone. If your phone is locked, notifications go to your watch.
If you’re experiencing a problem with notifications not routing to your Apple Watch correctly, it’s best to unpair and then repair your Apple Watch to your iPhone.
iMessage Enabled on Your Mac?
For some folks enabling their Messages app on their Macs was somehow blocking notifications going to their iPhones! Open Messages on your Mac, then navigate to Messages > Preferences and uncheck the box marked Enable this account.
This doesn’t remove your Apple ID from messages but rather deactivates Messages from sending or receiving.
Check Your Side or Ring/Volume (Mute) Switch
Most of our iDevices come with a side switch that mutes audio. So take a look at your device’s Ring/Volume (iPhone) or Side Switch (some iPad models) and toggle it OFF.
Ring/Silent (iPhone only)
- Toggle this button to mute sounds and alerts on your iPhone
- If your switch shows orange, it’s on. For most devices, that means it’s in silent mode and vibrates for all alerts and incoming calls
- When in silent mode, the alarms you set in the Clock app still sound and calls from Favorite contacts still ring
Side switch (certain iPad models)
- Use to mute sounds and alerts from your iPad or turn Rotation Lock on or off
- On some iPad models, you can set the side switch to either mute or screen rotation.
- With these models, go to Settings > General > Use Side Switch To and check which feature you selected (mute or lock rotation)
In certain situations, your iDevice still alerts you EVEN WHEN muted (like alarms and calls from Favorites), so even if your iDevice appears to have mute off, it’s a good idea to verify that.
Can’t Move the Switch?
Check for debris, grease, lint, or dirt around the inside or outside of the switch and clean with a soft microfiber cloth to remove anything.
Saved by the Bell!
Control Center offers an easy way to check that Silent Mode isn’t activated. Swipe Up Control Center and look for the Bell icon. If it’s highlighted and shows a line through it, silent mode is ON. Tap it to disable, and your notification sounds should return.
Change What Sends & Receives
Go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Look under the section: iMessage At Can reach you. If checked, deselect your email address. Select only your phone number and see if that solves the problem.
Turn Notifications ON
It’s common to turn notifications off inadvertently. So best to make sure they are indeed on. Check Settings > Notifications > Messages > Toggle ON Allow Notifications.
Next, make sure you choose an excellent alert sound. Go to Settings > Sounds > Text Tones. And pick an alert sound that you like and that you’ll definitely hear.
For older iOS versions, visit Settings > Notifications > Messages > and Turn OFF Show in Notification Center. Restart your iDevice and then turn Show in Notification Center back ON.
Toggle Message Notifications Off and then Back On
Return to Notifications > Messages and toggle OFF. Then turn off your iDevice and turn it back on. Then turn notifications back on for messages, and it often fixes the problem.
No notifications or alerts when the phone is locked?
Not getting notified of messages coming in when iPhone or another iDevice is locked? If you don’t see or hear any alerts when your iPhone or iDevice locks (display sleep mode,) enable the Show on Lock Screen setting.
Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages and verify that Show on Lock Screen is toggled on.
For sound alerts, also check that Settings > Notifications > Messages > Sounds has an alert type selected and does not display None or Vibrate Only unless that’s the setting you want.
Check Your Lock Screen Allow Settings
- Go to Settings > Face ID/Touch ID & Passcode
- Enter your passcode to validate access
- Scroll down to Allow Access hen Locked
- Toggle On Notification Center
- And toggle on anything else you want to appear on your device’s Lock Screen
Reset Network Settings
Sometimes your network needs a refresh which in turn refreshes your connections to Apple’s Messages server. So let’s reset your network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
Don’t worry; this action DOES NOT impact your data, including apps, photos, documents, files, and so forth. It does wipe out any WiFi passwords, so write those down before you reset your network settings.
Update Your DNS Servers
Another option is to change your DNS settings from your local ISP to Google’s Public DNS. Go to Settings > WIFI > Tap on Your Network Name > Configure DNS > Manual > Add Server. Then type in 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199 and press Save.
If deleting your current DNS Servers, write those numbers down, so you have them if needed. For more information on changing DNS Servers, see this article.
Switch it Up!
Another option is to change the way your device connects if that’s available on your iDevice. If you’re using WiFi, try turning it off and connecting via Cellular Data. Or vice-versa—connect to WiFi instead of Cellular Data.
Changing the way we connect often jump starts our devices and gets notifications and alerts back in business!
Ask Someone to Call
Admittedly, we aren’t sure why this works, but it often does! Ask someone to call you using the Phone App. When the call shows up on-screen, toggle the side switch or mute button back and forth a couple of times, landing in the OFF position (no orange.)
Try A Settings Reset
If none of the tips work for you, let’s try and reset all your iPhone or iDevice settings. Don’t worry; this action DOES NOT impact your data.
But it does return all your personalized settings to defaults, meaning you need to re-enter things like passwords, Touch ID fingerprints, WiFi passcodes and so forth. So, yup, it’s very time-consuming, but many of our readers report it works.
Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
When in Doubt, Restart!
If nothing helped thus far, restart your iDevice by pressing the power button and sliding it off. Then turn on as usual.
If that doesn’t help, try a forced restart
- On an iPhone 6S or below plus all iPads & iPod Touches, press Home and Power at the same time until you see the Apple logo
- For iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus: Press and hold both the Side and Volume Down buttons for at least 10 seconds, until you see the Apple logo
- On an iPhone X or iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus: Press and quickly release the Volume Up button. Then press and quickly release the Volume Down button. Finally, press and hold the Side button until you see the Apple logo
A forced restart is a hardware level restart of your device. It immediately cuts power and interrupts all processes. That means it clears what’s in the RAM, which in turn often fixes minor issues. And don’t worry, there’s no data loss–all your apps, games, photos, documents and login settings remain as is!
After performing a forced restart, make sure you check your Notification Settings to ensure everything is set-up as you want. Sometimes a forced reboot changes specific settings back to defaults. So best insurance is to double or even triple check!
No Time? Check Out Our Video
We love to hear from our readers and viewers! And many of them discover additional tips and tricks that helped them overcome these issues. Check out all our great reader advice below.
- Matt suggests checking the individual contact and see what’s listed under “Text Tone”. Even though standard notifications may be set to one parameter, I had, for some reason, turned off sound notifications through a contact. You can make adjustments in the contact itself.
- Delete the entire message thread. Everything else failed. Was getting messages from one contact with no notifications even though I checked everything else on this list. Then just deleted the entire message thread from that ONE contact via the iMessage main screen. It was the only thing that worked beyond a complete wipe to a factory reset.
- I was deleting a message, but beside the “delete” message is a “ show alerts or hide alerts.” I accidentally had changed this to “hide alerts.” By tapping on it, you can change the setting. I didn’t see any “moon” as mentioned in other comments in “hide alerts” but this may solve someone’s problem.
- You don’t get a message tone if the conversation is open. Close the conversation so that you only see the headers and the text tones sounds off. On the iPad, that means having a New Message open so that existing conversations aren’t visible
- There’s a “hide alerts” feature in Messages that appear if you swipe right on the conversation. I was wondering why texts from my wife didn’t have a tone play! When I toggle ON HIDE ALERTS, I see a crescent moon appears to next to the conversation. So toggle Hide Alerts off and problem solved!
- Look for a setting called SILENCE under Do Not Disturb. You see two options: Always and While iPhone is locked. Switch it to the unchecked setting (for me While iPhone is locked was checked, so I changed it to Always.) Once I switched that setting, my audio notifications returned for both messages and emails! It doesn’t make sense, but it worked, go figure!
- When all else fails, delete ALL of your message conversations. I mean everything, so it’s entirely blank. Then force restart your device and presto, notifications work!
- I fixed my problems by going to the Contacts App and editing their Text Tone to Ding. After saving that, I returned to the Contacts App and changed their Text Tone back to what I originally wanted. I find that reassigning the text tones fixed the overall notification problem
- It seems that with iOS 11, that notifications don’t show up if you have Show on Lock Screen toggled off. This doesn’t make any sense. iOS 10 and earlier showed all my notification as soon I unlocked my phone. It doesn’t seem to matter If I set them to “Temporary” or “Persistent” Banner Notifications, either way, they don’t appear unless I allow them to show up on the lock screen. I’d rather they didn’t show on my lock screen—for privacy’s sake! IN CONCLUSION, Apple needs to fix this bug asap!
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.