Apple’s iPhone has an aggravating text notifications bug

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

If you’ve noticed that you’re receiving SMS texts and iMessages from people but aren’t getting any notifications about them, you’re not alone. Far from it. I’m one of many people experiencing an annoying bug where messages come through fine — but without any pop-up notification or even the usual red badge to indicate that there’s a new message waiting to be read.

Last month, MacRumors wrote about increasing reports of the problem on the new iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max phones. But it seems to also be affecting people with older iPhones as well, so this is looking more and more like an iOS 14 issue. What’s more aggravating about the glitch is that it doesn't always happen. I’ve noticed some messages pop up on my lock screen like normal, but others just quietly roll in with me being none the wiser.

People in that very large MacRumors thread have tried to come up with workarounds like turning off Messages on a Mac, or deleting and re-adding contacts. Some are noticing they get notifications if they completely force close the Messages app every time after sending a text. And in other cases, the missing notifications are only happening for pinned conversations, and unpinning contacts seems to do the trick. There are sporadic reports of success with these short-term fixes, but they aren’t working for everyone. There’s also this 42-page thread on the company’s support forums about the ongoing frustrations.

Those dealing with the issue are understandably disappointed that Apple hasn’t released a thorough fix yet. This is pretty fundamental stuff, and it’s probably causing some awkward conversations between couples or friends when messages just sit there for hours without the recipient knowing they came. And if you’re hoping that all will be well when iOS 14.3 releases next week, I wouldn’t be so sure. Early reports indicate that the no-text-notifications bug remains present — at least in some cases — in the second release candidate build of iOS 14.3 that Apple pushed out to public beta testers yesterday.

The Verge has reached out to Apple for more information on the status of this bug and the company’s plans to resolve it.


You know what else is bugged to death… BUG SUR

Big Sur has worked flawlessly for me. Guess I should count myself lucky.

You should. Our company engineering department (60 Macbook Pros), have been explicitly told not to upgrade to Big Sur as the first 3 to be tried broke in three different ways.

Catalina will do for a while yet.

Been on Big Sur since the first beta and haven’t had any issues whatsoever.

Too many people replying to this with "works for me". Aye well if it was a universal bug it’d never make it out to the wild would it?

I like Big Sur, but development on it with Xcode has been messy. Sound issues under high CPU load when the iOS simulator is running is my most frustrating one currently – solved by playing sound through a bluetooth speaker rather than onboard 16MBP speakers. Somehow this is related to a Spotlight crash whilst Xcode and iOS Simulator is running as well. It doesn’t cleanly handle AirPod Pros moving to and from it as well as iPhones and iPads do too. I’ve had some more kernel panics with Big Sur than I did Catalina too.

To be clear – I like Big Sur. But it is a bit buggy.

Id imagine most of the people using it and saying its working fine probably don’t code on it like a hell of a lot of people who are reporting it as buggy do.

Webstorm, IntelliJ, VS Code and Xcode all the same.

Definite bugs.

Can we also talk please about the horrific tvOS 14 bugs? The CRC isn’t working anymore for me and for many of my friend (which means, we need to grab the useless manufacture’s TV remote just to turn it on and off after we do the same on the Apple TV remote), in apps like Netflix or Yes+ (local network) every time I’m pausing whats playing the tv getting dark for at least two seconds, sometimes more, so I can’t even skip or rewind without a few seconds of black screen, and more and more critical bugs. Apple ignoring it btw

This bug has been infuriating. At first I questioned if I was just going deaf or something.

likewise. Never easy to explain to the wife, "I swear I didn’t get the text".

Wife: he’s probably texting other girls and ignoring me…

iOS 14 bug:

Same here. It’s been happening to me since iOS 13 on multiple devices. I figured I was losing my mind.

Yep, started happening to me as well with iPhone 11 and iOS 13. It actually seems it has gotten better for me after I moved to iPhone 12 mini and iOS 14.

Yup, same here (on an iPhone 11). And this is actually the first I’ve read of it being an actual bug – it’s easy to convince yourself it must be you just missing stuff or you had the phone on mute or something. The really weird thing I noticed yesterday is that sometimes I don’t get the "ding" or the popup notification but the new message is still in my notification list, but other times it’s not there either and I only see it at all if I manually go into Messages and look at the list. So I’ve actually missed some messages for several days before seeing them.

I thought it was some default setting change about SMS notifications. I was happy about it .. I don’t want most of the texts I get anyway .. it’s always work or something like that.

This happened to me a few weeks ago. I tapped the person’s name at the top of the screen in iMessage, tapped on info, and noticed that the "hide alerts" toggle was somehow on (I definitely never turned it on). Once I turned it off, my notifications started working again.

Interesting. It’s definitely been happening for me in conversations where alerts are on as normal.

I had the same issue with a non-iMessage conversation this morning and it seems to be working again after disabling and then re-enabling notifications. I hate these Apple bugs that just occur in the background without alerting the user that something has failed.

My iMessage problem has been that sometimes when I send messages, it will instantly show as read and later it turns out the other person didn’t get any information / didn’t read the message at all…

So, on the other end it’s also broken!

that’s it being broken at the same (receiver) end, it’s opening the message on their end without telling them it’s been received.

I’ve had this bug for years. SMS messages don’t show notifications or play sound frequently. There’s no consistent reports of the bug online and no fix.

The worst part is that you don’t even get notifications on your Apple Watch either. It’s very annoying.

I’ve had this issue since getting my iPhone 12 Pro. I noticed I was missing notifications in general on my iPhone 11 Pro Max after upgrading to iOS 14. My iPhone 12 stopped giving me all notifications and Apple fixed that but iMessage notifications are still a problem.

I had a super weird issue when I first got my iPhone 12 Pro. I came from a Pixel 2XL and could still send and receive texts from my sister and mom (both on Android), but not my dad. We were on a video call and he asked if I had gotten a text from him. I asked him the same thing, and it turns out he was receiving my texts, but I wasn’t his. I had him compare his Messages settings with my mom’s (they both have the same phone), and the difference was that he had RCS Chat enabled, and she didn’t. He toggled it off and I started getting his texts. As a validation, I had him turn RCS back on and the problem returned.

What’s weird is that I know my sister and brother-in-law, both on Pixel 3s, have RCS enabled, but I had no trouble texting with them.

For certain contacts I sometimes never (it’s inconsistent) received notifications from iMessage. More recently, I don’t get any message notification other than haptic feedback (and the icon badge) while the phone is unlocked, not even on the watch. This I learned to live with, but that complete absence of notifications for just a couple of contacts two years ago was truly infuriating.
Something’s definitely not right, to this day.

Going to individual contacts/ threads, inside the messaging app, and toggling the hide alerts button seems to fix the issue.

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