Does iMessage on iPhone use text messages?

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by MrXiro, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I have an iPad and my buddy has a 3GS. He just updated to ios 5 and I sent him a iMessage to his iPhone. He is worried that it uses his text messages of which he is over his limit of because they come through the normal message app on the iPhone. Does it use up your text messages if you are sending iMessages to an iPhone number?
  2. macrumors 603


    Oct 14, 2007
    San Jose, Ca
    Blue bubble text = free
    Green bubble text = not free
  3. thread starter macrumors 68040


    Nov 2, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Cool... I'll let him know.
    What about Grey Bubble Texts?
  4. macrumors 68000


    Feb 20, 2008
    Aren't those the incoming messages? Should be free unless you are roaming.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2010
    Paris, France
    Grey bubble texts = received texts.

    You should see a line above the text or conversation that identifies whether it's part of a "Text Message" conversation or an "iMessage" conversation.
  6. macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Just be careful with the definition of "free."

    Some people have very limited data plans, and while individual iMessages use very, very little, they do you some (and can get expensive if you're roaming on a foreign network).

    Better to say:
    Blue bubble = data
    Green bubble = SMS
  7. macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    a typical text message will be less than a byte of data. The lowest end data plan in america right now offers 200MB / Month. So if you only used that for iMessage you could send over 200 million messages. Are you really that concerned?
  8. macrumors 601


    Oct 19, 2005
    Side note, I have text incoming and outgoing text completely blocked on my phone. Have already sent and received hundreds of iMessages. Definitely doesn't use text.
  9. macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    Like I said, the main issue is if you're roaming on a foreign network. Data rates can be massive.

    Not everyone lives in America.


    In the US, the carriers count incoming texts as part of your total.
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    Off topic but is that for real? US carriers counting INCOMING texts as part of your allowance? Did not know that - learn something every day!
  11. macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC

    So, in general, my 200 text plan is really only good for about 100 texts unless the people I write to just never respond.

    This is why I hate these people:

    Them: I'm at 123 Fake St. Can you meet me here?

    Me: Ok, I'll see you in 20 minutes.

    Them: k

  12. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    Wow that sucks. I know where you're coming from I hate one-word replies, and one-letter replies are even worse!
  13. macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    Less than a byte? I think not :confused:
  14. macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    Just here to correct your math.
    One Byte of data in normal computing terms can only represent one character.

    I wish we could actually break down how much data is actually sent/received per iMessage.
    1 byte per character in the message
    + packet headers (minimum packet size?)
    + polling the servers to see if the recipient is online
    + delivery receipt confirmation
    + read receipt confirmation if the recipient has it turned on

    I just turned off my cellular data, reset the stats, turned on cellular data, and sent 2 small iMessages to my wife. (20-30 characters each)
    Usage after the first was 18KB sent, 32 KB received.
    After the second it said 42KB sent, 55KB received.

    It's not scientific proof, and my iphone might have been doing other data requests.
    But it seems to use a LOT more data than we would think.
  15. macrumors newbie

    Oct 17, 2011
    That seems a bit high, 20-30 char = 20-30 bytes. If you were in weak signal area or on a congested tower it could be retransmissions. It's going out over the air, not everything is guaranteed to get through the first time.
  16. macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010

    I think he is saying, if it shows up as blue on your end when you send, and you get a grey response, that is incoming message of the same type, therefore it is free.
  17. macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2010
  18. macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    Does that include the delivery notification?

    And can you find out how often the iDevice polls the Apple servers to see if the recipient is online? and how much data that is?

    Or how much data to receive an iMessage, for that matter....

    I'm terribly curious in how they implemented iMessage.
  19. macrumors 65816


    Jan 28, 2006
    Southern California
    I am not exactly sure what this means in terms of how much "plan data" iMessage uses, but I tried this experiment:

    I turned on Airplane Mode and then separately turned on WiFI and selected my local network.
    Then I went to text someone I know who has IOS 5 loaded on their iPhone.
    Initially, you get a message that says, "You Must Disable Airplane Mode To Send Or Receive Messages".
    Ignore that message and just hit CANCEL.
    Send an iMessage.
    (Blue Bubble)
    The message goes through as an iMessage. Replies come through as well.
    WHAT IF- you don't have a data plan at all? Will this still work? If you are on WIFI, are you using any "plan data"?
  20. macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    That's impossible. A single text character is one byte. Verify your sources, as always.

    Incorrect assumptions aside, everyone's usage is different. For some it does matter whether it matters to you or not. There's also a bit of overhead with these messages and media attachments obviously use up more data.
  21. macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2010
    Yes that does include delivery notification.
    I would like to investigate this some more when I get a little time. I did notice a very brief spinning wheel when I selected his email address the first time. I suspect there was some online/offline - sms/iMesage decisions happening then. I didn't have the packet sniffer running at that time though.
    Looks like 745 bytes received and 185 bytes sent.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2010
    Also in the US, incoming calls count towards our minutes.
  23. macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2012
    Stating that one character = one byte makes zero programming sense. Bytes are binary like "0011010101101" and it is a binary sequence that make a single character. So a character could be a number of different amounts of bytes depending on how many numbers the sequence requires to make that character. Not to mention all the other data required to send it from device to server to device. So for a iMessage to require a couple KBs is not unthinkable.
  24. macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2012
    Guys. Look it up. A byte is 8 bits. A single ASCII character is also represented by 8 bits. One byte is one character. Two or more bytes comprise a "word" of 16 bits or 32, 64 etc.
  25. macrumors 6502

    Jul 28, 2011
    Its official...people will argue about anything here in MR.

    Unless you go abnormally crazy, you won't even get close to 10MB in iMessages (excluding pictures) so ya it's practically free. I cancelled my text plan entirely just because of iMessage and the popularity of iDevices.

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