Extemely delayed text message: why?

So, last night I had dinner ready at 8 pm. My wife strolls in at 10:30 and doesn’t understand why I look unhappy, since she texted me at 5 pm about her after work plans.

Sure enough, her phone shows she sent the text but I never received it. We are both Verizon customers. Then, around midnight my phone chimes and there is the message, seven hours late.

Anyone know why that might happen? (Wasn’t a reception issue, as I received several other texts between 5 and 9)

That’s happened to me before, but it pretty rare. My guess is that the server that was handling the message crashed, and the message was queued up but never sent. Eventually there is a process that runs, perhaps at midnight, and looks for undelivered text messages and sends them out.


One evening I was with my brother who was my business partner at the time. I had texted him at about noon, and he hadn’t rec’d it yet, then we turned our conversion to some news item of the day talking about bouncing a signal of Jupiter and it took 7 hours, just about that time his phone rec’d my message 7 hours late. We decided the signal had been bounced off Jupiter and let it go!

Yeah, you got lost in the network. It happens sometimes. Sorry it was a relatively critical text. I once had a whole group message convo get to me 5ish hours late. About 10 texts back and forth over half an hour at 4 in the morning. Made me a tad cranky, tbh.

Sounds reasonable! Never happened to me before.

Dinner was ruined. Ruined, I tell ya.:smiley:

Could you give it a second?! It’s going to SPACE!!

I’m sorry.

So what were these after work plans that kept her out till 10:30 on a Monday night?

A few coworkers were laid off. A farewell party ensued, and she was the mistress of ceremonies.

Well…that’s more depressing than my what my imagination conjured up.

That’s the advertising biz. In a month they are likely to have some new account that creates the need to hire a dozen new employees.

(and it wasn’t depressing, more like a fun farewell party with an open bar and the promise of unemployment compensation)

This happened to both my wife and I over the course of about a week. We kept getting texts from certain friends at pretty late times, from around 11:00pm to almost 2:00am


We thought, ‘what the hell?’, and just texted back the next day, not bothering to ask why they texted so late.

Then, a work text came in right at Midnite Saturday. This place never calls or answers after about 4:00pm and rarely even works on Fridays.

So, I asked a pretty techy friend of mine. He said “Ghosts in the Machine.”


I got out some old Police albums, transferred them to digital, and I couldn’t be happier.


I disagree with this. I’ve had it happen before, and what appears to be happening is that the network loses track of where the phone is or doesn’t think it can receive messages. Typically, when I restart my phone, send a message, or move to a different cell area I would get a bunch of messages at once. So it’s like it suddenly sees my phone again and sends everything it has

I’ve seen it happen when the sender’s phone is roaming. I don’t know if it’s still the case with 4G and data and all the newer connectivity, but 10+ years ago if you’re phone was roaming and you sent a text it would could be hours before the other person got it. I don’t know if your phone waiting until it wasn’t roaming to send it of if that’s just the way it worked.

Traditionally, text messages piggyback on empty space in the GSM protocol (and similar). Their delivery is “best effort”, not guaranteed, and usually that’s good enough for 90% of messages. When there’s congestion or tower issues, sometimes they get delayed or disappeared altogether.

You can read the cite in wikipedia for a more technical explanation:

If you want something with better delivery chances, considering switching to something like Hangouts that’ll send it over the Internet instead and give you real-time acknowledgment of a successful send or a failure. Better yet, just call the other person for urgent things.

Actually, I prefer WhatsApp for messaging, but my wife doesn’t have it. I very rarely use my phone to place calls, and incoming calls I allow to go to voice-mail, then listen and respond via text.

I hate phone calls too and prefer to text/message whenever possible. But it’s just not 100% reliable, as you’ve discovered. Maybe find an app you can both agree to use to message each other with. Voxer is quick and easy, almost like a push-to-talk for text messages.

Happens to me from time to time, and sometimes the message is never delivered. I consider text messages unreliable and don’t use them for important messages.

That’s how I treat them. If the recipient needs to get the information, there’s nothing like a phone call to make sure that we both know that they got it.

I’ve had this happen with emails, yahoo seems to be especially horrible in this regard. Emails arriving hours later then they were sent, even though there is no reason for it.