Google breaks SMS and then quickly rolls it back

Google Carrier Services v50 breaks SMS functionality. Jack Wallen explains and shows you how to roll back to a working version.

Diego Cervo, Getty Images/iStockphoto

You might have very briefly discovered your Android SMS messages app refusing to work properly. Out of nowhere your phone failed to either send or receive messages. As it turns out, Google released an update to the Messages app that had an issue tucked within Carrier Services v50, which is the communication service that includes battery-optimizations and support for enhanced features in the Android Messages app.

As you may know, Google has been in a game of catch-up with Apple in this respect. More recent iterations of Android allowed users to enable enhanced features for Messages. Unfortunately, those features didn’t work with every carrier, so your mileage certainly did vary. In fact, when the feature first rolled out, it wasn’t available for my provider, AT&T, but now it is.

Since the enhanced version of Messages first deployed, there have been more and more updates pushed out for the service. This time around, the update didn’t play well with some devices. According to reports on Reddit, Samsung, OnePlus, LG, Motorola, and TCL phones were found to fail in the sending and receiving of SMS messages–all other carrier services function as expected with the update.

As for the Google Pixel line of phones? Even though I didn’t experience the issue, Google did roll Carrier Services back to v48 on the Pixel 5. However, on the Google Pixel 4, it still stands at v50. Surprisingly, SMS still works on the Pixel 4, so it looks like this is a device-by-device issue.

How to roll back to Carrier Services v48

What if you happen to have a device with Carrier Services v50 and SMS isn’t working? Fortunately, Google makes it pretty easy to uninstall updates. To do this for Carrier Services, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Locate and tap Apps & Notifications.
  3. Tap See All X Apps (where X is the number of apps you have installed).
  4. Scroll down and tap Carrier Services.
  5. Tap the menu button in the top-right corner.
  6. Tap Uninstall Updates (Figure A).
  7. When prompted, OK the update.

Figure A

Uninstalling the v50 update of Carrier Services.

Once you’ve removed the update, head over to the Google Play Store and search for Carrier Services. You’ll see that an update is available. This is the v48 update–go ahead and run that update. You should only have to run that update if you rolled back Carrier Services manually. If Android does it for you, you’re all set.

Either way, with Carrier Services v48, SMS should work as expected.

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