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Text message fails on iPhone: “Error invalid number” notification

Text message fails on iPhone: Error invalid number notification

AT&T will say it’s Apple fault. Apple will say it’s AT&T’s fault. Either way, there’s a solution to get rid of that nagging problem that won’t let you send texts on your iPhone.

I received a text from a friend of mine today, but when I went to reply I was soon greeted with an automated response from AT&T saying I was trying to contact a non-existent phone number:

From: 1 (121) 611-611
Error invalid number. Please re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number or valid short code.

I believe this problem stemmed from me adding a person to my iPhone’s contacts without the area code. Even when I went back into my contacts to edit the phone number with the area code, I was unsuccessful at shaking the error. Making a completely new contact and clearing the conversation’s contents didn’t resolve the problem either. The real solution, as it turns out, is to totally delete the conversation from the Text Messages screen.

To delete the entire conversation, tap the Edit button on the main Text Messages screen. Press the minus symbol next to the problematic conversation and confirm that you want to delete it. That should be all you need to do, aside from adding the area code to your contact’s phone number.

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83 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Hey did you ever figure out another way to text or if apple fixed this problem–it happens to me daily and is such a pain–i tried your tip and i think it worked but i have to do a new text every time-can’t reply–for some reason all my long distance friends it works with but not locally–very weird and so annoying

Hey Mark, thanks for visiting! As far as I know, this problem can still occur even with the 2.1 software update, but I’m not 100% sure. As long as you have an area code included in the phone number for all your contacts (even the local ones) and then delete your existing conversations, this issue shouldn’t be a daily occurrence anymore.

Thanks a million, solution does indeed work!

Thank you!! I tried everything i could possibly think of. But this worked like a charm. I would have never thought of that. thanks!

You fix for the invalid number error worked! Thanks guys!

i still have this issue with a couple of my contacts and even this method and restoring the iphone did not work.. idk what else to try.. very frustrating

Ya I have this problem with just one contact on the cricket network, and I can not send anything. I have restored, deleted them, deleted messages, i have purged my phone of anything related to them. Any ideas?

How can I add the area code to all my contacts at once rather than have to edit them one by one?


I’m not sure how you would be able to do that. Making the changes on your computer in Address Book (or Outlook if you’re on a PC) would be faster than directly on the iPhone. The only way I could see doing a batch edit like this is with AppleScript, which I am not an expert on. Perhaps someone with more knowledge could help out?

@Mark: I’m having the same issue with a person on Cricket. I wonder what the issue is with that network.

I just tried texting myself then the person i keep getting the error from and somehow texting your-self first fixed it.

I’m getting this error no matter what, I delete the conversation and the contact and type the number into the Text manually and still get this error back instantly.

I also get this problem when sending to a fellow iPhone 3GS on AT&T! I have tried everything, deleting conversation, deleting all phone records, deleting contact, rebooting, etc….nothing works!!
Please help!!!!

Ok, after deleting conversation, deleting all phone records *not just this particular person, deleting the contact, & rebooting….it FINALLY worked…what a pain in the arse…

Thanks a ton!

This solution worked for me.

I tried what you said and I still had the same problem… I looked again and then realized that I had sent that particular contact something in a forwarded message.. Once I deleted everything including the forward messages sent to that contact it worked like a charm!! Thanks a million!!

It really works Thank you so much!!!

Woohoo! Awesome! This worked great! I was about to got to ATT store cuz this really annoyed me!

Another possible problem. The phone doesn’t accept texts because it is a landline or a pay-as-you-go phone. Just spent way too much time figuring that one out. Double DOH!

well that doesnt do anything but frustrate me even more… oh and yea its a cell number. if they text me i can text back but if i erase the message (like i did) then i cant send anything. ive erased added the area code. erased all messages and calls then erased his name and number from my phone. go to add new text type the area code and number in and send a message. as soon as it sends the area code disappears. Wish i got a windows phone instead

Hey thanks for the info…..I’ve spent hours on the phone with AT&T and online with Blackberry to figure out why all of the sudden I couldn’t text my son! By adding the area code and deleting previous conversations (the most important step), I can now text to my son. So simply, but such an ass pain to figure out!

Any other issue please contact. 1-800 My-Iphone or 1-800-694-7466.

Monday – Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Saturday – Sunday8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

This is so stupid! I just got the iPhone 4 running iOS 5.0.1. I want to be able to just enter a local number and my phone knows to just add the local ears code of 414. So if I enter 470-1xx7, it should send a text to 1-414-470-1xx7 BUT it doesn’t. I am sure I am missing the default area code setting somewhere but I can’t find it. NE1 please help

I tried this and it did not work… :( Any more advice?

wow, really works! thanks.

The above mentioned didn’t work for me, but what did work was when I sent the text via the contact screen at the top of the text screen. A little bit more work, but it does work. FYI the contact that I have a problem with is a pay as you go phone.

The only way I can text my 2 sisters since updating my phone is to go into the contact list and hit send message button & then choose phone # to text….it’s frustrating since it happens to only 2 people in my texting. All other texts to people go through…grrr.
I have always had 10 digit #’s in my phone…so I can assume that it is due to the updating….

I figured out how to solve this problem. When I deleted the person’s info from my contacts it still left the 7 digit number in messages. If you go to messages and delete the number from there, it works.

You’re awesome, this worked perfect. This was bothering me for the longest time while AT&T and Apple were no help.

I also deleted any group messages that had that contact in it, that seemed to help.

Ok, I have a contact that I’ve been texting for years and all of a sudden it has started coming back as undeliverable with the numbers, etc. If I go into the contact list and text from there it is fine, if I reply to the one she just sent it comes back.

I continue to get this number regardless how often I delete the conversation. Also the exact text is actually sent to this person beneath the error one! It is frustrating for this one number.

I can not stand this…I went thru the list of things that folks have suggested and still get the error code+1 (1) (216) 116-11. Is anyone getting this and what did you do to correct it…Its driving me crazy

I am getting the same +1 (1) (216) 116-11 It is extremely frustrating and I just spent 20 min on the phone with at&t and they couldnt tell me anything. If anyone knows how to fix this please help!

this worked for me, took an hour to delete one thing after another, but worked in the end

None of these hints has helped me at all. I’m frustrated! I guess I just won’t text anymore….I still have 1 more year before I can upgrade to another phone. It will be a long, non texting year it seems. I guess I’ll just cancel my texting plan

This did not work for me. After I deleted the entire conversation, I tried to text again and got that same message. This has only been happening since 6/23/12 and only with my sister-in-law that I’ve texted hundreds of times! Finally, I deleted her contact and started over. It seems to be working now.

I think Rick nailed it! My problem started right after I sent a group message with this particular contact in it!! Only one member of the 3 person group got the message. When she replied back to all, my SIL got her message but not my original one. So weird.

I had two contacts who I could not text to. I did what was suggested (delete conversations with each person and then I reentered the phone number with area code). It again came back with the same error. SO I after I did the deletion, etc. I completely shut down my phone and rebooted and now I don’t have the problem anymore. It’s been two days and I have been running tests with these two people and it seems to have taken care of the problem.

THANK YOU! I had tried alot of things but this fixed my phone! Thanks again!

This is BS!! Just got the I5 and have the same problem. So, i have to add a contact everything i want to send a text to someone?

OK. So with all your comments, I was able to fix my problem. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to literally erase any communication that I had previously with that person (even if they were in a group message). Reboot my phone, text myself first, then put their number in (555)555-5555 and text them. It worked! Thank so much

1. Go to and delete contact.
2. Go to meessages and delete all messages to that contact.
3. Go to phone/recent and delete all calls to that contact.
4. Enter contact again with area code and you should be good.

Deleting the entire conversations seemed to fix the problem so far for me. Many thanks.

Had the same issue, I followed Barry’s step and also deleted the contact and create a new one and just to be safe used a different name for the contact. This corrected it for me.

The key us to not only delete conversation with that contact but any group text that they are in.

Thanks. Deleting all messages, instances of the number in contacts (unknown to me, the iPhone created multiple instances of the offending contact), phone logs and then rebooting solved the problem.

thanks i got a prepaid plan and they charged me six fold the regular ammount for each wrong text you saved me!!!!!!!!!!

Frankie P., you are the shit, thanks man.

I was having the same problem and here is how I fixed it.

I have fixed this problem on my iphone.

1. Delete all record of the problem number that will not except text messages.
Including contact, favorites, call log, text log…

2. send a text message to the phone number manually make sure to include the area code, no 1 needed.

3. click the sms button on your home screen, then select the number you just sent the message to and create a new contact from there.

Thank you, Dan I. This worked!

Fix worked when I finally found a group msg with the problem number in it. Once that was deleted I was good to go.

Every time Apple does an upgrade, something else gets screwed up.
I dread every new announcement.

Oh my freaking goodness I finally fixed it! The group messaging was my issue once i deleted that last little thing it worked

Thank you!! I have been struggling with this for months and this helped so much!

it worked…thank you!

I’ve had this problem for the longest! So I had to delete all conversations and the contact, then turn my iphone off and on, then send a text to myself. After that I typed the problem number in manually and it finally worked! woohoo

[…] Text message fails on iPhone: “Error invalid number … – Fix an iPhone that won’t let you send a text message. “Error invalid number. Please re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number or valid short code.”… […]

[…] Text message fails on iPhone: “Error invalid number … – Fix an iPhone that won’t let you send a text message. “Error invalid number. Please re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number or valid short code.”… […]

[…] Text message fails on iPhone: “Error invalid number … – Fix an iPhone that won’t let you send a text message. “Error invalid number. Please re-send using a valid 10 digit mobile number or valid short code.”… […]

here are the steps:
1. Delete the name and number from your contact list, recent call list, Fav list, and any and all message threads.
2. Start a new text by typing in the first letter or so of the person’s name (or the digits of the number) and they should still pop up in a drop down box
3. Instead of selecting it for the text recipient, select the little “i” beside it and a new menu will pop up (that is the RECENT menu)
4. Select REMOVE from the top right corner
5. Do this for every instance with the name and number in it
6. Try a new text–nothing should pop up when you enter the number if everything is removed. 
7. Power Cycle the phone
8. Go to messages and make a new text with the number. It should now work, then re save the number as a new contact

Thanks for your solution–it worked perfectly!

Thank you! That worked like a charm!

I’ve tried everything in this blog string and nothing worked. Still can’t get texts through without error. Pain in arse.

I fixed mine by deleting the contact and all of my text messages

Found a super super easy way.

Instead of entering the number as:

(555) 555 – 5555
1 (555) 555 – 5555

Enter the number as “+1 555-5555”

For Some reason putting plus sign before the whole number made the difference. No erasing my contacts, just adding a plus. It could be because my phone is a world phone Discover V5 Landrover Edition that this works. Hope this helps someone else.

I tried everything that was mentioned above, but none of these suggestions worked for me. I discovered that my husband’s iPhone number was entered as a home phone number. I edited his info, kept hitting “add number” until iPhone appeared, and entered it under iPhone and it worked!!! No more annoying “Error invalid number…” and he actually received my text!

None of these things is working. I found the recipient has the same 7-digit number as another contact, but with a different area code. I wonder if that’s a reason.

For some reason I had this same issue, but nothing worked. It wasn’t until I just tried entering the phone number in several times did I realize it didn’t like the 1 in front of the number. So entering it as 1(555)555-5555 gave the error message, entering it just as 555-5555 gave the error message, but when I entered it as (555)555-5555 the text finally went thru. I also had their number set as “Mobile”, but I don’t think this had any effect on fixing the issue. Removing the 1 however was the fix for this in my particular case.

Just started to happen to me this morning with 2 people that I has no problems with yesterday. I’m using a Galaxy 5.

It’s only happening when I message someone with an iPhone from my Galaxy. None of the fixes that I’ve read are working.

Delete that persons messages and their phone number then save their number with out and without the +1. It works for me. *I called my phone company they said they are working on the problem) it’s annoying cause my bf have the same phone I do and his is fine

I began receiving this problem today as well. AT&T HTC One. Anyone have any suggestions? Is this an AT&T problem? My kids have AT&T iPhones and they are NOT experiencing this, only me… the Android user.

Same thing happened to me today. I have an LG phone that was texting to one person fine last night. This morning received text, replied and received the error message. Second person texted me this morning, replied and the error message again. Checked both texts from others and the problem seems to be that the phone is adding an additional 1 when the incoming message arrives so when I reply, it is too many numbers. I have tried the solutions above…seems to have fixed it with the deleting of the contacts & re-saving them…PITA!!!

I have an iPhone 5c. I have never had any problems with it until this morning and it started doing this exact same thing I deleted the conversation it stopped for a few hours and now it’s doing it and it will not let me send a message to my mom. I’ve deleted her contact every entered it. I’ve tried everything. About to go crazy

I deleted all of my text messages and the contact from my list of contacts. Then sent a new text to that same problematic number and it finally worked. Good to know I wasn’t the only one with the problem. Thanks for all the solution ideas and advice.

Recently switched from Verizon to Straight Talk. My daughter’s phone (iphone 5c) is doing this same thing with a few numbers. We have tried all of these remedies and aren’t getting any results. Suggestions would be great.


I have the invalid code that I get when I send a text. I have read and followed the tips that were given. By doing all that I still get the invalid code. This is very frustrating. Help needed.

Thanks, Mary

I am getting the invalid code when I try to send a text to only one person. I have read through all this and spent 1 1/12 hrs on the phone with AT&T wiped my phone I can text after my phone is wiped then when I recover it bounces it back. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!they tell me my only option is to wipe my phone and start over! ridiculous!

I am having the same Invalid 10 digit number and I am on SPRINT carrier so its not just an ATT Problem!

I’m having the same issue with Straight Talk. I called them and they said its an issue with my phone. Does anyone know what is the correct 10 digit code format?

I’m having the exact same problem with just one person. Everyone else in my contacts is fine and can receive my texts. I have done everything to correct this! Soooo frustrating!

I am having this problem as well…. I have tried everything including wiping the phone and reinstalling everything. What I find absolutely interesting and completely disappointing is the fact that this seems to be a very common problem… This thread goes back 8 years and there is still no fix! REALLY??? Come on……. For the amount of money they charge for these devices and what they charge for services this is completely unacceptable……. So here is one little tidbit ill add in my findings as im continually trying to resolve this issue… After deleting all contact info and recent messages associated with this number I also found if you do a spotlight search the error messages come up with the questionable number in it. I believe this to be the source of the number disallowing text messages to go through even adding the area code… I am so disappointed that they have not come up with a simple fix for this… What an absolute PITA……..

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