How to automatically receive MMS picture messages


“Those dreaded MMS messages are so frustrating! I can’get them to automatically download, and even when I manually try to download it, sometimes it still doesn’t even work!” This is the problem that many smartphone users go through. MMS messages not automatically downloading is a widespread and extremely frustrating. There’s no telling as to why MMS messages just won’t work how they’re supposed to without any tinkering, but with just a few minutes of your time, you can get your favorite text messaging app retrieving and downloading MMS without a hitch.

It’s not a difficult process, and in most cases, it’s the same series of steps for any text messaging app. And without further ado, here’s how to get MMS messages to download automatically.

Setting up MMS auto-retrieval


Again, setting up MMS auto-retrieval is a quick and easy process. First, open up your text messaging app. Next, in the right hand corner, tap the three-dot menu button and select Settings. Finally, scroll down to auto-retrieve and make sure the box is checked.

While you’re at it, it’s also a good practice to have Group Messaging checked, allowing you to send a MMS message to multiple people and get responses back in one group message over multiple individual responses.

Doing this should encourage your MMS messages to automatically download. However, even after following the prior steps, some people still have trouble with getting MMS messages to download properly. Here are a couple of ways to fix that problem:

1. Shut down, power on


The problem could be that your smartphone just needs to be restarted. It’s normal for technology to get hung up and error out, and while it can happen quite frequently, it can be fixed by quickly restarting or powering your smartphone on and off. To do this, hold down the power button for a few seconds and select Power off. Once powered off, hold down the power button again for a few seconds and let it boot up. Alternatively, hold the power button down for a few seconds. When the menu appears, select Restart. Both of these messages should fix any errors or hang-ups your smartphone is having.

If that didn’t work, you may need to move onto the next step.

2. Out with the old

Sometimes you just have way too many messages saved on your Android device. This can easily clog up your smartphone and cause it to experience some hang-ups. Head on through your list of saved messages and start clearing out text and MMS messages that you no longer need. This will not only free up some space on your Android device, but could fix the problem of having some MMS messages refuse to download as well.

If this didn’t work, it might be time to take some more drastic measures.

3. Hard reset


If the above methods haven’t worked, it might be time to reset your smartphone. Before continuing with a factory reset, you’ll want to make sure all of your data is backed up first. Go ahead and read this handy step-by-step guide on how to backup to the cloud we put together. Alternatively, in most cases, much of your app data is backed up to Google’s servers. You might want to double check on that by going into Settings > Backup and Reset and making sure Back up my data is checked. If so, you can go ahead and follow the below steps.

Head into Settings > Backup and Reset and select Factory data reset. Follow the steps that the reset wizard takes you through, and then when initializing your smartphone again, make sure to select the option for restoring your device over starting fresh.


These steps should have fixed your woes with MMS messages. One thing to keep in mind is that some MMS issues have to deal with your carrier. For instance, sending an MMS message over 1MB on T-Mobile’s network just won’t work. Likewise, MMS messages sent to you over 1MB will have trouble downloading. If you have a particular picture or video you really want to share, it might be worth uploading it to Facebook or another social networking service and sharing it with your friends and family there.

If you’re still having trouble retrieving and sending MMS messages, it might be worth contacting your carrier to see if there are any deeper, underlying issues at hand. Otherwise, if we helped you fix your issue, be sure to leave us a comment below!

About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.

  • Ron Dancaster

    Hey, how about the next article describes how to turn on wifi to avoid those costly network data charges!

  • Don

    Thanks so much for this…I hated seeing that “download” box in a msg!

  • Heidi

    Hi Im concerned that my mms messages are being forwarded to a 3rd party with out my doing….is this possible and is there a way to find out?

    • heidi

      Anyone have any ideas?

      • wcb123

        stop sending naked pics of yourself then it doesnt matter :)

      • need2know

        I would like to know this, too. I don’t care if it’s just a pic of my kid, I don’t want it being distributed to a third party!

  • tammy

    thanks I final
    y got my mms working. YOUR MY HERO!!!

  • mel

    And if that doesnt work???

    • dan

      yes, if that doesnt work….

    • x_grinder_x

      yeah, doesn’t work for me either. I already had mine set like this and I still get MMS download buttons and sometimes they don’t work

      • sherry

        If the message is there and stuck on downloading uncheck auto retrieve enable mobile web or wifi and manually click download in the message it will then appear be sure to go back and recheck auto retrieve when done so other messages will come thru when mobile web or wifi are active thats the only time you can recieve a mms is when you have a internet connection

  • nancy

    This worked perfectly for my new Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate. I just started using Net 10 as my provider and am happy with the service. The Handcent app was easy and I am able to download media. Don’t ask me how it works, it does. Thank you for the tips.

  • patrick

    Hello !!! Thanks

  • tristie

    Thank you thank you thank you. This has been an issue for years (of course I need a new phone) but the app really is perfect.

  • srbeachgull

    For weeks….had to make everyone send pics to email!!!!! No more!!!! THANKS GENIUS….sooo simple…..dumb people shouldn’t have smart phones!!!!

  • Robert

    thanks this helped me a lot. It was really annoying to download the multimedia message.

  • Max (Samsung Galaxy Note 3)

    Didn’t have this problem on my old phone, but got the new Galaxy Note 3 and was having this issue. This totally fixed the problem within 30 seconds. A+++++++++

  • linn

    I have a question. I’m asking it here because this is the only place on the web I could even find a picture of and icon that keeps popping up on my lg optimus f3. Scroll up and look at the icon in the left corner. It’s a black and white box with a mountain looking picture in it. What is it? What does it mean?I have had my phone about 2 months with a new number. Every single time anyone sends me a text, I mean anyone in my contacts that box appears in the upper left corner. I can only access it in the drop down screen. When I do there is a phone number there I don’t know. The same number every time. Messages from my contacts or anyone go right where they are suppose to. In the screen drop box I try to clear the number and it won’t go away. I have to keep my finger on it and go to apps and force it to close or stop. It goes away until I receive another text. Also if it’s not there when I turn my phone off it quickly appears when I turn it back on. I called the number from another phone and the person on the other end didn’t know anything about it, but they said the phone number I have was the the number for one of their old phones no longer in service.BTW I have service with metro and they were clueless as to what it means.

    • will

      Its a screen shot, go to ur photo gallery & u will find the screenshots in it.

  • johnbrian

    Thank u – was wondering how to fix this!

  • Stacy Lynn Kissinger-Hammersto

    Did this,
    still does not work

  • Heather

    Hi I have a question?? I can’t find an answer anywhere please help!? If I’m the primary account holder with at&t, I have 2 phones, my phone is a galaxy note 3, my kid has a galaxy5,, shit I’m not sure, thus the need for help :) I want too be able to receive his old ,New, and future texts( and call logs if possible) without his knowledge, I’ve heard it’s possible I just can’t fight it out! Please, thanks in advance, Heather

    • Cares4all59

      Don’t spy on your kid

  • Ruth

    I’ve followed all your instructions and I still can’t receive MMS on my Galaxy Note 3. So frustrating. I can send ok.

  • Rachel

    Downloaded GO SMS on my Samsung Galaxy S4 and I can get the messages now! Thanks so much!

  • Gailouise

    Thank you, Rachel! I, too, downloaded Go SMS onto my Galaxy S4 and can now get the photos from my granddaughter! Why doesn’t the installed software work like it’s supposed to????

  • chris

    There is no autoretrieve button

  • R N

    I have the “factory” version of mms on my Galaxy 4 phone.
    When I receive photos, they are always fuzzy. There is no adjustment for mms on the phone.
    Any help is welcome

  • Wrathgaar

    I’m assuming that you still need to have mobile data switched on to receive MMSs even if this guide bypasses the ‘download’ button.
    My last phone was an old Ericsson flip-phone, made before modern touch-screen smart phones had even been invented. I didn’t have a single byte of data on my plan for that old phone and it would always receive MMSs just fine over the standard messaging network. Now that I’ve got a Galaxy S3 I’ve opted for a cheap plan with only a tiny shred of data for emergencies, as I really don’t have much use for it otherwise. Is there any way to get my S3 to receive MMSs without having data on, like my old phone used to?

    • Sherry Watters Benfit

      I turned on the mobile data, per the first line of your reply, even though I was on wifi. It instantly open the attachment. Thank you!

    • Jerry

      Did u ever find a solution to ur problem because i have the same… virgin carer (sprint)

  • Bonnie Hittle

    I already have the auto retrieve button clicked and I still receive mms messages that refuse to download no matter how many bars I have.

    • Carden


  • j41005

    How come when I send a text message from my LG 4g phone to multiple people they continue to come back as single messages that I have to open, read and reply individually. This sucks! When I am communicating with a group I don’t want to have to reply to each person separately. Is this an LG thing?? If so, their phone, based on this alone, is not worth having.

  • Wascwywbt

    If you device is vulnerable to the stage fright mms exploit, consider disabling mms auto-retrieval.

  • Also enable cellular data.

  • CockneyblokefromReading

    Why doesn’t ANYTHING in ‘technology’ work properly? I’m an engineer, and if engineering went wrong like computer/phone technology does, everyone would go mad! I can never get these mms pictures, and why should I have to do all the above to get them – they should just work! I can’t get Channel 4 catch up to run – and they say I should clear my temporary files cache. WHY? Why should I have to do that to get it to work? Their adverts run fine, but as soon as I try to watch a programme, it breaks up. Everything ‘tech’ is crap.

  • Brian Turley

    Just to put what solved this for me out there – I have a galaxy and could not get any mms or group texts. I solved it by going into my APN settings under “APN type”. Before I only had “default” in there. I changed it to “default,mms,fota,hipri,supl” and that worked! No spaces in between the commas. I had a flood of MMS messages come through that had been waiting this whole time.

    • Kathy McCann

      Thank you Brian for taking the time to offer what worked for you. I was only able to select “APN types” from a list and only three of the types you mentioned were available {default,mms,supl}. I wasn’t able to change just the APN type, I also had to re-enter the other values provided by my network carrier. The new settings didn’t override the APN settings I’d been provided with by NET10 and I now have two APNs. The APN I created thanks to your solution did the trick. Not only did the MMS message come through, a large SMS downloaded as well.

    • Pris

      my apn page lists “not set” after each titile

    • Rachel taylor

      Brian thanks you so much, I have had this problem since I bought my new galaxy edge and it fix it using your recommendation. This was very frustrating. All of my messages are floating in now. Thanks

    • naomi lotts

      Thanks Brian!! Your tip helped me!!

    • jas wilson

      The only tip that actually worked, thank you Brian you’re a legend!

    • ETEK Electronics

      Thanks a lot!!!! It’s worked with my family 3 Galaxy phones. Thanks again.

  • Emma

    Hi, i have been having probelms recieving photos and downloading them on my samsung galxcy s6 edge plus from the begining (i got it 7 months ago) and have only been able to download one photo from my text messaging ive done it all except factory reset and i dont have a sim card and i have a hard time trusting google to back up everything. And i have deleted many files all catche and junk NOTHING ELSE can someone please help me!!!

  • Virulent

    I got my Nexus 5X this week and I was able to receive images on the default messenger, but I downloaded Go SMS pro [and I love it], except it won’t download pictures. If I go back to the default app, I get them just fine. I tried fiddling with the settings and restarting, but still can’t download any images. Is there anything else I’m missing?

  • scamp

    i have a galaxy 3, in the app info, should i clear data and cache? If anyone can answer this I will name my first born son after you, or (girl)!!!

  • Doris

    I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 phone (got it about a month and half ago) I can received mms multimedia texts and they download but they wont open once they are downloaded. This is frustrating… I need to know how to get to the mobile data settings someone said that I should do this but I cant find it. Can someone help me, PLEASE!!

    • Angie Jin

      I have an LG adriod phone but i do belive if giving you the basic steps, i think you can get to the mobile data part. first, go to settings and go to wireless network. There should be a caption of mobile data. Activate that on and that should work.

      • Chris Ward

        Thank you so much angi this article didn’t help but your comment fixed my issue,thanks again

      • June Gowing

        I didn’t really believe this would work since I have good wifi at home, but it worked immediately. Bravo Angie.

  • Sheila Dexter

    Thank you. These tips helped way better than the last ones I searched thru.

  • Jessica

    I have a g5 and can not download my picture from massager and have tried all of these and still not working

  • Jessica

    How can I hear my phone text

  • disqus_hDV1D3OuJw

    I finally got mms message to download on my Tracfone LGL22C just by changing from wifi to mobile , hooray! I didn’t have to make any other changes.

  • Paladin

    Your problem is probably AT&T. They almost never get MMS from other carriers because they have their own way of interpretting the file and it seldom works

  • barry

    the wife has a STK phone 3g has received mms video`s but cant retrieve them even after trying your way ,do I just bin this piece of crap and buy her a new phone ???????????.

  • ct

    downloaded the google messaging app for android…. problem solved

  • Amy Hyder

    For some reason I cannot retrieve MMS msgs IF my Wifi is on. My old phone would automatically switch to 4g/lte and download it. Now if someone sends me anything I usually have to turn my Wifi off and have them resent it. It’s a pain in the ass. I have went thrust text settings and auto retrieve and all that but it doesn’t work. Brand new phone LG K7. Anyone else have this problem? I have AT and never had any issues till I got this phone.

    • Same problem with T-Mobile. I have to manually turn off Wi-fil.

  • Debbie Franz

    Tried all that…still wont download picture messages

  • Eddie


    Any idea why on my new Moto E4 (with latest Nougat update), MMS wont work with data turned off?

    The last five or six phones I’ve owned
    (including a dirt cheap $20 Alcatel) automatically toggled data on and off in the background when sending or receiving an attachment, I now have to manually do it. Very frustrating. I’m using the stock messaging app and also tried Textra because someone said there was a setting for allowing automatic data toggling, but there is no such setting now. Any idea?


  • gfy

    none of this works for my particular problem. ironically unlike everyone else in the known world my mms wont download unless i have wifi turned on. forced downloads, updates that kill my battery, apps i dont want, im going back to a flip phone, f all this unnecessary horse sht.

  • Mickery

    Finally! My MMS settings were OK, but just for fun I went to Settings/DataUsage and scrolled down to Messaging. A long-press gave me another page. At the very bottom was a checkbox for Restrict Background Data. I unchecked … problem solved! I had checked that box because my phone has limited data. Now I check/uncheck as needed.

  • Xiaomi M1 A1 – network mobile required to send/receive MMS…

  • Wolf Theurer

    Should have mentioned that you need to have data plan.

  • Lesley

    ThAnk you all for your suggestions. I have just got a Nokia 3 1 and could not receive picture messages. I finally tried APNs and changed from contract wap to paygwap and hurrah it worked.