Verizon iPhone Text, MMS, and Visual Voicemail Mystery Solved

Fred McKinnon —  July 5, 2012 — 44 Comments
verizon-iphone-4

(Image Credit: MobileMag.Com)

 

For the past several weeks I’ve been trying to figure out an ongoing issue with my Verizon iPhone 4s.   Today I stumbled upon the resolution and wanted to blog about it here so that others can find the answer.

The Symptoms:

* message failures when attempting to send MMS, group text messages, or pic messages to certain recipients.
* no visual voicemail notifications.
* random intermittent failures of notifications on other apps.
* iMessage texts fail, but can can be resent as a “regular text message”.

If you’ve been asking questions and making statements like the ones below, continue reading!

Why has my visual voicemail notifications stopped working?
Text messages to multiple recipients is failing.

I can’t send picture messages on Verizon iPhone.

For me it would be totally frustrating.   I’d compose a group message and attempt to send a picture to 4 people.  It would immediately give a message failure error and have the red exclamation point icons next to the pictures.   There were some people who I could never send a picture message to.

Apparently, this was restricted to whether the iPhone was sending as a regular text message or as an iMessage.  I had the worst time figuring it out because sometimes I could send a text to multiple recipients and sometimes I couldn’t.  Most times it failed.

I also didn’t receive voicemail notifications.  I’m a bit embarrassed to know that I went nearly 4 weeks without getting my voicemails.

The Mystery Solved

Today I finally caved and called Verizon tech support.  I was on the phone with them (including Tier 2) for about an hour.  We re-programmed the phone, reset the network settings, and did all the normal troubleshooting.  Finally, as I was going through my General Settings I noticed something at the bottom, just above the Reset button:

Profile:   onavo

Then I knew what happened.   About a month ago I saw a banner ad for an app that would “save up to 5x on your bandwidth for iPhone”.  It was one of these ads you see while playing Scramble with Friends or Words with Friends.   The app was called Onavo Extend.  I downloaded the app and used it for a couple of days.   That’s when all the problems started happening and I figured out that this bandwidth-saving app must be preventing my phone from working properly.  I deleted the app but didn’t notice any differences.

Now, a month later, I see that deleting the Onavo Extend app doesn’t fully remove it from the phone.  You still have to remove your profile.

As stated above, I went into General Settings and clicked on “Profile > Onavo > Delete” and deleted the profile.   I restarted my phone and BOOM — 30+ visual voicemail notifications.  Boxcar notifications started working again.   I sent a test pic message to my buddy, Danny, whom I’d not been able to send a pic message to for a month.  It went through instantly.

I decided that in all fairness I should report this to Onavo and as I started reporting the problem I realized they are aware of it … more than 7 months ago.   Anybody with a problem like that shouldn’t still be trying to get people to download the app.  That’s absurd.

So if you’ve been having similar problems with your iPhone 4s, check to see if a bandwidth app is installed, such as Onavo Extend.  If it is, delete the app and go into General Settings and make sure the profile is removed as well.

I’m not blogging this to bust on the company or the app – but I searched for weeks and couldn’t find any help on this issue.  Hopefully this blog entry will get archived by Google and will help someone else.  If it’s helped you, leave a comment and let me know!

Fred McKinnon

Posts

Fred McKinnon, Worship Artist, Pianist, Producer. Husband to Joy, Father of Jon Michael, Will, Rebekah, and Andrew. Lives on St. Simons Island, GA.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/carlton.stith Carlton Stith

    Thank you for the information. I too recently downloaded the app and realized that I was not getting my visual voicemails and notifications. When I found this app I thought that it was amazing and was quickly telling everyone I knew about it. I was astonished to learn that the developers of this app have been fully aware of their apps blunder. I will be deleting this app from my iPhone 4s immediately and I will refuse to download it until its updated.

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      I’m so glad my blog about it is helping get the word out. Glad you got it fixed.

      • Mazher

        Thanks Fred. I had the same exact issue! Onavo needs to fix this!

        • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

          People have been posting on Onavo’s support forum for over a year — they obviously don’t care at all … I wonder if they are even still in business.

  • Gary

    Just got the iPhone 5 and received a message I had already used 65% of my 200mb plan…that’s over 100mb usage from the Apple store to the house 2 miles away and I didn’t even get to use it yet. I used Onavo on my Android phone with no issues and it worked GREAT in reducing data usage so I installed it on my new iPhone. Tried to send a picture and it failed even after I turned cellar data back on. Thanks to your post I found the issue quickly. I do hope they will fix this issue one day because we really need an app like this. Thank you for posting!

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      Glad you found it. And how’s that iPhone 5?

    • The know it all guy

      Are you kidding me? Only 200mb??? You need to get a way better plan probably 2 gb at least

  • Jeri

    Thanks for the post! Same situation iphone 5 AT&T, 1st no lte along with no group mms till deleted the app and profile

  • Abby

    I am so thankful I found your article. I spent an hour on the phone with Verizon with no solution. Removed the Onavo app per your suggestion and my visual voicemail is working fine. God Bless!

  • Jim

    found this page googling “onavo cant send pictures”

    thank you so much friend

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.press Ken Press

    Thank you! I was unable to get visual voicemail on my iPhone 5. It was a new Verizon 5 which I had ported over from AT&T. Spent 45 mins w Verizon tech support, then 30 mins w Apple support. Saw your blog, deleted Onavo and profile … Restarted phone, and BOOM voicemails showed up. Thanks Fred!

  • http://twitter.com/Soccermommyusa Jess Moore

    Thanks! This was exactly the solution to my problem. iPhone 5 Verizon.

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      Glad it worked, Jess!

  • MChristMD

    Fred-Thank you SO much for posting your story and solution. I was ready to scream after being tossed from one tech to another at Verizon for the past couple of weeks–all of whom tried to convince me it was essentially ‘user error.’ With multiple computer/electrical eng degrees and an MD, I hardly fit into the category of an unsophisticated user, so I took great affront to this. I refused to let them wipe the phone out and now I’m glad I stuck to my suspicions that an App was at play here. I spent countless hours trying to determine which one was the culprit as I have hundreds. Your solution was EXACTLY the issue. Only problem on my end was that I never overtly installed Onavo. I am in the process of registering a complaint/tech alert with Apple. Thanks again.

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      Thanks for the comment. You would think Verizon would have documented it by now. I have them all the info and told them to update their database. Glad u figured it out!

  • Deb

    Fred…You are a Godsend! Thank you for posting this information because I was having the exact same problem with my iphone 4s. I don’t remember downloading the Onavo app, but unfortunately it got on my phone five days before my wedding and I didn’t know I had received some very important voice-mails regarding my wedding. Don’t feel bad, I too didn’t realize for 4 weeks that I wasn’t receiving notifications. It wasn’t until a friend said they had left me a detailed vm that I became concerned something was wrong. Today I spent 3 hrs. on the phone to Verizon tech support trying everything possible to reset the vm and nothing worked. I decided to start searching around on the internet and found your blog. I did exactly what you said and as soon as I deleted Onavo, I instantly got my vm message indicator back and text message pics. Holy cow! You have saved me so much time because I was going to head to the Verizon store tomorrow and probably spend many more hrs trying to solve the mystery! Thanks again and for your post! I’m sure you will help many others to resolve this annoying issue and they’ll be as grateful as me! :-)
    Deb

  • cbauer210

    Thank you! Your my hero.

  • Karissa

    This worked on my iphone 5. So glad that I found your post about this before I did a reset. Thanks!

  • Eric

    This posting helped me greatly. I figured out it was Onavo that was my problem, but deleted it and still problem exists. This helped me realize I still had one step to do. Shame on them for still pitching this obviously flawed existing product.

  • geoff

    thank you so, so, so much for posting this! i’ve been getting so frustrated with picture message send failures all the time and i almost rage quit my iphone; however as SOON as i removed the onavo profile and app i was able to send a picture message with no issues at all. you’ve saved me from having to go out and buy a new iphone. thank you!

  • Karen

    Thanks so much for the Onavo voicemail solution. I spent ages on the phone with Verizon yesterday and we only got as far as deleting the app– but not the profile. Now I’m all sorted thanks to you!

  • Steve Basile

    Thanks for the easy perfect fix. I upvoted it on Apple Support. No one at Verizon seemed to be aware of the profile, and the need to remove it too. Even Level 3 tech support left me a message saying “remove the Onavo app” and that will fix it. I am very concerned with data use on my new Verizon iPhone5 that I have not experienced in any of my previous iPhones (and I have had them all) Since 2007 I have never exceeded 250 mb of data in a month. Verizon told me I had used that in 2 weeks. I live in a WiFi saturated area, and my phone is connected via WiFi at home and at work more than 80% of the time. Even with the Carrier Settings update, I am burning through data. Analysis showed me downloading an 80mb file while the phone was dark, off, plugged in & charging and I was asleep, at home, in a WiFi network!

  • Maddie

    Thanks so much for sharing this info. I felt like a crazy person unaware of how or why I wasn’t getting my voicemails or text messaging to work. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=27611106 Chris Ellis

    thank you so much…i had this problem with my iphone5. went from Verizon to apple to Verizon to 1-800-my-iphone. found your article deleted onavo and BOOM voice mail works!

  • Ian

    THANK YOU!!! I deleted the profile and the app and got a voicemail notification almost immediately!!

  • Michelle

    Thank you! I was about to call Verizon and probably waste my time. I searched the internet so I could resolve it myself and found your post. I had 21 voicemails stored up, I wondered why people weren’t leaving voicemails.

  • Scott

    I had the EXACT same experience as you. Wasted a few hours dealing with Verizon and Apple and YOU solved the problem!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      Thanks! Never would’ve dreamed this post would help so many people. You’d think Verizon support would have this figured out by now, as well as Apple Support. Fred McKinnon
      —————-
      email: fred@fredmckinnon.com
      twitter: @fmckinnon
      facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fredmckinnon

  • Mel

    I also had the same problem with my iPhone 4s. Several calls to Verizon and no solution. I do a bit of Googling and find your solution. Followed directions and now I can send texts and pictures to multiple recipients and my visual voice mail feature works. Why can’t Verizon figure it out!?! Thank You!!!

  • Alice

    you made my day!!!! I just found out I had not rec’d VM notices for since Oct. Only when I called to check did I know I had a dozen VMM. I had also spent hours w/ Verizon and they could not fix it so I could receive and sent pics to/from certain phone. Now both are fixed!!!!! Thanks so very much for posting this!

  • Mark

    Thanks for your post – it was the right answer for my problem.

    I have a Verizon iPhone 5 and had downloaded the Onavo app, deleted it, and thought nothing more about it. I did not realize until recently that I had not been getting my voicemail messages. I discovered on a few occasions that when I disabled my Cellular Data (which I do sometimes because it’s the only way I can get my phone to connect to local wifi – so if someone has an explanation for that annoyance, I would be grateful) – anyway, when I would switch to wifi, a voicemail indicator would show up by the phone icon, and I would have numerous messages going back weeks. The Visual Voicemail part of it wasn’t working either, but I was able to dial in and retrieve the messages. Today when I missed an important voicemail, I decided to drill a little further down on my Google search and lucked upon your post.

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      Glad it helped Mark!

  • btogashi

    I wish that I had researched this before I wasted my time on the phone with the Verizon specialist. They knew it was from the app but even after I deleted it I still couldn’t get my visual voicemails. They told me I needed to restore my phone. I waited a few days to do it but when I finally did it still didn’t work! I finally searched it on google and found out you had to delete it in your profile. Why didn’t they know this?!?!?!?! Thank you for fixing my voicemail issue!

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

      I keep thinking one day maybe Verizon will add this blog to their knowledge base! Glad you found it.

  • Rob

    Thanks for your post! I called Verizon a few times regarding this issue and no one had an answer, but they offered to give me a refurbished replacement phone. My problems started when I went to Germany and used a Blau sim card (Verizon unlocked my phone for me). When I came back, MMS and Visual Voicemail wouldn’t work. I found an Internet profile in my general settings, and when I clicked into it, I noticed settings for blau. I removed it and restarted my phone and everything is back to normal. Thanks!!

  • Kelly

    thank you SO much!!!!!!! i have literally spent weeks searching for this answer to my problem!!!!!! same with voicemails – almost a whole month. ugh!

  • davina

    You have no idea how thankful I am for you and this post! I have spent hours at Verizon and Apple with no solution…until your post!!! THANK YOU!!!

    • http://www.fredmckinnon.com Fred McKinnon

      I keep wondering when verizon and Apple will realize it!? Glad you found it, though.

  • SteveB

    Thanks for this, have had this problem for a while now and just found this page through a google search. Removed the onovo profile through settings as you suggested and as if by magic my text to multiple recipients worked! Steve.

  • Lola Napolitano

    I removed the onavo app but can’t find the “profile” to remove on the iPhone 5s. Can anyone help?