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"Silent" SMSs on iPhone

xxyyz
I plan to stick around

We have a new iPhone SE (3rd generation) on a grandfathered PAYGO plan (0.70/SMS, 0.70/minute); the iPhone is synched with an iPad.


We do not use SMS, and with the previous "dumb" phone, Rogers always credited us for incoming SMSs.
With the iPhone, we get periodic pairs of SMSs - one example:
Date & Time       Charge  Number  Call Description  Call Type  Usage
03/30/2024 01:08  $0.70           Incoming SMS
03/30/2024 01:07  $0.70   49988   Outgoing SMS
The 49988 is apparently the short form of a number for Apple in Canada.

 

The SMSs do not correlate with any activity by us on the iPhone, but at least some might be related to FaceTime trying to activate itself.
There have been 25 pairs of SMSs in 8 weeks; sometimes several in one day, and one 23 day period with none.

 

Since Cellular and SMS are off on the iPhone, why are these happening and how do we stop them?

 

Apple says these are "silent" SMSs (we cannot see them on the iPhone or iPad) and the service provider is not supposed to charge for them.
Rogers has been good about crediting us, but is there a way to stop the charges?

 

***Added Labels***

13 REPLIES 13

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@xxyyz :

 

1. There is probably no way to stop the charges.  I call the Pre-paid phone number every 3 months and get credits for any spam calls that came my way.

 

https://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/Pay-as-You-Go/Prepaid-account/m-p/521259/highlight/true#M3827

 

2. Make sure you turn off Live Voicemail in your iPhone, otherwise voicemails may end up there and you'll get charged for the time.  See my post on that in the following thread about live VM:

 

https://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/Apple/Rogers-Does-Not-Support-iPhone-Live-Voicemail-Properly/m...

 

3. There may be other settings in your iPhone that may "allow" for these SMS.  Check all the iPhone settings.

 

4. Do you use voicemail? If you don't, call them to make sure it's turned off on your account.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

xxyyz
I plan to stick around

Thank you for the reply.  As I said in my post, we have no problems getting credited for spam SMSs.  The main issue is these are not spam - they are an outgoing SMS generated by our iPhone followed by an Apple SMS in response.  Why is this happening?  Does this happen to anyone else?  Is there a setting on the iPhone that will stop this?

Rogers has been good about crediting us for these SMSs, but $35.00 in 8 weeks is ridiculous.  As far as I can tell, you are right that there is no way to turn off the charges even though Apple says these are "silent" SMSs and the service provider is not supposed to charge for them.

 

We do not have a voice-mail problem; Live voice-mail is off on the iphone, and there is nothing at all in our account profile about voice-mail.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

The Silent SMS messages to 49988 is most likely due to FaceTime Registration Request. If you use Face Time, your phone will periodically send silent SMS to that. You have Pay As You Go, not Postpaid, so its likely the Prepaid billing system does not recognise those numbers since the iPhone was never not designed for standalone prepaid use

 

Turn off Facetime will probably prevent those charges.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

xxyyz
I plan to stick around

Thank you for the Reply.  I think you are right that FaceTime causes SMSs to 49988, but we turned off FaceTime on the iPhone a few days ago, and there were 6 SMS pairs yesterday when the OS updated, so it is more than just FaceTime.

 

I am puzzled - nobody else is complaining about this, but there must still be other people with a PayGo plan who have iPhones. If they are not seeing these SMSs, it might imply there is a setting on the iPhone we can change to stop them?

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

I have an iPhone SE2020 on a Pre-paid plan.  I have never seen those "silent" SMS.  I have FaceTime "on" on my iPhone and my iPad, but I FaceTime using my MacBook Air.  I have my cellular data off.  I use WiFi for everything excepting occasional calls, or the occasional text in a foreign country.

 

I really don't know what to suggest, other than looking at your various settings - perhaps some sort of notification?

 

Background below:

 

What do I use?  Photos, Camera, Calculator, PC Optimum, Texts, iMessages, Arlo Camera security app, Weather apps, Rogers apps, FindMy app, Google Maps (without cellular data, but with WiFi before leaving and Offline maps when travelling).  Calls and Texts are mostly "emergency" and I probably average less than $50/year on my grandfathered Anytime pre-paid plan (by paying $100 from my balance to stop "Auto-pay" for a year, every other year).

 

I take a screenshot of my Transaction History every month and call in to get the Spam message charges removed every 3 months.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

It's also possible iMessage may be causing this sms too.

If you use your phone mainly at home and on Wi-Fi you should be fine, but what if you are out and about and someone tries to iMessage you or Face Time you, but your phone is not connected to wifi? I am by no means an apple expert but its possible the scenario you use your phone in may be the reason why your phone "connects" to the registration server thru sms when there is no wifi data connectivity? not sure, but you can always go to the apple iPhone store in the mall and explain your situation to an Apple Genius and see if they have some advice for you?

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Pauly wrote:

It's also possible iMessage may be causing this sms too.

If you use your phone mainly at home and on Wi-Fi you should be fine, but what if you are out and about and someone tries to iMessage you or Face Time you, but your phone is not connected to wifi? 


For iMessages, for me, if I'm not connected to WiFi (where iMessages are free), then the iMessage comes through to me as a Text and I am charged the $0.70 per text. The same would happen if I send an iMessage and I'm not on WiFi, but I would usually have an indication of that when I compose the message because it would be "green" (chargeable), instead of "blue" (free iMessage).  This is because I don't have Cellular Data.  If you have Cellular Data, then it would work like WiFi.  (There are quite a few settings under "Settings - Messages")

 

Since @xxyyz says he has FaceTime off, I don't believe that's the culprit, but who knows.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Your forgetting, people can ALSO send iMessage from an iPad, iPod, and a Macintosh Computer,  when they do it thru this, since those devices are NOT connected to a cellular network, you will NOT be able to receive the message if you are out of Wi-Fi Coverage, we do not work for Apple Computer Engineering department so we do NOT know what scenarios the phone device will "poll" the iMessage or Facetime server when you are not in wifi coverage if you choose to not use cellular data for cost savings measures, but it might very well Ping the server by sending a silent sms, we just do not know which scenarios will cause this to happen because none of us work for Apple Computer Inc and are aware of how the server was designed

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

xxyyz
I plan to stick around

@Re, @Pauly thank you for your inputs.
I am pretty sure @Pauly is correct - iPhones are supposed to do the out/in silent SMS pairs for various reasons, mostly to do with FaceTime and iMessage. And, according to Appple, the service provider is not supposed to charge for them and there is no way to turn them off except by turning off FaceTime, iMessage, etc.
Today I talked to the PAYGO people again and they credited us for all the silent SMSs to date and said they have lots of other iPhone users with this problem - good to know it's not just us.
To be clear, we do NOT see these SMSs on the iPhone or on the iPad - they only show up in the Transaction History.
I don't know why you, @Re, are not seeing these charges in your Transaction History - do you maybe have a special deal with Rogers on this?

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@xxyyz wrote: I don't know why you, @Re, are not seeing these charges in your Transaction History - do you maybe have a special deal with Rogers on this?

@xxyyz : Thank you for your question.  I have had a pre-paid (Grandfathered Anytime) plan since 2009.07.04 - almost 15 years.  I have all my transaction history records going back to that time and I went through them with a fine tooth comb after your request.

 

During that time I found TWO outgoing SMS to 49988.  One was 2020.11.28 and one was 2018.06.11. Both had zero charge associated with them.  I don't know why I don't see these otherwise and I don't know why there was no charge in 2020 and 2018.

 

P.S.  I see 7726 when I report spam SMS.  As I mentioned, I get the actual spam charges reversed - usually about $10 every 3 months or so.  Since Rogers doesn't charge for 7726, perhaps they need to "code" the phone/service so that 49988 doesn't get charged...

 

Since most people have post-paid phones with unlimited texts, we represent a small portion of Rogers cellular customers and they may prefer to provide credits when requested instead of investing in proper coding? 😉 

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

xxyyz
I plan to stick around

@57 - first, apologies for the "@RE"s in my last post - I am getting old.  Second, thank you for the information - it is all a bit weird, but I agree with your final point about a small percentage of users being affected.

As long as Rogers keeps crediting us, I guess we will just live with it.

Incdentally, we have FaceTime and iMessage turned off on the iPhone, but still got another out/in pair of silent SMSs this afternoon when nobody was doing anything with the phone.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

I just want to chime in to what 57 stated, It might make more economical sense for a company to just compensate the customer with a few credits here or there when ever there is an issue, instead of spending money to make upgrades or updates to the billing system.  I believe there is very little profits made by customers using prepaid / pay as you go, so there is not much incentive to pour money into fixing it or making it better.

Re: "Silent" SMSs on iPhone

OLDYELLR
I'm a senior advisor

I'm seeing the same thing with my new to me iPhone 6S.


Rogers PayGo. Location: S-W Ontario
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