What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

With the internet and social media connecting us more than ever, many of us are faced with the challenge of reaching out to someone internationally. While sending a text to a friend or family member in another country is easier than calling them, depending on your phone plan, the cost for those text messages can start to add up. We’ve answered your questions about texting over a long distance so you can decide how many messages to send to your loved one.

Steps

Question 1 of 7: Does texting count as long distance?

What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

Only if you’re sending texts to another country. For most phone plans, you can send a text anywhere in your home country free of charge. If you’re texting someone in a different country, you may get charged extra depending on your phone plan. If you aren’t sure, contact your phone provider and ask them about the rates for international texting.

  • In most phone plans, if you have an unlimited data plan, you can send texts anywhere in the world without getting charged extra.

Question 2 of 7: How far can a text message be delivered?

What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

Texts can be sent anywhere around the world. If you have a phone plan, you can send a text to anyone in any country. Unless they’re outside of cell range, the distance between you two shouldn’t matter.

  • If you don’t have an unlimited phone plan, sending texts outside of your network may cost you a roaming charge. Roaming charges usually kick in anytime your cell phone connects to a network that isn’t yours—for instance, if you have Verizon but your phone connects to a Sprint tower to send your message.

Question 3 of 7: Can I text internationally for free?

What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

It depends on the phone plan you have. Some phone plans cover international texting, while others charge you for it. If you do get charged, it will probably be around $0.25 per international text you send.

  • For pictures and videos, it’s usually around $0.50 each message.
  • You can find the details of your phone plan on your carrier’s website.

Question 4 of 7: Do I get charged for receiving international texts?

What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

No, as long as you don’t reply. In general, most phone plans only charge for outgoing messages, not incoming ones. If you get a text from someone in another country, you won’t be charged as long as you don’t reply to it.

Question 5 of 7: Does iMessage use long distance?

No, iMessage uses WiFi. As long as you are connected to the internet, you can send an iMessage anywhere in the world. The receiver also has to be connected to WiFi to use iMessage, though. Keep in mind that the iMessage function is only for iOS users—if you have an Android, try downloading WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to send messages via WiFi.

  • If your iMessage isn’t enabled, go to Settings > Messages > iMessage, then switch the toggle to “On.”
  • You can also send an iMessage as an SMS or a normal text message if it’s not delivering. Simply tap and hold the message, then select “Send as text message.” Keep in mind that if your phone plan doesn’t cover international texting, you might be charged for sending an international text.

Question 6 of 7: Can I iMessage internationally for free?

Yes, because iMessage uses WiFi. Since you are sending messages via the internet, you can always use iMessage for free no matter which phone plan you have. In fact, you can even use iMessage to send texts even if you don’t have a phone plan.

Question 7 of 7: What happens if a text message is too long?

What's Considered Long-Distance Texting? How to Figure Out if You'll Be Charged Extra

You might get an error message. Some phone plans won’t let you send a text message that exceeds their maximum character count (the character count varies depending on your phone carrier). If that’s the case, your phone will probably show an error message, and you can split the message up yourself to send it in 2 parts.

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