Bob from Oklahoma is having trouble with his phone.  He writes  “My cell phone provider told me that I can not send photos from a smart phone to an Iphone. Haven’t been able to send or receive photos for a long time, even though I’m set up to do that. Now they want to replace the SIM card, to fix the problem. Should I be looking for another cell phone provider? Thanks.”

Hi, Bob.  Thanks for the great question!

As it happens, I worked for a “major cell phone provider” for a couple of years, and let me start by saying that there are multiple ways of sending pictures from a “smart” phone (I’m going to assume that you mean an Android, although you could be one of the ten people with a Windows phone) and an Iphone (also, technically, a “smart” phone).  You could use SMS messaging, Bluetooth, e-mail… So I think that maybe the rep that you were dealing with was simply new to the whole smartphone thing and wasn’t quite with the program yet.

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Having said that, I don’t think that the SIM card is your problem.  A bad SIM card can cause a multitude of problems, but I’ve never personally heard of one blocking the sending of pictures without a whole bunch else going wrong with your phone at the same time.

Another thing that you didn’t say was HOW you’re trying to send these pictures.  Since you’re talking about a difference between Android (or Windows) and Apple, and your rep mentioned the SIM card that it must be text messaging.  So, let me put my phone rep troubleshooting hat on and say that I’m going to bet that either A) you’ve gotten your phone fairly recently or B) you’ve changed your plan recently.  I would go a step further and guess that you’re having other issues with your data, but don’t really use data much so it doesn’t worry you.

If I got those right, no, it’s not because I’m psychic, it’s because if there’s a problem with your data stream, that will prevent MMS messaging (which is multi-media messaging, such as photos) from going through.  I had this problem when I got a new phone, and they forgot to re-add my data plan.  Again, I was still fairly new to using data on my phone, and most of what I did use was over wi-fi, so I didn’t see the connection.  But it’s there.

So the first thing that you want to do is to call your provider back and make sure that A) they reapplied your data plan and B) make sure that it’s the CORRECT data plan.  For instance, if you went from a 3G to 4G LTE phone, make sure that they updated it to the correct plan for your phone.  If all of that’s correct, make sure that your data is turned on in your device.  The instructions for doing this vary from device to device, but typically you’ll find it somewhere near the top of your “settings” menu.

If you’ve done all of that, and it still doesn’t work, and your provider will give you a new SIM card and activate it without charging you, go for it.  Like I say, I’ve never heard of this problem occurring with a SIM card without a raft of other phone problems popping up, but weirder things have happened before breakfast on a Sunday morning.  If they want to charge you for the SIM or the activation, then do yourself a big favor and bring your phone to a tech-savvy friend to see if they can fix the problem for you.  Don’t go out any more money on this issue than you absolutely have to, because honestly, I don’t think that a new SIM card would fix it.

I hope that this helps!

~ Randal Schaffer