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A bizarre glitch finally sends out tons of delayed text messages from February

Published Nov 7th, 2019 8:53PM EST
Old text messages being resent
Image: Pictures/Top/REX/Shutterstock

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Tons of smartphone owners, no matter if they use Android or iOS devices, got a strange surprise overnight. Reports have trickled in all day on Thursday of long-delayed text messages (from around February, specifically Valentine’s Day, this year) finally arriving. Weirder still, they appear to be messages that were never sent in the first place and are only just now showing up on the phones of their intended recipients.

As if that wasn’t weird enough, the problem seems to span every major carrier. Social media is replete with mentions about the issue from customers of T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon — in addition to Canadian carriers as well as Google Voice users, to name just a few. And that doesn’t even cover them all.

What’s the problem? Well, as if this news wasn’t weird enough, the answer to that question is just as — you guessed it — weird. The Verge rounded up statements from various carriers who tried to identify the problem, with a Sprint spokesperson blaming a “maintenance update.” T-Mobile’s answer? A problem with a “third-party vendor.” Of course, it’s not only weird that these answers sound a bit mysterious and aren’t the same, even though the problem very much is the same across those and other companies. But it also doesn’t explain why the issue manifested itself last night in addition to happening in the first place back in February, when the texts never got sent in the first place.

As you can probably imagine, there are a variety of issues (some light-hearted, others downright upsetting) that crop up when we talk about delaying the receipt of text messages until months later.

A number of users took to Twitter to lament either receiving a text from an ex (and vice versa, realizing an old text had just been sent to an ex). Other people, as you can see in the tweet above, actually got texts sent back in February from a person who has since passed away.

So far, there don’t seem to have been official comments from AT&T and Verizon. Hopefully the problem has been fixed for good so no one gets woken up in the night again with a text from an ex — or worse.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.