The major problem that bothered many Android users for some time (especially in the United States) concerns the most used Android messaging app, Google Messages. Reports about the “Message expired or not available” were especially prominent with the introduction of RCS and integrations with Google Fi. And, it seems that the error still occurs for some. Check the steps below to troubleshoot and, hopefully, address the problem.
Table of contents:
- Check Google Messages settings
- Clear local data from Messages
- Reinstall Google Messages or uninstall updates
- Disable RCS and Google Fi
- Switch to an alternative app
How do I fix the Message expired or not available error?
1. Check Google Messages settings
The first thing you should do is to ensure that Google Messages have a properly set SMSC (this is provided automatically by the service provider) and that the “Auto-download MMS” option is enabled.
You can check both settings in Google Messages > 3-dot menu > Settings. In order for your device to automatically fetch MMS (enables Wi-Fi), in Settings, open Advanced. There you should toggle on the option.
If that doesn’t help, try clearing the data from the app.
2. Clear local data from Messages
The next thing we recommend is clearing the local data from Messages. That can be done from system settings and the main goal is to reset Google Messages and, hopefully, relieve yourself of that nasty error.
Here’s how to clear local data from Google Messages on your Android:
- Open Settings.
- Open Apps.
- Expand All apps (App Manager or Manage apps on some Android skins).
- Open Messages from the list of available apps.
- Tap Storage.
- Clear data and confirm when prompted.
- Restart your device.
3. Reinstall Google Messages or uninstall updates
On some Android skins, Google Messages come as the built-in primary SMS/MMS app. On others, OEM provides the native messaging app (e.g. Samsung Messages). Because of this, it depends on whether you can uninstall the app completely or just uninstall its updates and restore it to the system version. The results are similar.
So, here’s how to reinstall Google Messages or uninstall its updates on Android:
- Open Google Play Store.
- Look for Messages (or Google Messages) and expand the app.
- Tap Uninstall.
- Restart your handset and get back to Play Store.
- Install or update Google Messages and look for improvements.
4. Disable RCS and Google Fi
Some users suggested disabling Google Fi and RCS and giving them another go. Google Fi users can temporarily disable (pause) their Google Fi account from the Google Fi app.
RCS (Rich Communication Services) which should create something like Apple’s iMessage on Android has been a hit or miss in some regions. So, make sure to navigate to Google Messages > 3-dot menu > Settings > Chat features and disable RCS.
5. Switch to an alternative app
Finally, if nothing worked for you, try some other SMS/MMS app. Apps like Signal, Pulse, or Textra should work without issues.
Click on the hyperlinks below to jump to the aforementioned apps in Play Store:
The “Message expired or not available” error was a major problem for many users a year ago or so. Google supposedly sorted it out with updates but some are still experiencing the problem. As a final note, we encourage you to send a report to Google.
If Google Messages not showing contact names, you can check this article. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in October 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.