Is an Android bug sendings text messages to the wrong recipients?


A number of Android users are reporting that there appears to be a bug that causes some text messages to go to the wrong person in their contact list. Typically, the error occurs when a user has more then one text message conversation going, but it’s not always simply a case of sending message A to contact B and vice versa.

Here’s an excerpt from the Google support forum explaining a bit of the problem:

Further more, sometimes I will be in a conversation typing a message and the contact name will suddenly change if I recently received a message in another thread. I might have had 25 messages back and forth with contact A, then suddenly the software tells me it’s contact B after I get a message from contact B in another thread.

The problem seems to be affecting at least a handful of Google Nexus One and HTC Incredible users, although it’s not entirely clear if the problem is with the Android SMS application, the HTC handsets, the wireless carrier, or something else altogether.

I haven’t experienced any problem with text messages on my Nexus One, but I also send at most a few messages per month. By all accounts, the problems seem to be affecting people who are heavier texters than me. If you’ve had any problems, let us know in the comments, or sound off at the Android support thread.

Update: Google is aware of the problems and working on a fix.

thanks Jeff!

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since 2006. Brad has also worked with NPR, WHYY, PRI, and AOL.

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  • Chris

    I've experienced this glitch multiple times. I had a Motorola Droid. I've researched it a lot, it seems to be an issue with Android itself, not the carrier or 3rd party software.

  • Tara

    I have the Samsung Moment, and this has been happening to me recently, as well. This has only happened to me since the 2.1 update.

  • mark

    i have the same issue using Samsung Galaxy Spica v2.1

  • Chezza1

    Yeah i have samsung galaxy s 2.1 and doing same thing here in uk.

  • Vand

    I've had sort of this happening, in the list of conversations I get my two first threads showing the same name but only one is the correct contact, it disappears if i enter the first thread and then press back, have a galaxy spica.

  • nate

    I have a Sprint EVO and it is ANNOYING!!! when I choose a contact to text, it will randomly pick someone else, and I won't realize it until after the text is sent!!!

    whats the deal!

  • Tester

    I have the same issue with a Samsung Galaxy S in Austria (provider mobilkom)

  • windibarth

    I just experienced that today. My friend told me I had been sending him messages intended for someone else. Is there a fix yet for it?

  • Oj_forsyth

    Having this problem as well with a… Galaxy S v2.1

  • Coleta

    I am having the 'wrong recipient' problem using a motorola backflip on the 'motoblur' service. I thought it was my unfamiliarity with the phone initially, but it has happend so often now, I know its not me! I deleted every conversation in my text message inbox, then received a message, replied straight away to that message… and it got sent to another contact in my phone. This is becoming more frequent, and almost embarrassing… HELP PLEASE!

  • Doghouse

    Same probs with Galaxy S & 2.1 – wife is not amused…

  • ScratchSF

    I am having this problem and view it as a huge show stopper. First of all, this is not carrier or phone specific. I am in the US on T-Mobile using a Samsung / T-Mobile Vibrant and Android 2.1. It was not user error, as I have seen reported on some of the forums. In my case, the contact at the top of the thread was changed to person B, even though all of the thread messages are between Person A and myself. But, because the contact at the top of the thread was changed to person B, my reply went to person B even though I *thought* I was replying to person A.

    IMHO, Apple and Google both have platform issues. I can't trust that the iPhone will work when I need it to work because of its antenna issue. And now, I can't trust that if I SMS someone a message that, the intended person will actually receive it. Actually, I would rather have the iPhone problem because that one won't land me in trouble or breach any privacy. Google needs to fix this one urgently!

  • ScratchSF

    I am having this problem and view it as a huge show stopper. First of all, this is not carrier or phone specific. I am in the US on T-Mobile using a Samsung / T-Mobile Vibrant and Android 2.1. It was not user error, as I have seen reported on some of the forums. In my case, the contact at the top of the thread was changed to person B, even though all of the thread messages are between Person A and myself. But, because the contact at the top of the thread was changed to person B, my reply went to person B even though I *thought* I was replying to person A.

    IMHO, Apple and Google both have platform issues. I can't trust that the iPhone will work when I need it to work because of its antenna issue. And now, I can't trust that if I SMS someone a message that, the intended person will actually receive it. Actually, I would rather have the iPhone problem because that one won't land me in trouble or breach any privacy. Google needs to fix this one urgently!

  • super geeks build crap

    I have this problem on LG Ally with default txt app. I have the phone for two weeks. WTF!!!! This is like going to the bank and depositing your paycheck into stranger's account. This is bullshit!

  • Burn01

    I have had experienced a problem with the same thing, this Saturday. I am taking this up with Vodafone in the UK who I bought the mobile from, but they are currently being very cautious. It’s a massive privacy and data security issue which I don’t think anyone has grasped yet. I spoke to the Information Commission in the UK and they are interested and want to know what Google say

  • Burn01

    Apologies, they are interested in what Vodafone have to say .. (not Google)

  • JT

    Yes my nexus one with Froyo has this problem.

  • AussieGirl

    I have the Samsung Galaxy S and it has happened to me as well. Luckily the message wasn’t private….

  • Nikelodeon

    The same problem with a Samsung Galaxy S i9000 running Android 2.1 in Sweden. Very annoying and potentially dangerous flaw.

  • Tonightwerun

    The probably I am having with my Motorola Droid is that when I click on someone’s text message thread, about 4 out of 10 times, it opens someone elses thread. Me and my sister have the same type of phone and experience the same problem

  • Lauren Mcdulls

    I too have this issue. I have a sprint evo. I’ve been replying to one thread, and then magically it adds the reply to another. Can’t even accidentally cause that to happen. It’s not like I clicked the wrong name, I was in the right thread and the reply was added to someone else’s thread. really frustrating :(

  • Thedizzman

    Yep, Samsung Galaxy S is doing it to me too running android V2.1

  • Thedizzman

    PS Oops, and I am based in Australia.

  • Oneheart_pdb

    I had the same problem just a while ago. First time I received an SMS but it went to the wrong recipient. I tried turning it off and on and will observe. I have a Galaxy S in the Philippines.

  • El Guapo

    I have this problem on the Samsung Galaxy S android 2.1 in the UK. Bloody phone meant I sent a text message to my boss instead of a friend..doh!

  • Lilaxani

    I have the motorola Cliq, have only had it 2 months, and it constantly sends texts to the wrong people. Several times a day, every day. I will clear all my conversations be talking with 1 person and it will send my reply to a random person. It’s annoying I would love a fix for it!

  • Samsungazn

    Yea I am in the US and it is doing the same. I dont know if it is sending to the other person or just a lag that makes it seems like it is being sent to someone else.

  • syren33

    I have T-Mobile, Samsung Vibrant on 2.1 as well.
    I was having a long text convo with person A.
    A few hours later, person B wrote back confused with a single line that I sent to person A. I checked the thread with person B and there wasn’t anything sent to that person earlier. Person B gave me the time the text was delivered and it was 45 minutes AFTER the time stamp on the original text that I had sent to person A. It was a reply to person A as well, not a new thread or new text so I’m sure it wasn’t user error. Any official word with anything yet?

  • Reskumom

    I discovered this the other day on my Motorola Droid 2. It started when I updated the software last week. When a text message pops up on the screen, if I hit reply just underneath it, it trys to reply to the last person that *I* was texting. This completely freaked me out. I can only imagine the ramifications they could face with a problem like this.

  • Allen

    I have the same issue with Samsung Vibrant with T-Mobile. Started experiencing this immediately after I got it out of the box and have continued to reduce my message limits from 50 to now 30 and still have issues. Even have tried to delete conversations so I only have 5 up at a time and still experience. Any solutions yet?

  • Fallenangel586

    i have been having this problem a lot.. like every day for the past three days and its driving me up a wall

  • Melluna55

    I have the Galaxy S 2.1, on TMO. I experienced this issue with a text going to someone I have never sent a text to, and it occured while responding to a text. It was not a metter of the text just appearing to have gone to an unintended recipient, since the unintended recipient confirmed that they received the text. Luckily it was a fairly innocent text, as the unintended recipient was my boss!

  • jake

    Same thing here, galaxy s 2.1, usa

  • Atrich

    hi i have the samsung galaxy and have the same problem i was repling to a text message from A when a new message from B appeared on top of the display then went of as normal carried on writing my text with details for A on screen so sent, opps it went to B instead, yet the message does not show on B text but on A s text showing it went to Bs text box. caused me big problems , anyone know how to fix this thanks

  • Brandi

    I’m having the same problem on the Galaxy S as well, at least once a week, and it usually switched the recipient to a contact I haven’t texted in ages, or ever.

  • PK

    Just happened to me.. and I went for a tennis game which I thought I had confirmed.. just to get angry I was stood up.. then I checked the message thread and it was sent to my other friend who was still asleep at that time :/

  • Robertburan

    Just yesterday, got a text and did not respond, nothing on phone – on bill shows a text message sent approx 8 mins after I received message to original sender? Using T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant – can this happen. Once again, nothing on the handset but a message sent on my bill????? Causing me problems at home!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Reustle Shane Reustle

    Having the same problem on my HTC EVO

  • Drebon

    It is strange : I have some issues with messaging apps and contact, but t never messes up the threads.

    What happens on my phone is that the names of the contact with whom I am having the tread may be wrong (usually easy to spot since I get two or more consecutive threads with the same person, that is nonsense) but if I identify the thread by its content, then the response goes to the correct recipient. Of course, if this issue occurs with an empty thread (i.e. when you receive a first message of a person) the response could go to the “wrong” recipient who is actually the original sender.

  • Jonty22

    Really quite worried about this especially as there seems to be no details of a fix yet. Had my Galaxy S 2 days and it happened this afternoon. Possible reason was that i replied to 2 texts, both in a tunnel, and they both went to the same recipient even though they show as sent on their respective threads. This has the potential to spaz up a lot of peoples lives… FIX IT ANDROID!

  • Supersultan56

    this has happened to me on my motorola droid and it screwed me over

  • Bob

    I had this same issue on my samsung galaxy S… I’m seriously hacked off with how rubbish Android phones are! …Why didn’t I fork out an extra £100 for an iPhone that WORKS!!!

  • Rhuskin

    Using HTC HD2. This has been happening more frequently. Message (always a reply) gets sent to wrong recipient, but my threads show everything just fine. Don’t know exactly how often this occurs, since some people who receive a message sent to someone else might not let me know that it happened. But thank goodness all my text messages are pretty innocuous.

  • http://twitter.com/mylokalmarket My Lokal Market

    Vibrant, 2.1 – same problem TWICE.

  • guest 1

    happened to me multiple times on moto cliq on tmobile running 1.5 (uhg)

    threads are messed up, even fresh texts go to wrong person occasionally, but usually messages are only sent to people that have texts currently in my inbox.

    quiet annoying – have told multiple people i love them, when there was little love to be found

  • didi

    i have experienced this with my HTC Evo in the US. this just started happening in the last month or so, so its likely a result of some update. very very nerve-wracking. please encourage an immediate fix!

  • Alicialee53

    I’ve had the same thing happen to me on numerous occasions, and my texts weren’t so innocent!

  • Neliavr

    Threading problem on Samsung Galaxy S in the UK. The recipient seems to change half way through typing a message and then displays in the wrong conversation. HUGE FLAW!!!

  • Mark R

    ditto. Now i dont know if im getting stood up or my phones cock blocking me…

  • Nospam

    I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy Apollo and have experienced this bug. I unlinked all my contacts from facebook, google and the like (they are now “simple” sim contacts). I have still noticed the bug tho. mainly when i start conversations with groups of contacts, whilst still having individual conversation threads with poeple in the “group” conversation thread. Delete these “group” text messages and everything seems to work correctly once more.

  • http://twitter.com/ReneT_OneWorld Rene T

    this is happening to my htc desire and its driving me crazy. in the list of my text when i select one thread an entirely different thread opens, this wasnt happening until i upgraded to android 2.0
    can anyone help??

  • Tom

    It happened to me today on my Orange San Francisco.

  • Niallboylan

    I have just bought the galaxy s in france and the same thing is happening

  • Gary Glitter

    Just happened to me. Luckily it was not a personal txt but the wife received it which could have been a house-loser and a marriage wrecker…

  • Karel129

    I have it too with samsung galaxy s

  • Sanna Hjalmarsson

    I have a samsung galaxy 9000i. A text from my man showed as it was sent from a friend. Then when I was answering in a other thread it came to the same friend. Pretty anoying.

  • Shaks

    Im having the same issue on my HTC Desite. If I am having a text conversation with A, then when i receive a message from A, i go to open it, but it jumps to another random text thread (say with person B) then when i go back to open the text conversation with Person A and reply to Person A, it actually will send the text to Person B. To resolve this when another person’s thread opens instead of the one i wanted, i back out completely from messages and re-open again…. Not at all impressed with Android.

  • Steve

    Happened to the wife today. HTC Desire, Vodafone in the UK. Froyo 2.2. Using the standard sms ap. Send a message to person A. It showing in the conversation with person A. However, person B received the text. The message was sent as a reply to person A so it wasn’t a keying error. However, if you click the message and look at the data, it shows the number of person B who actually received it. She was not having a conversation with person B, so there was no cross-over. It was a random misdirection.

  • All me

    Having the same problems on my HTC EVO. I will pick a person to send a text to or to continue a conversation we were already having and it will choose whoever it wants from my contacts and send it to that person. This has been causing me huge problems and even dates, Not to happy about that one!
    The other day I was talking to a few people through text, I went to send a text to my friend and it sent it to one of the people I was talking to and not the friend who should have got the text. When I looked back on my messages thinking I must have hit the wrong name it shows the message went to the correct person but she never got it. And it didnt show up as going to the incorrect person but he apparently got it.
    This was not happening until after the most recent upgrade. It needs to be fixed and FAST!

  • Signaljunkie

    It’s been happening to me for months with version 2.11 on my Samsung Galaxy S. I just updated to Froyo today and it changed my from-Twitter text messages back to saying they’re from Twitter, instead of masquerading as a local pizzeria as it did in 2.11. Fixed? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • Liam_r1

    I’ve contacted my network provider about this (o2) with the same problems with my HTC Desire. They said that they could send it off for repair, but all they would do is flash the ROM so he declined. Rang up HTC who said that no one has ever reported this issue before. They said they could send it off for repair, which I accepted as at least now I can say I’ve tried everything, and surprise surprise all they did was flash the ROM too. Phones came back and problems still there.

    Android aren’t dealing with this problem because not enough people are reporting it. It’s kindov understandable as it only happens on rare occasions, but either way it’s a horrific bug!

  • Jono

    same problem here – I will send a reply to contact A, show’s up in conversation to contact B, but contact A actually gets the message.. or i will click on contact C thread, and end up looking at contact D’s thread. weird, and annoying. only happened since I upgraded my Desire to Froyo..

  • dp

    I am having the same problem with the LG Vortex from Verizon. It was fine until I updated it. Now I am sending text messages to random people in my contact list, but the phone is showing that It was sent to the intended recipient…any idea how to fix this problem yet??

  • nixter

    I’m currently experiencing almost the same problem with my HTC Desire (Froyo) in the Philippines. Here in the Philippines you can send load to another person/number by just replacing the +63 or 0 with a 2 (ex. the number +6391111111 or 091111111 will be 291111111). So yesterday I sent a friend load so he can text another person. And now whenever I hit the reply button to that friend, my message is sent to 29xxxxxxx! So what I have to do is manually type in his phone number. I already tried clearing data for the Messages in the Applications and also even clearing data for the Person/Contacts. This is frustrating. Any solutions yet?

  • dood

    I have a Galaxy S running 2.2. I run into this problem every other day.

  • Daniel c.

    Same issue for me, it is a horrible issue which can cause huge personal problems!! Samsung captivate galaxy froyo 2.2

  • Roblacroix

    SSame problem. HTC Evo.

  • slightly irritated

    Has anyone had this happen the other way round, on HTC Desire and received a text message but the sender says they never sent it!

  • Jollymonsails

    Same happening here… been happening since June 4th launch on SPRINT EVO 2.1 problem continues to 2.2 … I’m on the latest update that came with Swype and BBuster app… multiple updates and no resolution.
    Same thing. I send to A, it shows as going to A, but it really went to B.
    e.g. I sent a msg : “Dude, hotel party, bring xbox” to my buddy; but my gf got it; even though it shows it went to buddy. So she’s pissed at me! Thanks Google F’tards.
    onRecipientClick( mailto(getRandContact())) return RecipientClick

    Also, when click a thread, it brings up a random one often (has happened at least thirty times since June).

    Also, on the contacts widget, click one and it randomly chooses another one (that’s not even on screen that I could have plausibly clicked by mistake.)

    My digitizer seems to be pretty accurate in all other regards

  • http://www.marmalade.ca Kknights

    I have the same problem with my Desire Z on Bell Canada. I will send a text message to Friend A, and it even though her name appears in the “to” field, Friend B will receive her message instead. This has happend about 3 or 4 times now with the same two friends. Very annoying, not sure how to fix.

  • ctaig

    Very similar issues on HTC wildfire since 2.2 on vodafone UK. Click conversation A and conversation B, or conversation C or D etc will open. Send message to contact A, but it appears to be in conversation B or C etc. But click the message and check the report and the telephone number is for the correct person. A fix would help! Bored of explaining to my mates that I not booked a lovely little hotel for us or dinner etc!

  • ctaig

    Very similar issues on HTC wildfire since 2.2 on vodafone UK. Click conversation A and conversation B, or conversation C or D etc will open. Send message to contact A, but it appears to be in conversation B or C etc. But click the message and check the report and the telephone number is for the correct person. A fix would help! Bored of explaining to my mates that I not booked a lovely little hotel for us or dinner etc!

  • Tanyalovesyou

    ive also had this happen to me. Ill be having a conversation with someone and then ill hit send and sometimes it will send it to an entirely different person!!! its embarassing.

  • AFL777

    Having this problem with the Samsung Gallaxy Apollo, send a text to one person and it goes to someone else instead.

  • Adda342004

    Had the same problem on my HTC desire. Started using go sms and stopped using the default one and so far so good.

  • Barry92683

    I have a Galaxy S with AT&T in the U.S. and have run into the same problem of my SMS txt msg going to the wrong recipient. This is a total and complete breach of privacy and I have gotten into huge trouble because of this. My marriage is now on the rocks. My life is ruined. I’m looking into filing a lawsuit againt AT&T for breach of privacy and other damages.

  • Ihateklowns

    This is the worst – I have the same problem MULTIPLE TIMES PER DAY on my HTC Thunderbolt. Verizon is carrier. TERRIBLE!

  • CA

    Why would it be ruining your marriage?  Obviously you’re sending naughty messages to someone else and therefore you should be caught, you dog!

  • Mikeschellenberger

    Am presently encountering this isse on Captivate with 2.3.5 installed

  • Jo

    This happens to me all the time, with person A sending me a message but the header says it’s from person B. I reply to person A (so I think) but person B gets it. Cue some confused replies.  So far it’s not caused too many problems (more through luck than anything else) but yesterday, it took a new turn as I replied to a text my brother sent, but it went on my Twitter feed instead! There was no Twitter thread open at the time on my phone. I’ve now gone back to my old non-android phone as i’m sick of this problem.

  • Jo

    PS  My phone’s a Galaxy Apollo. Seems to be an awful lot of Galaxy phones on here with this problem.

  • tommyhighflyer

    I have a HTC wild fire and experiencing a problem with texting. I send a message to contact A the message appears to go to contact A but contact B receives and there is no indication that B was sent it, any advice on how to stop this would be appreciated?