We know everyone on the planet owns an iPhone (or so it seems), so iMessage—indicated by the blue bubbles we all know and love—is the text messaging protocol of choice. Sadly, while we know that, Apple seems to forget from time to time and iMessage decides to crash and burn. In those instances, you can either not send messages at all, or you can make a few quick tweaks to iOS that will let you send traditional SMS messages when iMessage is down.

Enable Auto Send SMS

You can set up iOS to automatically send SMS messages when iMessages aren’t being delivered. This feature is disabled by default in iOS 7, so you need to manually enable the “Auto Send SMS” feature. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings App
  2. Scroll to Messages preferences and tap it.
  3. Scroll to “Send As SMS”
  4. Toggle that feature to the ON setting.
  5. Done.

Your iPhone will now automatically send an SMS message when it can’t deliver an iMessage, but be forewarned: Normal text messaging charges will apply when that happens. If you’re a little shy about that happening automagically, you can manually send an iMessage as an SMS on a case by case basis.

Manually Select An iMessage To Send An SMS Message

If iMessage is failing, you can manually resend your text messages as an SMS message. The caveat is that an iMessage needs to have failed for the option to send an SMS to appear.

  1. Long-tap the message that’s failed until a contextual menu pops up.
  2. That menu will have the option “Send as Text Message.” Tap it.
  3. SMS Sent.
  4. The chat bubble will turn green.

There you go—two ways to beat iMessage down time. Just because Apple’s iMessage servers are asleep at the helm it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your next pub crawl. In my case, it meant being able to send real-time updates to family and friends while we were in the hospital waiting for the arrival of my second daughter.