Five Common T-Mobile Problems and How To Fix Them
Some issues are easy to fix once you know how!
Our Android phones and the cellular networks they use to communicate are some pretty complicated beasts. It takes a ton of parts and millions of lines of software code to make magic happen when you tap an icon or enter a phone number to use any of the services and apps we take for granted. Kudos to the folks doing all the hard work to make that happen!
Because things are so complex behind the scenes, there are bound to be issues now and then. It's not unheard of for networks to go down completely or for some quirky bug to stop your phone from working completely, but more common problems often have a quick fix. Let's take a look at some common issues T-Mobile users have and things to try so that they don't stop us from enjoying our phones.
Wi-Fi calling errors
Wi-Fi calling is awesome. The call quality is great, you don't have to worry about having a good signal and you can use it anywhere in the world without worrying about international plans or roaming fees. It's one of those things that you realize how much you loved having it as soon as it stops working. Thankfully, Wi-Fi calling errors aren't as common as they used to be. The software itself and T-Mobile's infrastructure have been tweaked so that it just works for almost everyone, all the time.
There are two common issues you might face, and both are simple to fix.
- Wi-Fi calling doesn't work on your new phone or new line of service. The first "fix" requires you do nothing — wait 24 hours. It takes time for your phone to be fully registered on the network and to your account. Part of this happens as soon as you put your SIM card in the slot and turn on your phone, but there is a longer process that happens behind the scenes to complete everything. You have to wait it out.
If you are still having problems 24 hours later, hit T-Mobile support.
- You have a Wi-Fi calling error in your status bar. There are about a million different reasons this could happen, but luckily almost all of them are fixed the same way — reinitialize the connection. Try shutting Wi-Fi off for a few seconds and then turn it back on. If that doesn't work, turn Wi-Fi calling off in the settings, then turn it back on. If neither works, make sure Wi-Fi calling is turned on and you are connected to a Wi-Fi network with internet access, then reboot your phone.
If you're still having problems you can check and see if it's a global issue or check with whoever administers the Wi-Fi network you're using and make sure everything is working as it should be.
My VPN isn't working
T-Mobile uses IPv6 by default for most Android phones, and that can cause issues with some VPN services and apps. Adding a new IPv4 APN to the VPN connection can use fixes this.
You'll need to edit your APN settings. if you need some guidance on how to do that, here's a walkthrough of the process.
- Go to Settings > Mobile networks > Access Point Names.
- Create a new APN and give it a unique name (the name is for your benefit, so name it whatever you like).
- Enter the same settings as your existing T-Mobile APN. If you have a second APN for T-Mobile MMS, you can ignore that one for these purposes.
- Edit the sections marked APN protocol and APN roaming protocol to IPv4.
- Choose the new APN you just created for the default.
Videos look bad on my high-resolution screen
You need to shut down Binge On. Binge On is a feature that allows certain streaming services to play without counting against your monthly data usage, and as a result, the streams are throttled to 480p. A 480p video doesn't look so hot on a phone like the Galaxy S8 with a really great display. Binge On is an account setting so you'll need to be online to fix it through your T-Mobile account.
- Visit the T-Mobile website and log into your account or use the T-Mobile app on your phone.
- Open your profile from the menu in the upper right corner.
- Click Media Settings.
- Turn the Binge On toggle switch off.
You can also disable Binge On by dialing #263# on your phone. Turn it back on by dialing #266#. Check if it is activated by dialing #264#.
You need to be using the right plan to be able to disable Binge On, and when you do, all of the media you stream counts against your monthly data use. But YouTube and Netflix look a heck of a lot better.
Texts won't send over Wi-Fi
Ugh! This can be frustrating. You're in a different area or you have a new phone and all the sudden you can't send or receive (or both) texts until you shut off Wi-Fi. There are two reasons this can happen.
- You're in a new place and it suddenly stopped working. Wi-Fi networks that use a proxy (and there are a lot of those) can't forward the small data component of an SMS message. All you can do is talk to the person in charge of the network. See if they have an alternative that's used for services which won't work behind a proxy. If not, you'll have to turn off Wi-Fi while you are texting.
- Your old phone worked but your new one doesn't. This used to be a common problem, but thankfully it's not as prevalent nowadays. Some of the companies that make Android phones include a default messaging application that refuses to work on Wi-Fi. The fix is to download a different messaging app.
Messages won't send over Digits
This issue seems to come in spurts. Since Digits is a relatively new service there's a good chance T-Mobile is still tweaking things on their end. That usually means glitches for everyone.
If you're trying to send messages with your Digits number through the app and they won't go through, try turning VoLTE (Voice over LTE) off. You will find this in your phone's network settings and it could be marked as HD Voice.
Turning VoLTE off shouldn't cause any issues unless you're in an area where certain radio bands have been repurposed for LTE and have an unlocked phone without full support for all of T-Mobile's network frequencies. Your calls just won't sound as good, but who still makes phone calls? Right?
Have you run into any persistent issues while using T-Mobile? Post in the comments if you have. If you know the fix, post that too! If not, maybe someone else knows and can help figure it out.