What do the green and blue colors mean on iPhone Messages?
(and how can this save me money when roaming abroad?)
When you message someone on an iPhone you’ll notice that sometimes the messages are blue and sometimes they are green. Why the different colors? Well, it’s all to do with something that Apple calls iMessage.
Green means the message was sent via SMS/Text across the mobile phone network
Blue means the message was sent via iMessage across the internet
When you write a message, the iPhone will first check to see if it can send the message using data (across the internet). If your phone is connected to the internet and the person you are messaging is also connected (and using iMessage) then the message will squirt across the internet. This is what makes iPhone to iPhone SMS free – it’s not really using SMS at all! If the message is green then it means you aren’t connected to the internet and the message will instead go by traditional SMS.
So how can this help you save money roaming? Well – when you’re roaming abroad, SMS can become pretty expensive. You might find yourself spending 50c per message in some countries. But, if you connect to local free WiFi or get yourself something like a roaming data bundle and MiFi Device then the iPhone will do the rest and attempt to deliver your messages over the internet instead. And it uses next to no data.
You can even change the settings on your iPhone to ONLY use iMessage and not use SMS at all. Just go into Settings/messages and change “Send as SMS” to Off. If you combine this with the setting to turn off Cellular Data (and only use wifi) then you will protect yourself from most of the “easy” ways to run up large bills when abroad.