[Updated: Oct. 12] Google Pixel 5a can't receive text messages for some Verizon users, but there's a workaround

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on August 31, 2021) follows:

The Google Pixel 5a is basically the Pixel 4a 5G reborn and is still a pretty good buy in the US by today’s standards.

Google has played smart with this one – instead of messing around with an already winning formula, the company decided to simply renew it.

However, as with any newly-released Google Pixel device, the Pixel 5a is no exception to minor bugs and issues. Phones from Google are known to be a little rough around the edges software-wise right after release.

But these problems do get addressed quickly enough and are thus usually not to be concerned about much.

However, there is one problem plaguing the Google Pixel 5a which simply cannot be easily overlooked. Its users have been complaining ever since its release that they are unable to receive text messages from any source.

pixel-5a-text-messages-issue
Source

The issue only exists at the Pixel 5a end as complainants have also stated that they’re still able to send text messages with no problems. Calls are also working just fine.

Further, the problem is only affecting Verizon subscribers. From this, it is safe to conclude that the problem is in fact due to the carrier and not due to an issue on the Pixel 5a, contrary to what most thought initially.

Nevertheless, a Gold Product Expert has now explained the Verizon text messages problem saying that it’s because of the Google Pixel 5a being the first Pixel to not use the CDMA service at all.

pixel-5a-not-receiving-texts-ack
Source

Because of this, one needs to get their line reconfigured as a CDMA-less device. This can be done by simply contacting Verizon tech support. The Pixel 5a text messages issue is a fairly known one to Verizon so a redressal shouldn’t take long.

Another user revealed that they were facing the issue because of their SIM card that was built for 4G and lacked 5G support, and that getting their SIM replaced from a Verizon store fixed it for them.

Have (had) the same problem. Went to my local Verizon store and told him about the sim card. Yes he said as my old card was from a Pixel 2, 3a it wasn’t for 5g. Install a new SIM card and everything is working right. Must have had 10 incoming texts from the last two days.
Source

That said, stay tuned to our dedicated Google Pixel 5a bugs and updates tracker for further developments on the matter and more of similar stuff.

Update (September 02)

IST 02:02 pm: In response to user complaints on this issue, a Google Silver Product Expert is asking affected persons to reach out to Verizon for a new SIM card that is provisioned for CDMA-less features.

The Google Pixel team has investigated this issue, and as noted by Jason Stanton above, the team also suggested that users experiencing this issue should reach out to Verizon to get a new SIM and ensure the CDMA-less feature is provisioned on their account.
Source

Update (September 04)

A Silver Product Expert on the community forums has suggested doing the following in case you’re facing any issues while communicating with Verizon staff regarding the issue:

The solution is now known and documented. Unfortunately, many the Verizon staff seem to be untrained or unaware is the technology. Anyone experiencing this problem should keep pressing for escalation or other technicians until you find a knowledgeable human. (Source)

Update (September 07)

Well, thanks to the power of the community, one of our readers have shared a video of their experience along with a few steps on how to get this issue sorted.

Update (September 09)

A couple of individuals have confirmed (1, 2) that this workaround did the trick for them, albeit with an Xfinity SIM:

My account -> Devices -> Something about swapping SIM card -> Pair SIM

Update (September 10)

In case you’re looking for a detailed workaround, an individual shared one that might help you. Check it out below:

My variables: New phone: 5a, Old phone: LG V30, old “4G” SIM card, 2 lines.

1. Keep the SIM card in your old phone, power it down, remove SIM card. If you already put in the 5a and powered it up. Power it down and put it back into your old phone and power it up so Verizon sees the SIM in the old phone (5mins to be safe). Then power it down and remove it.

2. Go to Verizon and log in. Go to Account>My Devices> Activate or Switch Device.

3. Select your line that you are putting the 5a on.

4. Enter the IMEI number.

5. Have Authorization code sent to another line. Not sure how this works if you only have one line. Sorry. Maybe keep Old phone powered up with SIM.

6. Enter Authorization code. Tell them no if you didnt receive a new 5G SIM card.

7. Accept plan changes. I didnt have any changes in plan or cost.

8. Should be set. Put SIM card into 5a and power on.

9. Took about 5 mins but I started to received text messages. (Source)

Update (October 12)

11:45 am (IST): While the Pixel 5a is yet to be available through Verizon itself, the company’s support team is assuring those who purchase the device that they’ll help them set it up.

verizon pixel sms issue
Source

That said, the simplest way to get stuff to work is to get a new 5G SIM. As we’ve mentioned earlier.

PiunikaWeb started purely as an investigative tech journalism website with a main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Fox News, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, MacRumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Want to work for PiunikaWeb and enjoy best-in-industry compensation & benefits? You'll be glad to know we're hiring experienced candidates.

Zohaib Ahmed

Simply love being surrounded by technology as it's a constant reminder of how far humans have advanced as a race. Every new development feels exciting, which I convey to others through writing. And after a day's work, gaming just feels therapeutic.