A mysterious bug built into an updated version of Android’s Carrier Services app has messed with Android users’ ability to send and receive text messages. If you feel like you’ve been struggling with your texting for around a week and a half or so, you’re in luck: Google has identified the issue and is rolling out a “fix” that you can grab right now.
It’s unclear what the specific bug was that caused the issue, but we can trace it back to an early December update to Android’s Carrier Services app. The app, which “enables the latest communication services from mobile carriers, including battery-optimizations and support for enhanced features in the Android Messages app,” started receiving rolling updates to version 50 on December 3. However, this version of Carrier Services seems to have been problematic, as Google is now rolling Android users back to version 48 of the app. (That’s the fix.)
As Google told The Verge:
We’ve identified the issue and began rolling out the fix yesterday. If users have automatic updates disabled, we recommend they update to the latest version of Carrier Services through the Play Store to receive the fix.
We’ve seen reports that the bug mostly seemed to hit users with OnePlus, LG, Motorola, Samsung, and TCL smartphones — not Google’s own Pixels, apparently. Whether you were affected or not, we recommend pulling up the Google Play app, tapping the triple-line “hamburger” icon in the upper-left corner, tapping on My apps & games, and installing every app update that’s available.
Once you’re done, you can double-check that you have the correct, older version of Carrier Services installed by pulling up the app’s listing in Google Play on your Android, and then tapping About this app. Your screen should look like this, which means you’re running version 48 of the app:
You probably won’t need to restart your phone to fix any SMS issues you’ve been having, but it couldn’t hurt. Going forward, you can always downgrade this app — or any other system app you’re having issues with — by hitting Settings > Apps & Notifications > See all # apps > [the app’s name] > triple-dot icon in upper-right corner > Uninstall updates. This should roll you back to the version of the app that shipped with your phone, and you can then avoid the Google Play store (or turn off automatic updates) until a fix appears.