How Many People Can Join a Group Text on an iPhone or iPad?

Group messages on your iPhone or iPad are a great way to communicate with several people at one time. We've already gone over how to make a group chat, how to name a group chat, and how to add or remove someone from a group chat, but one question remains; how many people can join an iMessage on an iPhone or iPad? We'll go over the difference between a group iMessages chat, SMS, and MMS before learning about iMessages group chat limits. These limits are set by your cell phone carrier, so we'll reveal the limits set by the top four carriers, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular. Let's get started!

Related: How to Leave a Group Text on Your iPhone

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What's a Group iMessage vs a Group MMS or Group SMS?

Group iMessage

So, what's the difference between a group iMessage, an MMS message, or a group SMS? The distinguishing feature of a group iMessage is that every member is using an Apple device. All your sent messages show up in blue bubbles, while messages your receive are gray. Messages are end-to-end encrypted and don't use data if you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, which means people can message from a Mac or a Wi-Fi iPad. Everyone can see all the responses from every group member, share their location, send pictures, videos, and audio messages that can include features like animations, sketches, and more. The person who starts the group iMessage can name the group message and add or remove group members, and group members can mute notifications or leave the group if it has four or more members. 

Make sure to turn on iMessages on your iPhone to use this feature.

Group MMS

If not everyone in your group chat has an iPhone, your group text will be in MMS, or multimedia messaging service, format. This type of group chat goes through cell service rather than Wi-Fi, and sent messages show up in green text bubbles. Group members can still send and receive pictures, see all responses from everyone in the group, and mute notifications. You can't leave this type of chat.

Group SMS

SMS stands for short message service, sends in green text bubbles, and also uses cellular service. You can't send photos or videos via this method. Still, one benefit is that the group message is sent as individual messages to group members, so each group member isn't notified about every reply. 

What Is the Group Message Limit for Different Cell Services?

Different people have given me varying feedback on this question, and the answer seems to depend on which cell phone service provider you use. I get my phone coverage through US Cellular, and can't add more than 32 members to a group iMessages chat. Once I reach that limit, the plus sign at the upper-right corner of the screen turns from blue to gray, and I can't add any more contacts. As a side note, you probably shouldn't be adding this many people to a group text, anyway. Check out our article on texting etiquette for more tips about polite texting. Now, let's learn about other major cell service providers. 

AT&T Group Message Limit

According to this article on the AT&T website, the company limits group texts to 10 members to "protect our customers from spam and/or malicious software". Although AT&T has hinted that it may increase this limit, it hasn't done so yet.

Verizon Group Text Limit

Verizon allows customers to make chat groups of up to 20 members at this time. 

T-Mobile Group Chat Options

T-Mobile offers customers two options, a 20-person limit with its Advanced Messaging plan, or a 100-person limit with the Universal Profile 1.0 plan.

Top image credit: leungchopanShutterstock.com

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Leanne Hays's picture

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.