What Is a Phantom Text Message?

Phantom text messages are a common occurrence.
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The term "phantom text message" applies to two aspects of text messaging, both of which result in the mistaken assumption that an incoming text message has arrived on your mobile phone. One of these aspects is due to a malfunction of the mobile phone, while the other is due to the phone user's imagination.


A phantom text message that is the result of a mobile phone's malfunction appears when checking your device for incoming messages. In these situations, the phone's indicator reports there is an incoming message, but attempting to access the incoming message shows there is no message after all. Sometimes, these types of messages come on the tail of an actual incoming message. For example, if a text message arrives while you are reading another text message, the incoming message indicator activates, reporting an incoming message. If you read the newer message before leaving the text message box, the indicator may remain activated even after you leave the message inbox. Re-entering the message box usually fixes this glitch.


A phantom text message that is the result of a mobile phone user's imagination occurs when the user thinks he feels his mobile phone's vibration setting alerting him about an incoming message, when, in fact, there is no message. Users who experience this type of message usually have the phone set on vibration mode and rely on the vibration of the phone to monitor their incoming messages. Although most people who use their mobile phone's vibration feature do so in an attempt to keep the device from becoming a distraction, they often find the arrival of phantom text messages disruptive.


If your phone frequently alerts you of incoming phantom text messages that aren't there, your phone may be experiencing technical difficulties that can be remedied. Uninstalling the messaging application and then reinstalling it can provide the needed fix for this type of phantom text message issue. Get into the habit of using your phone's audible message indicator setting to break the habit of relying on the device's vibration setting.

Similar Message Type

A less frequent and similar type of phantom text message is one that arrives in your inbox but has no content. This type of message is caused by a person who is sending you a text message and is the result of the person sending the message before entering any text. Unlike the other types of phantom text messages, these types of messages exist, but they are devoid of any content.