Are SMS Messages Encrypted?

Are SMS Messages Encrypted?

A lot of people seem to have the belief that sending SMS messages is much safer than sending messages via social media. They feel that there is less of a chance of somebody being able to intercept their message. But, is this true? Are SMS messages encrypted?

Are SMS Messages Encrypted?

No. SMS messages are not encrypted. This is because the SMS protocol requires that the SMS messages remain unencrypted.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means that at no stage of the message-sending process (i.e. from one user to another) is the sent message scrambled. What goes in and what comes out reads in exactly the same way as what travels through the cellular network.

SMS messages are unencrypted to ensure that there is compatibility between networks. It ensures that you can easily send a text message to somebody that is on a different network provider.

Which also means that you can use SMS verifications for TikTok, YouTube and other social media apps.

There are no plans to introduce SMS message encryption. It would be rather costly, and there is little chance that you would be able to get every cellular network to agree. Remember; SMS messages can be sent all over the world, which means that every network would have to agree to the change in the way things are handled. This isn’t going to happen.

Up until recently, most people weren’t fussed about whether SMS messages were encrypted anyway. This is because most people did nothing more than text their friends and family. Of course, with the introduction of 2FA, with SMS messages playing a key role in that, more people are now concerned about security.

As a final note here (and we will discuss this a bit later on), both the iOS app ‘iMessage’ and Android’s ‘Messages’ do offer encryption on sent text messages. However, their encryption only works between the same versions of the app. This means that Apple do not have the ability to unencrypt messages that have been sent via Android. This is not technical SMS encryption. The SMS still isn’t encrypted, the message has just been scrambled by the app.

Who Can See Your SMS Messages?

Well, both the sender and the recipient can see the SMS messages.

The cellular providers that the SMS messages pass through can also see the messages. Although, it is unlikely that they will read them. While the information is open to the network provider they will have protocols in place that will prevent people actually reading the messages unless there is an important reason for doing so. In any case, these messages will be deleted from the servers within a couple of days anyway.

It is worth noting that the cellular network may keep some information about your SMS after a few days. However, they will never keep the content of the message. You don’t have to worry about that. It is more information on who the message is sent from, the recipient, times, etc. This is just in case law enforcement comes knocking and need information on certain time frames that messages were sent. You don’t need to know about this.

If you send a message via iMessage or Messages (we mentioned this earlier), then your cellular network will only see the encrypted text (they can’t make sense of it), but they will still have a log of the sender, receiver, and times.

The government can also read your messages. In fact, at one time, the US Government was intercepting tens of millions of SMS messages every single day. Although, we can’t imagine they were reading that many. As long as there was no reason for the government to read your messages (i.e. you are a criminal or you said certain trigger words) then you would have been fine. Of course, the government is still doing this. Although you really do not have to worry about this.

The people that you should care about are SMS snoopers. People can connect to cellular networks and ‘intercept’ messages. Because those messages have not been encrypted they will be able to read them. Thankfully, this is less of a problem than it was in the past. The cellular networks have taken huge steps to prevent SMS and call snooping. However, there is only so much they can do. If somebody is determined to read your SMS then they will read your SMS. Thankfully, most people don’t care enough to read your SMS messages.

Is There Any Way to Encrypt SMS Messages?

Sadly, there is no way for you to encrypt SMS messages. Although, as we stated, there is often very little reason to do so. Sure. There may be people snooping hoping to get a sniff of the messages that you are receiving, but this is an incredibly rare problem.

If you are sending messages to your friends and family regularly, then you can use programs like What’s App to send the messages. You will send this via the telephone number. It is not strict SMS messaging, but there is no service that is more secure for the sending and receiving of messages.

That being said, both iMessage on iOS and Messages on Android offers some encryption with SMS messages. Both these apps will encrypt them. However, the caveat is that you must be sending a message to a person that has exactly the same operating system as you. This means that a message sent from iOS to Android will not be encrypted.

Sadly, this doesn’t really help when you are receiving OTP for your 2FA, but there isn’t much that you can do about this other than look for another system that will be fully encrypted for you. Sadly, this may be tougher than you may think if you are using certain companies. Not every business will allow you to do something other than OTP via SMS messages.


SMS messages are not encrypted. There are some ways to make them seem like they are encrypted, but the actual SMS protocol is not encrypted and it is unlikely it ever will be. For Free SMS Verifications you can use sites like

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* This article was originally published here


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