When writing up bug reports for this column, I prefer to have guaranteed solutions to offer.
They went unanswered. I eventually learned that he had never received the messages.
Not only that, he had sent me a couple of messages during the same time period that I never received. When we finally sat down together to figure out what was going on, we confirmed the obvious: we could neither send nor receive text messages between our two smartphones.
My friend is the only person I cannot text. Ditto in reverse for my friend. Not only that, we have been exchanging texts for years without any difficulty.
I tried a couple of obvious potential fixes. First, I restarted my iPhone.
Second, I deleted the entire conversation with my friend and began a new one. Neither had any effect.
Next, I searched the web for reports of this same bug—hopefully from users who had better luck in finding a cure. A bit to my surprise, I found numerous blog and forum postings describing nearly my exact situation: texting failing with only one person.
Bugs & fixes: texting fails for just one person
The occurrences spanned different smartphones and different carriers. Various solutions were offered.
All of the ones cited here were successful for at least one person. This was not the case for me. He found that upgrading to iOS 6 eliminated the symptom.
As I was already running iOS 6, this did not seem promising for my situation. A Verizon thread suggested deleting both the the conversation and the contact entry for the person you cannot text. I tried this; again to no avail.
A second Apple Support Communities thread offered a variation on the Verizon tip. It involved going to Contacts and temporarily altering the phone of the friend. However, the thread also referred to international dialing codes, which were not relevant to my situation.
This worked in a couple of cases, although no one seemed to know exactly why. As you can probably surmise by this point, none of the above suggestions worked for me. A precise cause and cure remain elusive.
I still cannot send text messages to or receive messages from this one particular friend. Texting with everyone else continues to work just fine for both of us.