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Android error code 96, SMS Encoding Problem: meaning and ways to fix it

Android’s operating system presents a few problems when it comes to apps, games, downloads and even the most simple features like texting through the SMS app. This may vary depending on the error codes, but a very common message displayed by the famous software is “Error Code XXX…”.

For some time now, Android has had an annoying group of error codes in its SMS sending system, making the user unable to normally use the SMS app without any explanation at all. The problems mainly consist on some messages not being sent, received or mistaking their respective recipient.

The error code 96 of the Android operating system is not very common and it is associated with texting, and more specifically, the SMS app, which gives the annoying need to the user of having to use a third-party app services in order to send and receive SMS’s.

As the title says, some users are unable to send SMS and get an error code 96 from the operating system. Quite a bit of information about it has been found but nothing seems to help consistently, even on mobile devices running on their latest version.

If using third-party app services is not an option for you right now or the problem keeps showing up, here are some of the proven methods for you to try out and get rid of the problem once for all. You need to keep in mind that this might not fix the problem since it can vary from phone to phone.

Try to use your dialer in order to try and fix the problem

Android error code 96, SMS Encoding Problem: meaning and ways to fix it

  1. Go to your dialer and press ##4636## to enter into the Engineer/Service Mode.
  2. Go to Phone Information.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Turn on SMS over IMS to perform said action.
  4. Then tap on the Refresh button and then that tap on the Update button to update the new settings.

Another solution can also be found within that menu, since the SMSC number could be wrong for some reason.

Clear the sms app cache and data on your android device


If the cached data by the SMS app has been somehow corrupted it might prevent the messages from either going out or coming in. Therefore, you should try to solve the problem by clearing the cache and data, this action could delete some of the messages or all of them, so make sure to do a back up first.

  1. To do this, open the Settings menu on the Android device, then go to the Applications or Application Manager tab.
  2. Try to find the SMS app and tap on it. If for some reason you are unable to find the SMS app, tap on the three dots in the top right corner and then select Show System Apps.
  3. Tap on Storage, select the Clear Cache option and confirm it if the system asks you to.
  4. Wait for the cache to be cleared and then do exactly the same with the Clear Data option.

Remove your sim card from the phone and insert a different one


You can manually delete all the messages threads from your phone or SIM card memory by following the next steps:

  • Remove your SIM card using the Sim Ejector Tool, which normally comes with the mobile device.
  • Put a different SIM card into the SIM Tray and insert it into the mobile device.
  • Restart your Android mobile device and then put back your original SIM card to see if it fixed the problem, try so send a message again.

A temporary solution to this annoying problem is to use a third-party application to send text messages as mentioned before. The popular ones include Handcent, Go SMS and Chomp. Keep in mind that this is an annoying and somewhat minor error code if we compare it with the news of the Trojan viruses on Android.

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