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PreCentral: Find missing text messages due to wrong network time

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Messaging App - Next WeekThis week for your friendly neighborhood tipster started off with old email messages being continually syned to my device due to an odd issue involving email retention time frames and has continued with another weird issue of new text messages seemingly disappearing from the Messaging app as soon as they arrive. The phone would alert me that there was a new message and in some cases I would even see the preview of the message in the top listing of conversations in the Messaging app. But when I would go to the actual conversation, the message was nowhere to be found. In another case, a new message would be received but it didn't appear to show up at all in the Messaging app until I did a type-to-search for the recipient name and then found the conversation in the "LAST WEEK" section of the listing. Finally, in an even odder scenario, a message came in and was now showing under a "NEXT WEEK" section of the Messaging app.

Did I just receive a text message from the future? Do I need to call Captain Kirk? As it turns out, there was no time travel involved here. I needn't to worry about humpback whales, Terminators, Romulans, the Borg or Cybermen, Biff, hot tubs, Daleks, loopers, or apes that can talk. But why did my Pre think the text messages were from next week?

What ended up happening was the network time on my phone was randomly moving ahead or behind by about week. The text message would then be given a timestamp based on the phone's date and time at the time when the message was received and would be placed in the appropriate spot chronologically in a conversation. So, it's not that the message was missing from my messaging conversation, it just wasn’t showing up where I would have logically expected it. Had I scrolled through the conversation to the prior week, I would have found a very out-of-order and confusing conversation. And, this also didn't only affect text messages, but also the timestamp of screenshots or photos/videos taken from the camera, phone log records and more.

I will never know why Verizon kept telling my phone to change its Network Time, but I do know a few fixes to help prevent or diagnose this issue in the future.

  • You can install a program like Clock Sync to check that the phone's date and time are correct and then update it, if necessary. Unfortunately, since you will need to define a regular sync time period, this may not help if those random time changes are between time sync periods.
  • If the wrong date is showing up, you may want to go to the Date & Time settings app and ensure that Network Time is turned ON. Then, toggle Airplane Mode on and off to force an update to the network time to hopefully sync the correct date and time
  • If the wrong date and time is still showing up, you can always turn off the Network Time option and just manually set it.
  • Finally, you may want to consider installing a homebrew patch like "Date and Lower-case AM-PM Indicator" or "Date As Carrier String" to add the Date to the top bar header of your device, as you can see in the screenshot above. This way, you can quickly notice if the wrong date is showing up and fix it, as indicated above.
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