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How to set up MMS on the iPhone (in the best possible way)

One of the shortcomings that we can miss the most on the iPhone, if we were used to using them on our previous mobiles, is the sending and receiving of MMS . Even though Apple has not officially mentioned a single word about whether any firmware version will support MMS in the future, the iPhone development community has got down to business. What we have ( to date ) is the sending and receiving of MMS in a very basic way. The only program that has managed to do this is SwirlyMMS and it only has a basic interface for sending and downloading messages, but not for viewing them.

If we want to see a received MMS, we must use another program that allows us to navigate the iPhone file system, like MobilePreview , and another like MobileTextEdit to read the content of the messages.

How to set up MMS on the iPhone (in the best possible way)
How to set up MMS on the iPhone (in the best possible way)

At least, it was until a few days ago. A new program, called iMMESS , is presented as a half-decent alternative when reading the MMS sent and received on our iPhones. It should be used in conjunction with SwirlyMMS , as the latter will do the main tasks of receiving and sending messages, while iMMESS will be responsible for displaying them in a “nice” way.

We will configure everything, in the simplest and most direct way possible, ready ?


We need the “engine” that allows us to send and receive MMS on our iPhone. To do this, we go to the Installer’s sources list ( InstallerSourcesEditAdd ) and add a new repository: swirlyspace.comSwirlySpace.xml ( write it down exactly, case sensitive and do not add or remove anything ).

Once the new font has been added, go to the list of programs and look for and install our SwirlyMMS:


We restart the iPhone, and enter SwirlyMMS . Go to Settings and enter exactly the parameters your operator uses for multimedia communication. You have a great list with all of them, for all Spanish operators, on ActualidadiPhone.


Now we have to install two software packages that iMMESS will use to be able to work. To do things right, we’d better make sure we have enough free space on our hard drive .

You see, on the iPhone there are two parts : one of 300MB where system files, fonts, applications … and another of the rest of the capacity where it goes to our multimedia content ( music, videos, etc … ). We often start installing things on the iPhone and we eat the 300MB partition. To free up a good amount of MB, we will install BossTool from the Installer.

It is very easy to use. We click on Free Disk Space and then decide that we want to move. I recommend moving the system fonts to the multimedia content partition ( leaves about 80MB free, more than enough ).


Before installing iMMESS , we need to install two software packages to make it work. I’ll tell you what each one is, but we won’t go into detail…

Lighttpd is a small web server that will be installed on the iPhone and Perl , the programming language on which everything is based. Actually, iMMESS is just a webapp that runs locally from the iPhone, reading the content of the MMS stored in the file system and presenting it in a “nice” way. The developers of iMMESS promise to soon release a native application that is easier to install, because honestly, the chiringuito we are setting up here to watch MMS is amazing…

Nothing, install the two software packages from the Installer, as usual… no more mystery…

If you get this alert when you have just installed Perl, don’t worry, there is nothing to do. “OK”, and that’s it:


If we have installed the above software packages correctly, there is nothing special about installing iMMESS . If it tells you that a package is missing, try again.


We’ve got it all set up and ready to go! Shall we do a test run? We go into SwirlyMMS and send an MMS to ourselves, so we can test the sending and receiving at the same time.

Click on New within SwirlyMMS , enter the title of the message, choose the recipient ( enter your number, to do the test ) and select an image ( only images for the moment: videos will come in the future ). We press Send and wait for it to be sent.

If anything goes wrong at this point, check that the parameters of your carrier are correctly set, that you have GPRS coverage , that you have contracted the MMS service with your carrier and that a small green icon with an “M” appears in the top right-hand bar of your iPhone within SwirlyMMS ( this indicates that we have MMS coverage ).

If everything went well, we’ll see that the SwirlyMMS icon has a nice “1” , indicating that we have an MMS to pick up:

Before we can see it, we have to download the MMS , so we will enter SwirlyMMS again, and click on ” Fetch ” ( this button will only appear when we have some MMS pending to download ):

The program will download the content of the MMS to the iPhone file system. When the process is complete, we can exit SwirlyMMS, and finally enter iMMESS to view it.

The iMMESS icon can’t be missed: it’s the most horrific icon you’ll ever have on your iPhone. And it’s not even an icon, it’s a link to a URL in Safari: remember I told you before that iMMESS was just a web application that runs locally. So if you save that URL in your Safari bookmarks, you can still access your MMS. And that’s how we got rid of the icon…

Fortunately, the interface is quite clear , and when we enter iMMESS, we’ll see the list of MMS. In our case, we’ll have one to look at: we click on it…

… and here it is ! Now we can send and receive MMS. In a bit of a rudimentary way, but is less than an Apple .

The developers of SwirlyMMS have promised that version 1.0 of the program will now have its own message display interface, which would already be important…

Another limitation when sending an MMS from the iPhone is that we can’t accompany it with a lot of text , but if you see the screenshots here from iMMESS, when you receive a text message from a “normal” mobile phone too it will be displayed without problems along with the image.

At the moment, this is the best way to be able to use MMS on our iPhones. Once everything is installed, it’s not complicated: We download the MMS with SwirlyMMS and then we watch it from iMMESS.

However, let’s hope that Apple or any other company will develop decent software for this, and that it will bring news like sending authentic multimedia content: not only photos, but also music or videos.

And, if possible, with a decent icon

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