Text messaging apps aren’t exactly sophisticated and feature-rich. There’s very little you can really do with the SMS protocol unless the app also supports the more or less defunct MMS system or, in Google’s case, the new RCS that some are trying to push. That’s not to say those apps can’t go wrong, just like Google’s Messages app that has apparently been making messages disappear for almost a year now.
On the one hand, bugs that are more than a year old aren’t really that uncommon. On the other hand, given how the Google Messages app is in wide use and how egregious this bug is, you’d think people would have raised a lot of noise to get Google’s attention.
One reason may be due to the bug’s randomness. In addition to text messages just disappearing randomly, some users have also reported a variety of problems. Those include glitching text or text being labeled as coming from an incorrect sender. The most worrying is perhaps the app crashing before all messages disappear completely.
Unfortunately, the fixes are just as random and inconsistent, with some reporting a simple clearing of the app’s cache as an effective fix. Others have resorted to rolling back to a default version while others have tried doing a factory reset on their phones.
Complaints on Google support forum date back to January last year but have picked up steam yet again. This bug can be particularly problematic now because of how shelter-in-place orders have forced people to resort more to text messaging and the Internet to keep in touch. Google has yet to even acknowledge the problem that is more than a year old, much less have a fix ready for users to install.