Running the default android SMS application, multiple threads get created for the same number.

This is how it started: I was visiting a foreign country, I got a legit sms from the service provider (smartone in Hong Kong) suggesting that I could get cheaper calls by dialing *131*001 followed by country code and number. I tried it on an sms to see if it would work. It didn't but from then on the sms app started two threads, in a seemingly random way: most of the received sms are listed under a number starting with *131*001 that I cannot reply to. In the process all the past sms conversations were "captured" and listed under that number. To send sms I had to start a new thread with the same number but without *131*001.

This is what I tried: first, I added *131*001etc as an additional number for my contact, hoping that the threads would be merged. But it did nothing.

Secondly, after reading some, I used SMSBackupAndRestore to save the sms and modify the resulting xml file. I noticed one difference between the sms in the two different threads, namely, a difference in the service_center, for instance service_center="+852161645501" for the sms listed as *131*001etc and service_center="null" for the properly listed sms. So I replaced every instance of service_center="+852161645501" (numbers varied) with service_center="null". I then reloaded the modified xml file using SMSBackupAndRestore.

Before the "fix" just described, I had about 2,000 messages listed under *131*001etc and about 5 or 6 listed under the correct number. After the "fix", I had two more or less evenly split lists, of about 1,000 messages each. Plus a third list got created with 2 messages in it.

As I was doing this, it occurred to me that SMSBackupAndRestore only saves the text of the sms, not the pictures and other attachments. Yet, the pictures and attachments were showing up after applying the "fix", showing that the sms had not really been deleted, merely taken off the directory and upon being re-loaded the android sms app would "recognize" the messages and re-load the pictures and attachments. This means that there is a folder somewhere with the history of my sms. And the android sms app is using information stored there to recreate the *131*001etc thread that I'm trying to delete.

I wanted to delete all the cache. I couldn't find it by browsing (I'm using Windows 7), so I downloaded some apps to help me, two apps named 1tap cleaner, both worked in a similar way and deleted cache, but obviously not the cache I want to delete since it hasn't solved anything.

I have deleted all the sms, but double threads listed as *131*001etc still happen with the new messages. Plus now I can't even add a picture to my contacts (when I "edit" the contact, I can only edit the name and number, nothing else)...

Handcent hasn't helped.

Any suggestions on how to get out of this nightmare? many thanks.

  • Sounds like it might be an APN issue. You should look at Settings -> Wireless and network -> Mobile networks and see if there's anything in there related to that 131 stuff, and change/remove it. Feb 9, 2012 at 22:56
  • Thanks Matthew, I looked in there but couldn't see anything much... would you know how to access the sms cache to clear it?
    – annoporci
    Feb 10, 2012 at 17:25


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