Maximum length of text messages

The maximum length of a text message is 160 characters as long as you use standard 7-bit characters. Once you use a character that is not in the 7-bit encoding list, your maximum number of characters in a text message drops to 70.

When you write your message, you will see the number of remaining characters diminish as you type.

Text message.

This article lists the characters that count as either 1 or 2 characters, as well as the ones that change your text message into a Unicode message.

7-bit encoding

The following characters all count as 1 character:


The following count as 2 characters:


Unicode encoding

Unicode (UCS-2) encoding supports a greater range of characters and languages compared to very limited alphabet of 7-bit encoding.

If your message contains any characters not listed in the 7-bit alphabet above, UCS-2 encoding is automatically used. In this case, each message takes up a lot more space, thus the message length is reduced to 70 characters.