It looks like a backwards URL. It often turns up as a nasty error message. It has something to do with MMS. But what is “com.android.mms”?
The answer isn’t quite simple. Those code names such as com.android.mms have dual identities. Com.android.mms could be considered a package, an app, a path, or a process; depending on which way you look at it. To sum it up, the format is a unique identifier for MMS, or multimedia messaging service—which is the service that makes the transmission of images, attachments, audio, video, and text messages greater than 160 characters—possible.
1. MMS, Packages, Processes, & More
MMS is a handy feature to have if you want to send pictures from your phone to someone else’s, or maybe a video complete with audio. A ton of files reside on your Android phone, and so they can all be beside one another in perfect harmony, a naming system for apps with very similar names was created. The path to your MMS app is /com/android/mms if you ever decide to go looking for it—but that’s only possible with a rooted device and will be a lot easier if you use a file manager or explorer.
All Android apps have package names like the one you are seeing. Ever heard of an APK file? APK actually stands for Android Package Kit, but you might be more familiar with it if you’ve downloaded any third-party Android apps in form of an APK file. Like an app, the Android program is compiled, but then all of the code and resources are packaged into one file. So while the app’s name is a lot more user-friendly—Messages—the actual package/APK name is com.android.mms.
Processes are the actions that the package or app is designed to execute. Process com.android errors are usually a sign of corrupt software. It could be corrupt data that is housed on your device, or possibly a software glitch/bug. It’s also useful to note that if the Android system is low on memory, older processes may terminate.
All too often, the instance that you encounter com.android.mms is when there is a problem. The most common error message is Sorry! The Messages (com.android.mms process) application has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again. The solution for this problem depends on what’s causing it. Some users have found a resolution by downloading a third-party messaging app, like GO SMS, deleting potentially problematic texts, and then uninstalling the third-party app (if desired).
The above method will work if your issue is a single text becoming corrupted in the message database. Another way to handle potential software corruption is by doing a hard reset. If you choose this option, it is advisable that you backup your contacts and other data you might want to keep. If this issue developed after the installation of a custom ROM, you might consider wiping and installing a different one or going back to stock.
A simple reboot and making sure your system and apps are up-to-date are also good (and simple) options as well. Also, ensure your mobile data is set to ON, and if you have a firewall, disable it. Sometimes it can be a memory issue; so you might want to delete what you won’t miss, and while you’re at it —remove any task killers. Make sure roaming is ON, your signal is strong, and disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These tips are good practice to send/receive MMS in general.
Download: Go SMS Pro
3. What com.android.mms Isn’t
Now that we’ve discussed what com.android.mms is, let’s talk about what it isn’t. In the aftermath of threats like Stagefright, it’s understandable that unexplained MMS-related messages might make one uneasy. That’s only compounded by certain anti-virus software perceiving com.android.mms as a “threat” in at least one instance (ahem, Webroot). But com.android.mms itself is nothing but your messaging app. Inherently, its presence on your phone doesn’t mean you’ve been hacked or picked up a nasty virus. Is com.android.mms the only package name for Android messaging apps. Absolutely not, but it is the most common one.
If you are seeing error messages with com.android.mms, it doesn’t mean that all is right with the world and your Android. But it doesn’t mean that it’s the end for them either. Malicious attacks like Stagefright will not usually manifest themselves in the form of a messaging error (although anything is possible). MMS was merely the vehicle by which the hack was delivered.
Android has since closed this vulnerability, but if you want to err on the side of caution with your MMS, here’s the best thing you can do. Go into settings for your MMS and turn off Auto Retrieve, and don’t tap on anything from anyone you don’t recognize. Again, this is probably not necessary, as this particular security hole has been patched.
4. MMS, Package Use in Development
In Java, which is the language used to create code for Android, packages are declared in a manifest statement to be referenced for use within the source code. The package name is a unique identifier for the application. com.android.mms is the Android stock messaging app. If you were to develop your own messaging app (which can be quite challenging), it would have its own unique name.
Have you ever seen two apps with same name? It’s not totally uncommon. But you won’t see two apps with the same package name on Google Play. Package names are unique.
This particular package name, com.android.mms, is one that most people use regularly. Ever sent a lengthy text message over 160 characters? You likely sent it via MMS. Have you sent a photo via text? It was really via MMS. The same feature applies to video and audio message transmission done through Android’s stock messaging app.