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Guide: check your SMS character count | iOS 9

Messages that are more than 160 characters long are billed as multiple text messages, so if you want to keep track of the length of your message, this is a useful tip.

Open Settings then Messages and turn on Character Count.

The count appears after one line has been typed. This doesn’t appear when sending an iMessage (i.e. between iOS devices) as the message isn’t part of an SMS allowance.