SMS stands for Short Message Service. Its meant to be short. This is why the character count is limited to 160 characters. You go beyond 160 and the message is split into two or more parts. Depending on the network and handset, you might send and receive it as a single message, however, majority of phones and networks will split it in two messages.
This is why most phones have a character count displayed on the screen when you are typing a message. This is helpful if you have a costly messaging plan. Even a single character above 160 and you will be charged for two messages instead of one.
Along with other most obvious features, character count was also one of the basic features missing from the iPhone. Apple did not even care to include this in the massive 3.0 upgrade which included most other highly demanded and obvious features. iPhone users are thus deprived of this feature till date.
Luckily, if you have a jailbroken iPhone, you can install the free “SMS Helper” app from Cydia. This little super useful tool will plug in to the standard SMS app on the iPhone and will display the character count (in place of the Send button) as you type. When you are done, just tap on the count and your message will be sent. Pretty neat.
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