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Apple's iMessage Delivery Problems Worsened by Server Glitch

iPhone owners switching from their iPhone to another device often encounter an issue with lost messages that are incorrectly delivered to their inactive iPhone, instead of their new phone. This issue is a long-standing problem that was recently made worse by a server glitch, claims Apple in a statement provided to Re/code.

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Apple's iMessage service allows iPhone owners to exchange messages using Apple's iMessage servers, instead of the carrier's text messaging network. The system relies on the accurate identification of the originating and recipient devices as iPhones. When this identification fails, the message delivery system falls apart.

The lost messages problem arises when an iPhone owner switches to another smartphone, such as an Android device, and keeps their existing number. In select cases, Apple's iMessage service continues to recognize the phone number as being attached to an iPhone, instead of the new Android device. This recognition mistake causes a problem with messaging as Apple's iMessaging servers will route the message as an iMessage instead of converting it to a standard text message.

Apple advises iPhone owners to turn off iMessage on their phone and uncheck the number in other iMessage-compatible devices attached their iCloud account before switching devices. This method doesn't always remove the phone number from Apple's iMessage server, forcing former iPhone owners to contact Apple to remove them from the iMessage system manually. A recent server glitch has disabled this manual removal, leaving Apple support representatives temporarily unable to fix this problem for some customers.
“We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update,” Apple told Re/code in a statement. “For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare.”
Apple has not provided a time-frame for the release of this software update. Until a fix is in place, customers will have to contact AppleCare for further guidance on how to handle this troublesome issue.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

15 weeks ago
AppleCare rep: "In order to resolve this issue it is recommended you purchase an iPhone"
Rating: 20 Votes
15 weeks ago

So let me get this straight!

You're going to give the middle finger to the most valuable company in the world so you can sleep with the enemy, and Apple is suppose to help you with this process and let you make a seamless transition?

This is not a bug or an issue IMO. I honestly don't think they will even fix it, nor should they.


Another fanboy... This is a problem for iPhone users too... Oh and Google is now the most valuable company so there's that.
Rating: 12 Votes
15 weeks ago

Why is this even being discussed as a "problem"? Apple should just have one recommendation to people facing this issue - "Buy an iPhone". I don't understand why Apple would have to go the extra mile to help users with competitor devices. If anything this proves staying within Apples ecosystem "Just Works". Why bother about those who choose to leave it? They ought to suffer the consequences. I don't see Apple bending backwards to make life easy for Windows users. :confused:


The issue isn't 'helping the enemy' or any other sort of brain washed rhetoric. The issue is they are holding something valuable that you own for ransom essentially. This bug hijacks your phone number and renders you unreachable to millions of people including friends, family, and work. Fixing a bug in your system isn't going the extra mile by ANY means, it's going the distance you should have gone in the first place before releasing software without documentation and advertising it's potential side affects or pitfalls.

Imagine Comcast holding internet access for you against your will if you tried to go to a competitor or if you moved to a part of the country where Comcast doesn't service... Since you were once a Comcast customer they wouldn't allow you to get internet through anyone else even if Comcast wasn't an option. Would this be allowed? Condoned? Defended by anyone but the most ridiculous Comcast advocate?

Common sense mate... common sense. It's a bug; it needs to be fixed regardless of who it affects.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 weeks ago

So let me get this straight!

You're going to give the middle finger to the most valuable company in the world so you can sleep with the enemy, and Apple is suppose to help you with this process and let you make a seamless transition?

This is not a bug or an issue IMO. I honestly don't think they will even fix it, nor should they.


Why is this even being discussed as a "problem"? Apple should just have one recommendation to people facing this issue - "Buy an iPhone". I don't understand why Apple would have to go the extra mile to help users with competitor devices. If anything this proves staying within Apples ecosystem "Just Works". Why bother about those who choose to leave it? They ought to suffer the consequences. I don't see Apple bending backwards to make life easy for Windows users. :confused:


It also affects the Apple customers who can no longer send messages to their friends because they have changed phones. :rolleyes:
Rating: 10 Votes
15 weeks ago

Since this has been an issue since iOS 5 the sales people who were chasing the extra commission of a SPIFFd non-iPhone are to blame for this getting out of hand. A good sales person knows his product and how to give the customer the best experience with their new product. Therefore if a customer was switching from an iPhone to competing platform, the first question to ask after finding if the customer wants to migrate photos and contacts is do they use Apple's iMessage feature (ie do you get Blue text balloons when you text other iPhone users?). If so, before switching the SIM, the salesperson should help the customer go into settings and turn off the iMessage feature and then send a test text to a known iPhone contact to verify that iMessage is disabled, indicated by the Green text balloon. This simple effort by the sales staff should have eliminated the majority of the defecting iPhone users text receipt issues after it was initially discovered.


Fanboyism at its finest... Surely Apple isn't capable of making a mistake!
Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago

The problem is that Apple is not your telephone service provider, so there is no way for them to know, automatically, that you no longer are using that phone with that number.


How they don't know? They perfectly know what phone number is being accessed by an iOS device

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So let me get this straight!

You're going to give the middle finger to the most valuable company in the world so you can sleep with the enemy, and Apple is suppose to help you with this process and let you make a seamless transition?

This is not a bug or an issue IMO. I honestly don't think they will even fix it, nor should they.


Why is this even being discussed as a "problem"? Apple should just have one recommendation to people facing this issue - "Buy an iPhone". I don't understand why Apple would have to go the extra mile to help users with competitor devices. If anything this proves staying within Apples ecosystem "Just Works". Why bother about those who choose to leave it? They ought to suffer the consequences. I don't see Apple bending backwards to make life easy for Windows users. :confused:



Those are jokes, aren't?
Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago
Apple seems unable to get their hands around this problem. I've had issues with iMessage on and off since the roll out - very disappointed.
Rating: 8 Votes
15 weeks ago
I wonder how many relationships broke because of this.
"You're never answering my messages! You're with that slut, aren't you?" :D
Rating: 8 Votes
15 weeks ago

Since this has been an issue since iOS 5 the sales people who were chasing the extra commission of a SPIFFd non-iPhone are to blame for this getting out of hand. A good sales person knows his product and how to give the customer the best experience with their new product. Therefore if a customer was switching from an iPhone to competing platform, the first question to ask after finding if the customer wants to migrate photos and contacts is do they use Apple's iMessage feature (ie do you get Blue text balloons when you text other iPhone users?). If so, before switching the SIM, the salesperson should help the customer go into settings and turn off the iMessage feature and then send a test text to a known iPhone contact to verify that iMessage is disabled, indicated by the Green text balloon. This simple effort by the sales staff should have eliminated the majority of the defecting iPhone users text receipt issues after it was initially discovered.


I don't follow your logic. Are you suggesting the sales person at the local AT&T/Walmart/Target/Best Buy should be able to fix an issue that Apple can't even fix yet? That doesn't make sense to me. The fix you suggested doesn't work all the time: "This method doesn't always remove the phone number from Apple's iMessage server, forcing former iPhone owners to contact Apple to remove them from the iMessage system manually." What should the sales person do when it doesn't work?

To put this on a sales person at some phone store seems to totally ignore the genesis of the issue: Apple. A simple effort by Apple should have eliminated 100% of the issues after it was initially discovered. Does Apple have no culpability in this?
Rating: 8 Votes
15 weeks ago
It's funny it took a class action lawsuit to go from "we don't know this is happening" to "we're working on a solution"

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Why is this even being discussed as a "problem"? Apple should just have one recommendation to people facing this issue - "Buy an iPhone". I don't understand why Apple would have to go the extra mile to help users with competitor devices. If anything this proves staying within Apples ecosystem "Just Works". Why bother about those who choose to leave it? They ought to suffer the consequences. I don't see Apple bending backwards to make life easy for Windows users. :confused:


So because I bought 1 iPhone and have my number tied to iMessage I should have to suffer the wrath of Apple if I decide to switch to Android or another platform and keep my existing number?

Keep sucking the Apple tit
Rating: 6 Votes

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