iMessages Going to Wrong iPhone "Isn't a Bug" Claims Apple

In December, an apparent bug appeared in Apple's iMessage service that allowed iMessages to be sent to a stolen iPhone. Earlier this week, Gizmodo reported that a customer who went to Apple's Genius Bar began receiving iMessages to and from the Genius who helped fix their phone.

It appears that the Genius took his personal SIM card and inserted it into the customer's iPhone as part of a series of unofficial and unapproved diagnostic efforts to fix the customer's phone. An Apple representative explained to The Loop's Jim Dalrymple that the issue in the Gizmodo story wasn't a bug, but instead was the result of the Genius not following protocol.

“This was an extremely rare situation that occurred when a retail employee did not follow the correct service procedure and used their personal SIM to help a customer who did not have a working SIM,” Apple representative Natalie Harrison told The Loop. “This resulted in a temporary situation that has since been resolved by the employee.”

The act of installing an employee's personal SIM card into a customer's iPhone is obviously not an approved procedure at the Genius Bar. However, the fact that the Genius wasn't supposed to perform this act does not mean that this was merely an "extremely rare situation".

In the Gizmodo situation, a customer was having difficulties with her iPhone 4 and took it to the Genius Bar to be serviced. When it was returned, the phone was in perfect working order, except for one thing: it displayed every incoming and outgoing iMessage meant for the Genius. Because he had inserted his personal SIM card into the iPhone during the diagnostic process, it registered with Apple's iMessage servers and began sending all of his messages to the customer's phone.

stolenphone
A number of customers have reported similar iMessage issues, including messages continuing to go to a stolen iPhone after a remote wipe and a SIM card deactivation. This is obviously an unintended action, and though Apple explains the solution to be "toggle iMessage on and off" in the Settings app, that is an impossible act to perform remotely on a stolen phone.

(Image via Ars Technica)

Top Rated Comments

Daveoc64 Avatar
136 months ago
Apple needs to implement a simple solution:

You go to apple.com/imessage

Sign in with your Apple ID and you can see all iOS devices associated with that account (listed with the device name, serial number and the last time it was used).

This page would allow you to remove any of the devices from that page and they stop receiving iMessages from your account.

The same functionality could be added to the Settings app in iOS or as a separate App if they really wanted to.

Some people have said that you can do this by deleting the device from your products list on the Apple Support page, but that doesn't work for everyone.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oldMac Avatar
136 months ago
I'm confused. My iphone was stolen a couple months ago. Tracking went off a day later to an area of businesses I was the night before. They all denied having it. Does this mean some chump is reading my messages?

If so, you should use it to your advantage:

iMessage: Hi Harry, Couldn't find you, so I left the money with Jeff at [address of your workplace]. Just drop by and ask for "Jeff" and let him know you are here to get the money.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Cathode Avatar
136 months ago
As someone who tends to sell the previous model and upgrade each year, this worries me. I always perform a wipe and restore but what prevents a new (legitimate) owner of my phone from receiving iMessages intended for me?

It seems like this issue must be related to the iMessage servers refusing to unlink previously used devices.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tigress666 Avatar
136 months ago
Wow, to me this is far worse than Jobs, "You're holding it wrong."

Their response is totally ignorant to the actual issue. People aren't upset that some random genius is now getting his messages sent to another phone... they're upset that there are ways that can happen!!!!

Talk about sticking their head in the sand and refusing to take responsibility and fix a bug that really should be fixed.

As some one else said, do I now have to worry when I sell my phone that some one else is going to be getting my texts?
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
blizaine Avatar
136 months ago
This is happening on my iPhone. And I didn't steal it. I just borrowed it, indefinitely, from some dude I don't know.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Phazer Avatar
136 months ago
Please Apple, please stop embarrassing yourselves.

Just fix it. And say you're working on fixing it. Now. This isn't something that you are secret about to generate a bit of buzz. It's a major security cockup. They happen. But you're making it worse.

Phazer
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

M2 MacBook Pro Much Slower Than Previous Model

Friday July 1, 2022 2:24 am PDT by
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip features a significantly slower SSD compared to the previous model, resulting in poorer performance in some workflows, it has been discovered. Specifically, it has been found that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro....