iMessage problems get worse thanks to server glitch


Anyone who has ever tried jumping from iOS to Android, while keeping the same cell number, will know about the horror of trying to get hold of their messages.

The so-called “iMessage purgatory” means that unless you first deactivate your iMessages before ditching your iPhone, Apple’s servers will think that you’re using its proprietary messaging platform. The upshot? Say goodbye to your messages.

While the problem has been gaining more awareness recently as a result of class-action lawsuits filed against Apple, it’s just gotten worse, courtesy of a recent server glitch. The glitched rendered moot one of Apple’s key methods for sorting out the issue.

“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.”

Unless you deactivate iMessage before ditching the iPhone, Apple’s servers still thinking you’re using its proprietary messaging platform. It’s a problem that has existed for years.

The problem of vanishing messages first arose with the arrival of the iMessage feature with iOS 5 back in 2011. Since then, it has been causing endless problems for users who choose to leave the Apple ecosystem — a problem Apple is hoping to resolve with its forthcoming version of iOS, although no details have yet been revealed.

Until that happens, users can skip the hassle if they turn off the iMessage feature on their iPhone, and uncheck the phone number from any other Apple devices they’re using iMessage on, before switching to a new non-Apple device.

As for Apple, the pressure’s on to sort out this longstanding problem ASAP. Particularly if the class-action lawsuit doesn’t go its way, and newly-converted Android users spot a chance to make a quick buck.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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