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Apple's iMessage is now “a black hole for text messages” sent to non-iOS devices

Posted: , by Luis D.

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Apple's iMessage is now “a black hole for text messages” sent to non-iOS devices
Have you ever switched to a phone other than an iPhone, only to discover you no longer receive messages from your friends and relatives sent to you through iMessage? You are not alone. Apparently, the issue is a big elephant in the room for Apple, and a healthy gunpowder reserve for sensationalists who claim that the iPhone maker does it for the purpose of keeping its users away from steering to other platforms. While we wouldn't go as far, Apple's refusal to solve the problem while acknowledging it is quite disturbing.

The issue at hand is that iMessage is a separate messaging system which has apparent problems with delivering messages to devices that do not run iOS. Users' texts seem to get stuck either permanently, or for a duration of time inside the system. This only happens if the recipient is using another mobile platform, because it seems the system gets stuck trying to find your one-time iMessage address.

Apple has not commented formally on the issue, but its customer support has been acknowledging the problem while unable to fix it. In addition, Apple advises iPhone users to turn off iMessage if they intend to transfer their SIM cards and phone numbers to a non-iOS device on its help page. If they don't, iOS devices will try in vain to send messages through iMessage, instead of SMS or MMS for up to 45 days.

Lifehacker's Adam Pash has written a detailed report on the matter, which you might find interesting if the "iMessage purgatory" issue concerns you. His words paint a pretty accurate assessment of the situation: "Most of my friends have iPhones. My phone number hasn’t changed. But my number is now a black hole for text messages."

source: Adam Pash via Business Radar

74 Comments
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posted on 15 May 2014, 05:38 18

1. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1676; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


iControl!!!

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:32 4

13. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2479; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Apple: iRefuse!!!

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:05 2

49. buccob (Posts: 1356; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Something similar happened in my country back in the Blackberry Era... with the BBM....

And by the time they released BBM on other OS, everybody was using Whatsapp, Viber, iMessage, Hangouts...

I care very little if I do not have 1 of the popular IM services... there are many other options... I even ended up uninstalling most and keeping Whatsapp, FB Messenger, and Hangouts....

Most of my friends with iPhones use at least whatsapp... and if they really want to talk to you they will write to you no matter which service...

I have preached Hangout to my friends and family, but not because of how good the app is (cause it is not as good anyway) but because it is able to chat with almost any OS, including Windows and Mac over gmail...

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:39 1

16. emvxl (Posts: 14; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)


iFeature.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:08 5

34. gustavoace (Posts: 90; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)


iDon'tCare

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:42 5

17. DEATHSTROKE9 (Posts: 399; Member since: 09 Nov 2013)


Buying an apple device is tantamount to entering a black hole.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:13 6

19. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1676; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Wallet goes in a black hole $$ -0

posted on 15 May 2014, 10:46 4

57. buccob (Posts: 1356; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I actually liked iMessage more than what we got from Hangouts at first when I compared them... but today even though I still dislike Hangouts overall design.. it is still way more practical and you have full control over how you want to send your messages... SMS or Hangouts... and the later will show you if the person is online or not...

So Hangouts took the upper hand with its recent updates.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:22 5

37. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3850; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Apple & their questionable moves...

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:35

43. PAPINYC (Posts: 2237; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


What the heck are you talking about, it's just uTTer and complete iFailure (AGAIN)!!!

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:44 15

2. anirudhshirsat97 (Posts: 382; Member since: 24 May 2011)


Hmm.....Apple refusing to solve a problem.because the people aren't their customers anymore. Wow...just wow.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:31 2

28. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 911; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)


how is that wow !

if you buy my products and need help i'll help you but if you're using another product why would i help you ?

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:08 3

50. Finalflash (Posts: 1585; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Because your customers can't text their friends. It isn't the friends problem only, it's yours as well. So when they find out iMessage is eating their texts, your customers will blame you, not their friend who jumped ship to another device.

posted on 15 May 2014, 11:09 1

58. Taters (Posts: 2664; Member since: 28 Jan 2013)


Because you already paid the Apple tax. You pay 3 times what you would pay another company so Apple can look like they have great customer service. And if they don't have to provide great customer service, they just bank the money. That is how they have 100 billion plus.

Oh wait....people don't realize this yet and just think Apple has great customer service...

Okay move on. I'll just revisit this when the rest of itards realize this.

posted on 15 May 2014, 20:57

62. njguy (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 May 2013)


So the people that still have iPhones and can't text their friends/relatives/contacts who don't have an iPhone are not Apple customers ?
The people that swicthed their phone but still have an iPad/iPod are not Apple customers ?
Apple has no responsibility to them ?

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:44 7

3. Jklaz (Posts: 124; Member since: 01 Jul 2013)


When my s3 broke I had to go to an ip5. Now that I'm on my s5, a lot of my friends are having trouble texting me. Customer support said it should be resolved, but it's still going on.

That week with the iPhone was hell. Now it's makin my life more difficult. Thanks apple.

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:50 1

4. ryq24 (Posts: 479; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Apple is just isolating itself further and they will be the one who suffer from this.

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:52 2

5. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Turn off iMessage. Problem solved.

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:17 8

11. Sniggly (Posts: 6780; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


It still doesn't fix it for some users, and it's not as simple as turning off I message. You also have to go into your iTunes account and unregister your device. It's unnecessary hoops for the customer to jump through.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:14

20. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 847; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


@Sniggly I had the same problem years ago and turning off imessage worked for me.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:26 2

23. Kjayhawk (Posts: 285; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


I had the same problem 2 months ago. Turning off imessage doesn't work anymore. you have to unregister the account even after that you still have to wait. i waited for 4 days till i had full texting capabilities.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:28

26. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Never had that problem.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:29

27. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


It works for most cases. I think sniggly is exaggerating here.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:17 2

36. iCloud (Posts: 36; Member since: 15 May 2014)


I agree. My main phone is an iphone and i change to a new android phone to try at least once a month. Everytime i turn off iMessage wait 5 minutes before removing the sim and placing it on an android phone. No problem at all. Last one i did was the m8 (2 weeks ago), so turning it off does work as i can confirm.

posted on 16 May 2014, 00:31 1

71. Fernandito31 (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Feb 2014)


no my friend I'm a manager of one of the biggest carriers in US and this is the bigguest issue we are seeing fem customers moving from an iPhone to android, and then the recommendation from apple customer care is the dumbest thing ever: "turn off iMessage, delete all your contacts that had iPhone and add them again or tell all your contacts that had iPhone to delete you from their contact list and also to delete the message conversation and create a new one" really???

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:25

22. elitewolverine (Posts: 1378; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)


for 90% of users yes simply turning off imessage is the key, or going to your account to deactivate your device.

I deal with this daily, and a simple call to apple triggers a unregister, and within 24hrs it is working again. i have yet to have it last longer than that for hundreds of customers.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:27

25. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Funny because it has worked for others. Let's not get on the subject of unnecessary hoops for the customer.

Should I go dig up the old skeletons out of Motorola's closet?

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:03 1

32. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 847; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


@Mxy regardless it's a huge annoyance for anyone switching phones. I was able to figure this out on my own but many people I know were not able to and were blaming the Android ecosystem when it is clearly Apple being negligent.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:15

35. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Google and Android OEMs are just as guilty of being negligent, if not more.

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:01 2

48. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 847; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


But it doesn't make it right because Google and Android OEMs do negligent things as well.. It's a horrible and unethical practice to screw over a person when switching phones no matter who does it.

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:16 2

52. Finalflash (Posts: 1585; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Lol that statement has to be the height fanboyism. How is anyone other than Apple guilty of negligence for iMessage eating texts. The receiving platform is ready to receive but never gets it, it isn't responsible for anything. Might want to take off the rose colored glasses once in a while and admit a problem when there is one.

posted on 15 May 2014, 21:39

64. roscuthiii (Posts: 1785; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


"But *blank* is doing it too!"? That's the answer for justification?!

Of all the childish and immature. things to say...

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:48 2

55. Sniggly (Posts: 6780; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


It may work for some, but not for all. Those were the steps I had to take for customers switching from iPhones to Android who experienced the issue, and for those switching from one platform to another, even the smallest inconvenience can be seen as a dealbreaker for them.

Go right ahead, Mxy. You can't claim that this isn't a problem at all and dig up past, resolved problems from Motorola at the same time.

At any rate, other companies having issues as well doesn't make this less of one. It can be VERY frustrating for users who switch when they don't know what's going on.

posted on 16 May 2014, 00:20 3

69. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5558; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


i do Technical Support for VZW and we have to fix this issue quite often.
turning off iMessage often works however there's a lot of cases where customers take advantage of the handset trade-in program and that's not an option so beyond turning off iMessage we do everything Apple's Support Team would do up until it comes to verifying the device is unregistered through the server so if this is an issue for you just call your carrier, we're all well aware of the issue and if Apple is at any point ever required in the process we'll just transfer you to them. save your money. the quickest thing you can do to fix this aside from turning off iMessage is sending an SMS to 48369 with the word "STOP" that unregisters the MDN from your Apple ID. otherwise you'll have to go to supportprofile.apple.com to unregister the device and verify that the MDN isn't associated with the account and people with iPhones that are failing to get messages through to you even after going through all these steps may have to delete the messaging threads that have iMessages that were sent to you in them.

Sniggly is right though, this is a serious problem on Apple's part that is long overdue for a fix and it is very frustrating for customers that aren't aware of what's going on. i've experienced this frustration first hand on many occasions.

posted on 16 May 2014, 00:28 2

70. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5558; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


also don't expect this to be fixed immediately after performing all of these steps. it can take between 4-48 hours for your device and or MDN to completely unregister from your Apple ID.

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:35 4

14. ScottSchneider (Posts: 313; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


Go Android... Problem Solved...

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:24 2

21. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Clearly you didn't read the article.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:38 7

29. ScottSchneider (Posts: 313; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


I'm sorry... I was holding the article wrong... o.0

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:28

41. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3317; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


You're digging yourself into a hole.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:57 3

47. ScottSchneider (Posts: 313; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


I am Iron Man.. I can dig my way out...

posted on 15 May 2014, 09:26 3

53. HouTexan (Posts: 305; Member since: 08 Jan 2012)


Lol You win.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:06 3

33. SellPhones82 (Posts: 488; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


Or switch to Hangouts since it works on multiple platforms as well as any web browser so you can even use it on your PC/laptop. Using proprietary services results in problems like this.

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:54 4

6. joey_sfb (Posts: 2748; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Are you sure its a bug, sound like a feature to deal with traitor that dare to leave their iOS platform.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:31 4

42. iCloud (Posts: 36; Member since: 15 May 2014)


Funny :)
You want to leave apple? i shall smite thee with great vengeance lol

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:56 8

7. rallyguy (Posts: 533; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


"sensationalists who claim that the iPhone maker does it for the purpose of keeping its users away from steering to other platforms. While we wouldn't go as far".

iwould

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:56 3

8. kane74 (Posts: 13; Member since: 24 Jan 2014)


We IOS users should turn it all off . I did a while back. If I want to send SMS, i want it to be an actual SMS. For internet messaging, Whatssup or similar

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:46

45. iCloud (Posts: 36; Member since: 15 May 2014)


I agree as SMS is more reliable. iMessage is nice to see if the other person read your message and also see them typing. Also, its easier having the iphone users use imessage as it is integrated with their "SMS" app and not a 3rd party app.
I personally liked the BBM but i only know 1 person that uses it and other refuse to use it lol.

posted on 15 May 2014, 05:56

9. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3074; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


the only feature i want on android natively.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:28

40. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)


Better than bbm

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:04 3

10. ibap (Posts: 690; Member since: 09 Sep 2009)


iPhone users, of course, think Apple is doing what is best for them. More likely Apple is doing what is best for Apple.

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:17 2

12. vincelongman (Posts: 1044; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I had this happen to me when I got my Nexus 5, my first android after using iOS for 4 years
Also most of my iPhone friends were blaming Android and telling to get a 5S
It's mostly fixed now that I disable iMessage and disable my Apple account

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:39 1

15. blingblingthing (Posts: 423; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


You went back to iOS?

posted on 15 May 2014, 06:53 4

18. vincelongman (Posts: 1044; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


No, I disabled iMessage and my Apple account
Now I'm using my Nexus 5

posted on 15 May 2014, 19:01

60. joey_sfb (Posts: 2748; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


Will you go back for a bigger screen iPhone 6. Do seem like a right size now. I think it will be a big hit.

posted on 15 May 2014, 23:42 1

67. vincelongman (Posts: 1044; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


Nope, I am waiting for Project Ara, hopefully it will be released in 2015
If Project Ara isn't released by 2015 then maybe I'll upgrade to another phone, I like Android more now
But in 2015 it'll be iOS 8 vs 4.5 or 5.0 vs. 8.2, so can't tell right now

posted on 15 May 2014, 21:47

65. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 698; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)


Freakin' profile pic gets me EVERY TIME! Mouth watering.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:27 2

24. iampayne (Posts: 231; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


How is this a story now? Its been an issue for 2 years now since iOS 5 I believe. And Im sure its an easy coding fix Apple can do. One of the biggest culprits is when you enter a new number in contacts it automatically saves a number as "iPhone" instead of defaulting to "Mobile". Since iOS can already auto detect an iPhone, Apple should just take "iPhone" out of the options. So 1 fix is having everyone make sure they have your number as "Mobile" instead of "iPhone" in contacts.

Another issue is a lot of people don't realize you have to turn iMessage off on ALL of your iOS devices, example iPads and iPods. If iMessage is still activated on those devices they will intercept the messages. So the black hole might just be your iPad.

posted on 15 May 2014, 08:38

44. iCloud (Posts: 36; Member since: 15 May 2014)


I think the issue comes up is imessage tries to detect if not then tries to register as an SMS. leaving it on and placing the sim card into another phone kinda breaks. I believe you might be right that they can code something that might fix the issue but then again you are leaving apple, you think they care to fix this?

I've never really tried but i thought getting imessage on your ipad and mac os was only the email addresses registered not your actual phone number. I have my ipad set-up to receive imessage on my emails (some still send me imessage that way) but not my phone number.

posted on 15 May 2014, 12:47

59. iampayne (Posts: 231; Member since: 12 Aug 2013)


You are correct that the iPad is email address, but what I think the issue is if someone with an iPhone is sending the iMessage and it is received by a device, an iPhone will not send via SMS because it recevies no error that a message wasn't accepted on the other end. Kind of like when your in a bad reception area and the message ends up getting sent via SMS because the iMessage can't reach the server.

posted on 15 May 2014, 07:40 1

30. EchoCoPLT3166 (Posts: 2; Member since: 15 May 2014)


Everyone that has this problem should start by sending a text message with the word "Stop" to 48369 from their new phone. It will deregister your number with the imessage server. It will take approximately 24 hours for the imessage server to purge your number.

Don't forget to sign out of facetime too.

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