Apple’s iMessage fix could end headaches if you move to Android

Leaving Apple is tough. Several key features of iOS are impossible to transfer when you switch to a new device. One of the worst losses is iMessage. As if it weren’t bad enough to lose the ability to text all your iPhone-using friends for free, a bug in the system allows your friends to continue sending iMessages to the iPhone you no longer have. That means you don’t get all those important messages.

The real problem lies in Apple’s system. When you switch to another platform, such as Android or Windows Phone, but you keep the old phone number associated with your former iPhone, iMessage continues to recognize your device as an iPhone. As such, your friends continue to send you iMessages rather than regular text messages and all those conversations get lost in the ether. Apple attempted to resolve the issue before, but a recent problem in its servers negates most of the earlier bug fixes.

The issue has plagued former iPhone users ever since iMessage debuted in 2011. Whenever an iPhone user sends a text via iMessage, the text travels through Apple’s servers, bypassing the wireless carriers. Not only does iMessage allow users to avoid SMS and MMS charges, it also lets you enable the ability to see if the message has been received and when it was read, while simultaneously sending the message to iMessage on all your Apple devices.

It’s a great service for Apple users, but it turns into an absolute nightmare for those who choose to leave that cozy ecosystem for Android or Windows Phone. The main problem lies in Apple’s inability to maintain an accurate list of numbers associated with iPhones. As soon as someone ditches their iPhone, but keeps their old number, the confusion starts and messages are lost. Although Apple has tried to fix the issue, the problem persists.

Now, Apple says it is hard at work  to end the iMessage confusion. The server issue has been eliminated, but a fully functional software update is still forthcoming.

“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.”

Former Apple users have expressed  their frustration on all the available Internet portals, Apple support forums, and most recently, in court. Last week, a California woman filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple for interfering with the delivery of text messages with iMessage. She argues that iMessage prevents those who switch devices from getting the full value out of their wireless plans, which violates California’s unfair competition law.

Apple has yet to comment on the case, but surely its increased efforts to solve the problem sooner rather than later have something to do with its growing number of dissatisfied exes.

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