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Apple will address the iMessage bug in a future iOS update

When it comes to people that love iPhones, the iOS ecosystem is a relatively pleasant place to be. However, a nasty bug involving iMessage has lead to a lot of headaches for people that want to leave the iOS ecosystem.
 
The problem stems with how the iMessage text messaging service is setup. iMessage allows iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to send text messages to each other for free using iMessage servers, effectively bypassing a user’s wireless carrier (this was much more of “bonus” for iOS users before carriers switched overwhelmingly to unlimited texting plans).
 
For the most part, switching between iMessage and regular SMS/MMS messages within the iOS messaging app on an iPhone is a relatively straightforward affair — iOS automatically recognizes when the person you are sending a text to is also using iOS and automatically routes it through the iMessage servers (iMessages show up blue in the Messages app). If the person on the receiving end of your text has a phone that doesn’t run iOS, it falls back to the standard SMS/MMS routine (SMS/MMS messages show up green in the Messages app).

 
However, the glitch comes into play when a user decides to ditch his or her iPhone and move to a competing platform (i.e. Android or Windows Phone). Many people have found that Apple doesn’t disassociate a user’s phone number from the iMessage server. That means that a person who decides to switch from say, an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S5 will no longer receive text messages from contacts with iOS devices – the iMessage server in effect “hijacks” the text messages and doesn’t hand them off via SMS/MMS.
 
The issue has been present since 2011 and has affected numerous people. Apple has offered up a number of resolutions over the years, but there has never been a permanent fix that solved all users’ problems regarding leaving the iOS ecosystem for a competing device.
 
But according to the folks at Re/code, Apple is working to resolve the issue altogether in a future update:
 
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. For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare.
 
Mac Rumors opines that Apple will permanently fix the glitch (along with an email attachment encryption bug) with an iOS 7.1.2 update, as the site has been tracking devices running the operating system.
 
Apple is also currently the subject of a lawsuit regarding the iMessage issue.

Sources: Re/code, Mac Rumors, Bloomberg



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Wow that is quite a bug
By tayb on 5/22/2014 12:48:07 PM , Rating: 5
I can't believe a bug of that scale went unpatched for 3 years. I have to even wonder whether it was a bug or if it was intentional.

Apple should be hit with anti-trust litigation for this whether it is truly a bug or not. Harming users if they leave your OS is absolutely anti-competitive. The size of market share shouldn't matter here if the actions are still anti-competitive. Plus Apple had a much larger share 3 years ago.




RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By retrospooty on 5/22/2014 12:56:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes it's been along time and a very irritating bug... We have had several users here run into the issue as they switched from iPhone to Android. The attitude from Apple was always lax as it was people that left them, so they really didn't give much of a crap. Glad its finally addressed.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Cheesew1z69 on 5/23/2014 9:54:42 AM , Rating: 2
You have the lg g2 right? Email me would ya, davis.albert@gmail.com


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/14, Rating: -1
RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By EasyC on 5/22/2014 1:04:03 PM , Rating: 4
Microsoft isn't required to turn its software into open source, which is what it sounds like you want.

If they choose to lock their product usability down to within their own realm, so be it. This is completely different. Text messages aren't a product of Apple, it's a service provided by a cell carrier. Apple has no right limiting the service of another provider just because they're all sour faced because someone chose to go with something better.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/2014 5:01:25 PM , Rating: 1
"Microsoft isn't required to turn its software into open source, which is what it sounds like you want.

If they choose to lock their product usability down to within their own realm, so be it. This is completely different. Text messages aren't a product of Apple, it's a service provided by a cell carrier. Apple has no right limiting the service of another provider just because they're all sour faced because someone chose to go with something better."


You're confused, this has nothing to do with source code, or open sourcs vs. closed source.

I'm talking about interoperability. Look at this iMessage as an example. iMessage is proprietary to the iOS platform. Imagine that you have an Android, but your friend has an iPhone. If your iPhone friend send you a proprietary Apple iMessage, you expect Apple to convert it to an open standard (MMS) that your non-Apple device can interact with right? Of course you do.

Now examine my argument for comparison. If I'm running a non-Microsoft OS for example, and you send me a proprietary Microsoft Word document that I can't open, I'm simply sh!t out of luck. You expected the proprietary iMessage to be translated into an open MMS so your non-Apple platform could read it. Is it so wrong for me to expect your proprietary Word document to be translated into an open standard so my non-Microsoft platform can read it?


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By someguy123 on 5/22/2014 5:46:44 PM , Rating: 2
Did you even read the article? Imessage automatically routes sms texts from non-iOS devices so that you can text devices that aren't on iOS.

The problem is when imessage still grabs in/out text messages from your cellphone number even if you have a device without iOS, causing a bug where you lose in/out messages from any iOS devices. It has nothing to do with apple not wanting to interoperability between devices; it's a bug that screws up users who've switched operating systems. Apple devices can take "normal" texts just fine.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Solandri on 5/23/2014 2:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
I had a similar problem with Google Hangouts when I first got my Nexus 5. With Android 4.4, Google made Hangouts the default SMS app. I didn't really have a problem with that - it's a decent enough SMS app. And after importing my previous texts, I could just continue sending SMS texts where I'd left off.

The problem came when I tried to send my first SMS text to a new contact. If Hangouts recognized the contact as someone who had a Google account (i.e. anyone in my contacts with a linked gmail account), it defaulted to sending the text as a Hangouts chat. And once you sent one Hangouts chat, all subsequent texts to that person defaulted to chat. I spent 15 minutes searching through the Hangouts options and couldn't find a way to send that first text as a SMS.

Eventually I figured out that if I picked "send SMS" from my contacts list, it would open up Hangouts with the text set to SMS instead of chat. Google fixed it in later versions (now you can tap to the left of the text field and pick SMS or Chat).


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By blzd on 5/23/2014 8:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
That was annoying. Luckily it no longer works that way since the last big Hangouts patch.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By AmbroseAthan on 5/22/2014 5:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
You are missing a key step here though, the first one. With iMessages Apple has taken something which is a standard (SMS) and asked you send it through their system instead, iMessages. So you are starting with the standard and then sending it through something proprietary.

So: SMS -> iMessages -> friends' iMessage (or SMS if they are not part of iMessage).

The problem is now that someone is not using iMessage, in that third step when they are sent a message, Apple is not converting back to SMS which is the standard. Instead, it assumes you are in their system, which obviously fails being the person is no longer a part of the system, and the message never reaches you.

Microsoft on the other hand, is not taking a standard and switching it into something proprietary. You are working in their format from the very beginning. Plus, multiple programs are able to open DOC files as an example, you don't have to use Office; even GMail has built in converters to view files directly with even further abilities in Google Docs. Or just use Open Office, etc.

Apple is directly stopping you from receiving your messages though. Microsoft is not impeding you from viewing or manipulating that DOC file.

Do you complain that your can't open PhotoShop files in MS Paint?


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/22/2014 1:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How's this Apple bug any different?


iMessage has an SMS/MMS fallback, so I don't think it's exactly the same thing. The iMessage server should automatically recognize that the phone on the receiving end is not an iPhone and fallback instead of sending it through as an iMessage.

The fact that it has gone on this long is what's so puzzling.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2014 1:21:48 PM , Rating: 3
Nothing puzzling about it, this is always how Apple rolls. I'm not surprised at all.

The Windows versions of their software are always crap/broken. Apple does not play well with others, never has.

I discovered something the other week on my work iPhone. If you record a video in portrait mode, and import it into Windows, it will be rotated 90 degrees for no reason. The only way to import a video from an iPhone into Windows, and have the orientation preserved, is shooting the video in landscape (having the phone horizontal).

And this is just something that's gone on for years, and everyone has to deal with. Why? There's no technical reason, Apple just decided to fu*k over Windows users with their horrible Quicktime nonsense or whatever.

OF COURSE this doesn't happen if you use an iPhone with OSX. Apple made sure that works just fine.

The bastards.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By xti on 5/22/2014 3:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
furthermore, you would think phone companies would be outraged. If someone wants to switch phones...maybe they take this bug frustration as an opportunity to go ahead and switch companies.

ATT is too busy adding bloat to samsung devices to care tho.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/14, Rating: 0
RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By retrospooty on 5/22/2014 5:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
Argon, I'm beginning to think that you don't like Microsoft.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By themaster08 on 5/23/2014 1:55:15 AM , Rating: 2
Why do people waste their time replying to that idiot? He is completely irrational and hate filled, with a complete lack of understanding. He clearly has serious mental health issues.

He needs to be banned.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Reclaimer77 on 5/23/2014 9:10:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why do people waste their time replying to that idiot?


I'm certainly not. Nothing worth replying to, it wasn't even remotely on topic.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By robinthakur on 5/23/2014 1:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He is completely irrational and chate filled, with a complete lack of understanding. He clearly has serious mental health issues.


Whilst I'm not defending him, that describes 90% of the users that post here regularly, if we banned everybody like that, imagine the utopia we could create!


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/2014 5:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
"iMessage has an SMS/MMS fallback, so I don't think it's exactly the same thing."

This is precisely my point. iMessage is proprietary to Apple, and people with non-Apple devices expect and demand the ability to convert these proprietary iMessages into an open standard like MMS, to allow interaction with non-Apple platforms.

There is no such capability in the Microsoft ecosystem however. Got a proprietary NTFS formatted thumb drive on a non-Microsoft PC? Sucks for you. Got a proprietary Excel spreadsheet on a non-Microsoft PC? Sucks for you.

To make matters worse, Microsoft purposefully obfuscates their standards to make reverse engineering difficult, so projects like LibreOffice have no hope of ever being on-par 100% with document compatibility. Projects have no hope of ever being 100% on par with Active Directory compatibility. And so forth.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Alexstarfire on 5/23/2014 12:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
After reading several of your posts on here I've only got one question. Do you want everyone to use standard formats/protocols/etc? If yes, then I can understand the hate. If not, I have no idea what you've got against Microsoft in this regard.

If you make an app for iOs, Android, or any other platform for that matter, and let's make it even simpler by saying it's notepad type application, but you make up your own document format to use; are you suggesting that you should then have to make that app for every platform just to be compatible? Furthermore, let's say you patented/copyrighted/trademarked this new format so that others can not legally reverse-engineer it to be compatible. I can say that this argument is slightly different in what you are arguing in that you do not own/make any of those platforms, but I feel that is not relevant to the underlying argument. The creator of a proprietary format should not be obligated to let others use what they have created nor should they be obligated to create a program on other platforms.

Now, what should not be allowed is for a proprietary format to interfere with the operation of anything else. A good example is this bug in iMessage. By switching companies they are no longer allowed to get a standard text message from iOS, or at least iMessage specific, users. In this case Apple is taking away from a standard format/protocol instead of simply adding/incorporating it in iMessage. Intentional or not, this should not be allowed.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By dice1111 on 5/22/2014 1:11:16 PM , Rating: 3
Just because company A did something unethical, does that mean company B should as well? Maybe Company C, or D, or E?

Bah, let just throw ethics out the window, all it does is get in the way of us not caring about our communities...


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2014 1:14:39 PM , Rating: 1
Uhhh no, your entire post is false.

This isn't an closed vs open source debate. Nobody is against Apple for using proprietary code, that's NOT the issue.

Nothing you listed represents "anti-competitive" behavior from Microsoft whatsoever.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/2014 4:53:24 PM , Rating: 1
"Uhhh no, your entire post is false.

This isn't an closed vs open source debate. Nobody is against Apple for using proprietary code, that's NOT the issue.

Nothing you listed represents "anti-competitive" behavior from Microsoft whatsoever."


Wrong, you're confused. I didn't say a word about source code, or open source vs. closed source. That isn't at all what I'm talking about. I have no beef whatsoever with closed-source products.

I'm talking about protocols, interfaces, API's, and file formats. Multi-vendor computing only works when open standards are adhered to. Heck, the entire internet only works because the interoperability standards are all open and free for anyone to implement. HTTP, FTP, IRC, SMTP, WWW, TCP/IP and all the rest. All free and open standards.

Microsoft purposely avoids open industry standards, and instead crafts their own purposefully obfuscated broken and made proprietary to make it as painful as possible to leave their ecosystem, or to interact with it using non-Microsoft software. That's completely anti-competitive.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By ritualm on 5/23/2014 4:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wrong, you're confused. I didn't say a word about source code, or open source vs. closed source. That isn't at all what I'm talking about. I have no beef whatsoever with closed-source products.

I'm talking about protocols, interfaces, API's, and file formats. Multi-vendor computing only works when open standards are adhered to. Heck, the entire internet only works because the interoperability standards are all open and free for anyone to implement. HTTP, FTP, IRC, SMTP, WWW, TCP/IP and all the rest. All free and open standards.

Microsoft purposely avoids open industry standards, and instead crafts their own purposefully obfuscated broken and made proprietary to make it as painful as possible to leave their ecosystem, or to interact with it using non-Microsoft software. That's completely anti-competitive.

You have single-handedly described Apple in a nutshell, congrats.

Epic fail.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By KentState on 5/22/2014 1:19:07 PM , Rating: 4
MS does nothing to prevent you from using a competitor product to it's fullest capability. If I stop using Exchange and Outlook, I can still receive email from someone if I'm on the Gmail platform even if they are sending from Exchange.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By tayb on 5/22/2014 1:39:44 PM , Rating: 2
You are mixing proprietary and anti-competitive. A closed ecosystem is not anti-competitive. Harming users who attempt to leave that ecosystem is.

What Apple has done would be akin to Microsoft not delivering emails if you switched from Exchange to something else. That would be harming Exchange competitors.

What Apple has done here, whether intentionally or not, is anti-competitive.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Myrandex on 5/22/2014 3:16:07 PM , Rating: 1
Wow...apparently you have never heard of OpenOffice or LibreOffice (plus many others) that handle Office Formats.

Or the large numbers of text editors that handle notepad.

Or the various software products that interface with Exchange via ActiveSync (iOS, Android, WebOS, Blackberry).

Or the Linux distributions that can ran NTFS (and write NTFS as well, but many don't do this by default).

And Microsoft generally does not write the drivers for the operating system, usually it is hardware vendors that write them. And guess what, Linux drivers are proprietary to Linux operating systems (hell I have seen some for a specific flavor of Linux, such as a driver only for Red Hat so cannot be used on SuSE or others, but no don't give that information either).

You fail to point out this information just to sway people to your perplexed point of view.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Argon18 on 5/22/2014 4:40:58 PM , Rating: 1
"You fail to point out this information just to sway people to your perplexed point of view. "

You're confused about the difference between a vendor's offerings, and community derived reverse-engineered.

None of the products on your list are 100% compatible with Microsofts closed proprietary formats and protocols. All of them are reverse-engineered by the community to fill the anti-competitive gaps left by the con artists in Redmond.


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By Reclaimer77 on 5/22/2014 3:10:14 PM , Rating: 3
Of course it's intentional.

What is their motto? "Just works".

So to the average person, text messages which worked perfectly fine on the iPhone, now don't "just work" on their Android device.

Who do you think they're going to blame? Bingo, their Android phone.

Coincidence? I think not. Apple is such a scumbag company, but I didn't even think they would stoop THIS low.


By inperfectdarkness on 5/23/2014 5:50:26 AM , Rating: 2
You have to question whether or not it was intentional? This is Apple! The same company who files lawsuits which claim that Apple holds patents on rounded corners and all tablet-like devices. The same company who files for baseless preliminary injunctions--just to try and mortally wound its competition. The same company whose iOS easily reads Windows format storage but will NOT write to it (natively)--because that would be another "escape clause" for people who were fed-up and wanted to jump ship.

And you have to question if it's intentional? Do you also believe that Bernie Madoff was simply the victim of circumstance?


RE: Wow that is quite a bug
By robinthakur on 5/23/2014 1:37:52 PM , Rating: 2
This happened to my brother when he bought an Moto G. Whilst he was oblivious, I found it so annoying in the end I gave him my old iPhone 5S to sort the problem. It doesn't so much harm the user as pee off they entire friend-base, though you could argue that they were indirectly being harmed by being so unpopular :)


I am confused
By siconik on 5/22/2014 11:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
The so-called "bug" seems to be triggered by people who have their contacts entered as "iphone" never bothering to update the entry when the addressee switches to a different device and then wondering why their texts don't get through. Apple doesn't "intercept" anything, it's the sender device that has destination device set as iphone attempting to deliver texts as iMessage. All one has to do to fix this is to change the contact from "iphone" to anything else, really. The complaints are akin to your buddy switching from AIm to yahoo instant messenger, and you throwing a fit that you can no longer communicate and demanding AOL "convert" and "deliver" your messages anyway.




“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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