Apple Lets Former iPhone Users Unregister From iMessage

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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New de-registration tool should solve ex-iPhone owners message woes

Apple has made a de-registration tool available to former iPhone owners who have struggled to receive messages on their new handset because their phone number was still associated with the iMessage service, which allows iPhone users to send free messages to each other.

iMessage works by rerouting text messages over its own servers rather than an operator’s network, bypassing SMS costs and providing additional features such as the ability to see when a recipient is typing or reading a message.

However this relies on Apple having up to date records on which phone numbers are using iPhones, meaning that if a user switches to a different operating system, they might not be able to receive their messages if Apple still lists their number as one associated with iMessage.

iMessage tool

iMessage 2The new tool requires users to input their phone number so they can receive a confirmation code which, when entered back on the webpage, removes the number from Apple’s records and ensures any text messages sent from an iPhone should make their way to the user’s device.

This will be welcomed by former Apple users, but it is a mystery as to why it has taken so long for a tool to be introduced, given that iMessage was included in iOS 5, released in 2011.

One former Apple user in the US had become so frustrated by the issue since she replaced her iPhone with a Samsung Galaxy S5, that she launched a class-action lawsuit, claiming that she was being “penalised” for adopting Android and unable to receive the full benefits of her phone contract.

Apple has long had the ability to remove users from its database but blamed the ongoing problem on a “server issue” and promised that the problem would be rectified in a future software update.

Until then, it recommended that anyone preparing to leave iOS should turn off iMessage before they dispense with their iPhone – hardly an ideal solution if the smartphone is no longer in their possession.

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