Apple Admits iMessage Problems, Fixes Server Glitch And Promises iOS Update

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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Apple has fixed a server glitch preventing former iMessage users from getting SMS on their new handsets, but says a software update is in the works too

Apple has fixed a server glitch which caused a number of former iPhone owners to experience problems receiving SMS messages when they switched to a non-iOS smartphone, but admits a software update will be needed to remedy all issues.

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 fix

iMessage 2Apple has the ability to remove users from its database, but the server bug had hampered the company’s support from applying their standard methods for dealing with such issues. It said users can avoid problems by turning off iMessage and unchecking any phone numbers from iPhone users, however they must do this before they switch platforms, which is hardly ideal.

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.

Speaking to Re/Code, Apple did not comment on the ongoing litigation but admitted to the problems and promised a fix was on the way.

“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 the website. “For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare.”

iMessage launched with iOS 5 in September 2011, and along with cross-platform apps such as WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), has contributed to a rise in the popularity of over-the-top messaging services and the fall in the number of text messages sent by UK mobile users.

However iMessage users have suffered from a number of outages, most notably last October when iOS 7.0.2 caused significant disruption.

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