The last week or so for Apple has been quite interesting, as an iMessage problem that has been around for years is just now getting around to Apple, and the company still doesn’t really have a solid fix for it.
A major issue with Apple’s iMessage service is that many users have problems with their own phone number correctly transferring to a non-iPhone smartphone. When they switch to Android — let’s say — the user’s phone number is still registered with iMessage, so any iPhone user who texts that user will get a “Delivered” message, but the recipient will never get the text, because their phone number isn’t completely transferred over to their Android device.
There are solutions to make the transition much smoother if you’re switching over to Android from an iPhone, but don’t use Apple’s official fixes, because they’re idiotic.
It turns out that Apple employees are giving users some pretty awful advice when it comes to fixing this issue.
Apple Isn’t So Genius
Business Insider received a ton of emails from past iPhone users discussing their experience with Apple support and the Genius Bar at various retail locations. Some of the “solutions” that Apple employees provided were quite comical, but idiotic overall.
One former iPhone users says that Apple suggested having every one of his contacts delete him from their contact list and re-add him. However, even when he tried this solution out with a few friends, it still didn’t fix it.
Another user reports that the same advice was given to him, although if that didn’t work, Apple recommended he just return his Samsung device and go back to using an iPhone.
Apple even went as far as blaming the carrier at one point, when a user said that the problem was apparently Verizon’s fault, but after a Verizon representative texted the user from his personal iPhone, he told Apple that the user’s phone number was being identified as an iPhone. Therefore, the blame would fall back into Apple’s hands. The company’s solution at this point? Try the above solutions or get a new phone number.
In the end, it turns out Apple employees don’t really know how to fix this problem that’s been around for years, and that itself is a problem. Of course, this whole thing could just be Apple’s way of getting users to not switch away from iPhone, but there’s really no freedom in that, and it’s going as far as taking customers’ phone numbers hostage, essentially.
How to Actually Fix the Problem
While Apple employees are clueless about how to fix one of its own problems, the internet has come to the rescue over the past couple of days and offered a solution that seems to be working for a lot of iPhone switchers, and even Apple’s website lists the same fix that’s been working for a lot of users.
Former editor-in-chief of Lifehacker Adam Pash recently wrote about his troubles when switching from an iPhone to and Android device, saying that his phone number was essentially trapped in iMessage. Even when he officially made the switch, his phone number was still associated with iMessage, and any time someone with an iPhone texted him, they’d get a “Delivered” receipt in iMessage, but he would receive nothing.
However, since Pash spoke out about his transition troubles, many users have come forward with fixes of their own that have worked when switching away from iPhone, and this issue has been around for years, so there are numerous threads on Apple’s support forums talking about this issue, and it turns out Apple has its own support page for this issue.
The issue lies within iMessage and how your phone number is registered with iMessage when you get an iPhone. When you turn iMessage on for the first time, iMessage registers your cellular telephone number with Apple, so if you ever switch to a non-Apple smartphone, you have to deregister your phone number before you can use it elsewhere.
It sounds simple and straightforward, but many users don’t realize you have to do this, and they end up having these issues when they switch to Android.
All you have to do is open up the Settings app, tap on Messages and turn iMessage off. This will deregister your phone number with iMessage and make it a free agent to be used on another smartphone without a problem.
Ideally, though, you need to deregister your phone number with iMessage before you switch to Android or another device. However, we’re guessing that most users reading this article have already switched over to Android and have experienced problems with receiving text messages. If that’s case, and if you still have your old iPhone around, there’s still hope.
We’re not sure if this solution will work, as we haven’t tested it ourselves, but we don’t see why it shouldn’t work. Just grab a hold of your old iPhone and make sure it’s still associated with your Apple ID. Then make sure that iMessage is on; since your phone number is still registered with iMessage, you’ll still receive text messages from other iPhone users on your old iPhone if you’re connected to WiFi, even if that iPhone isn’t activated with a cellular plan anymore.
Then, go ahead and turn off iMessage by opening up the Settings app, tapping on Messages and turning iMessage off. If you have multiple iOS devices, make sure to turn iMessage off on those as well. Then, once your phone number is deregistered successfully, you can reactivate iMessage on your other iOS devices (except for your old iPhone, obviously).
If you no longer have your old iPhone (and therefore can’t turn off iMessage), you’re mostly out of luck and will need to contact Apple Support, but you’ll most likely get the same response that all of these other users received; Apple knows about the issue, but the engineering and support team is apparently stumped on how to fix it.