iMessage hijack fix in works but Android switchers still suffering

Apple is working on a fix to release former iPhone users from having their phone numbers held hostage by iMessage when they jump platform, though there's no estimate on when it could be available. The issue, observed by an increasing number of smartphone users as they switch between iPhone and other smartphones running Android or Windows Phone, for example, is that there is no easy way to de-register a cellphone number from iMessage once it has been registered.

For the user themselves, their messages will go out from the same number but by a regular SMS text message from their new device. When recipients still using an iPhone reply, however, the Messages app will recognize the number as being associated with iMessage, and as such send the reply through Apple's IM service rather than as an SMS.

The result is effectively a lost message, with Messages reporting it sent and delivered, but nothing showing up on the former iPhone user's new handset.

It's not a new problem, though it's one which has been increasingly noticeable as the smartphone segment gets more competitive. Former Lifehacker editor Adam Pash contacted Apple Support, and was told that as well as it being an issue "a lot of people" have encountered, the company's engineers are trying to address it.

"The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it," Pash reports. "There are no reliable solutions right now."

Apple's proposed fixes for the moment include trying to deregister the number from an iTunes account, which works for some but not for all, and telling every contact who has your number to delete it from their address book and re-add it in.

SOURCE Adam Pash