Apple is addressing the iMessage bug that has caused confusion and annoyance – not to mention prompted a lawsuit – for ex-iPhone users, launching a simple tool to deregister a number from the messaging service. The new support page, quietly added to Apple’s site, answers one of the biggest complaints those switching away from an iPhone often have about the process: that their cellphone number remains associated with the Cupertino firm’s SMS-bypassing system and so future texts don’t make it to their new handset, Android or otherwise.
While many are unaware of the issue, it’s caused untold frustration for plenty of people, especially since Apple’s previous instructions to remedy the problem only worked on some, not all, cases.
Previously, Apple recommended disabling iMessage on the iPhone itself, and in the process disassociating it from the user’s number. However, some found this did not fix things, while others no longer had their old phone, having traded it in, sold it, or gifted it when they upgraded.
The only solution then was to seek help from Apple’s support line, the team members of which will now presumably direct complaints to the new online tool.
Using it is straightforward: punch in the cellphone number you wish de-registered from iMessage, and then enter the six digit code that’s sent to it.
Although the tool is simple, the journey to its release has been anything but. Apple was sued back in May by one frustrated ex-iPhone user angry that she wasn’t receiving texts on her new Android phone.
Apple promised a server-side fix as a result, and has been offering free phone support to anybody affected, but the web-based self-help tool makes it a whole lot easier to manage.
If you do need to make an in-person appointment at an Apple Genius Bar, however, the company recently updated its iOS app to support online scheduling.