Apple sued for 2nd time over iMessage failure to deliver texts to Android phones

“Plaintiffs Adam Backhaut and Bouakhay Joy Backhaut of Macomb County, Michigan and Kenneth Morris of Riverside County, California have launched a Class Action against Apple in San Jose,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “The case is about Apple’s iMessage not working properly with Android smartphones. This latest Class Action lawsuit was filed yesterday – just one day after Californian Adrienne Moore filed her Class Action against Apple over the very same issue.”

“Plaintiff Adam Backhaut purchased an iPhone 5 in December 2012 at a Best Buy store in Michigan. At the time of purchase, a Best Buy employee set up his iPhone 5, including iMessage. Mr. Backhaut used the iPhone 5 for approximately one year,” Purcher reports. “Plaintiff Joy Backhaut purchased an iPhone 5 at the same time and place as her husband and a Best Buy employee also set up her iPhone 5, including iMessage.”

“In December 2013, Plaintiff Adam Backhaut purchased an “‘HTC One’ for approximately $250.00, which runs an Android operating system, and switched the number previously associated with his iPhone 5 to his new phone,” Purcher reports. “Following Mr. Backhaut’s switch to an Android based phone, Mrs. Backhaut continued to text her husband as she had previously used the Messages app on her iPhone. When Mrs. Backhaut texted her husband, her iPhone indicated that the texts she was sending were “delivered.” In fact, Mr. Backhaut never received these messages. The messages continued to be intercepted by Apple’s iMessage system, despite the fact that the Plaintiff was no longer an iPhone user.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Solution: Don’t downgrade from an iPhone to an inferior iPhone knockoff.

In the immortal words of Ben Stern, “I told you not to be stupid, you moron.”

Related article:
Apple sued over vanishing texts to Android phones – May 17, 2014

64 Comments

  1. PA asks the question whether you think that this is coincidental that 2 class action lawsuits were filed within a 24 hour period or if it’s an android oem (ahem samsung) behind this. I’ll take a guess and say that i think it’s those SAMSUNG ASS HOLES IHMO

  2. One doesn’t send or use iMessage with anyone who does not have an iPhone, d’uh. What’s the mystery here? When one leaves the Apple eco-system, one has to deal with the junkyards they find themselves in.

    1. If you send a text from an iPhone to a non-iPhone it doesn’t use the iMessage system. That’s the issue.
      Quoted from the article. “The messages continued to be intercepted by Apple’s iMessage system, despite the fact that the Plaintiff was no longer an iPhone user”

      BTW. I think it’s an assinine suit also. The ineptness of the user doesn’t justify frivolous lawsuits.

    1. No, that’s the whole point. The way it works is that when you turn on iMessage and send messages, they first ping Apple’s server to see if the recipient can receive an iMessage, if so, it does that. If not, it sends an SMS if your device has the capability.

      Likewise, when someone sends a message and you both have iMessage turn on, you receive an iMessage. When iMessages are sent and received, your carrier is 100% out of the loop.

      Apple knows who is capable of receiving an iMessage because when you turn iMessage on, you’re registering your number with Apple’s server. If Apple has your number in their database as being iMessage capable, it will send that message and not an SMS until you turn iMessage off.

      Apple has no way of knowing any of the various conditions that a person may want to receive an SMS instead of an iMessage if they’ve never deactivated iMessage. For example, if your iPhone falls to the bottom of the ocean, there’s no way for Apple to know that you didn’t just turn off your iPhone, and when you get a new phone, there’s no way for Apple to know that you’ve done so.

      For everyone else sending SMS messages, those still go through the carrier, so you’d receive them on the new phone (regardless of manufacturer). For those sending from iMessage, since Apple still doesn’t know not to send you an iMessage you won’t get your message unless you have a new iPhone and have turned on iMessage on that new iPhone.

      The answer of course is to turn off iMessage on all of your devices in order to have Apple know not to send you an iMessage at your registered number.

      The problem occurs when you don’t know this, or when you don’t have the ability to do this (iPhone stolen, bottom of the ocean, broken, etc…).

      When this occurs, the only current solution is to call Apple Support. Unfortunately, that requires paying a fee if your device isn’t covered.

      Here’s what Apple should do:

      Allow users to log into a website and turn on or turn off iMessage for their devices. This could be the iCloud.com website and they could have a new icon for iMessage allowing you to turn on/off iMessage as well as to allow iMessage access via the web. This would have the added benefit that if you lost your iPhone you could still get your iMessages from any web capable device in the world.

      Until Apple does this, while this doesn’t seem lawsuit-worthy to me, it is something to be aware of as a optional user of iMessage.

      1. Yet still, the scenario is even smaller than you describe. This scenario can only be a problem if you replacement phone is an android device. If you activate your old phone (for the phone that was dumped into the ocean) onto a new iPhone, apple is smart enough to know that the new iPhone is your new phone and that is the phone now associated with you iMessage account. If you then go into iMessage and deactivate iMessage on that new iPhone you can port your number to a new android phone and iMessage will de-register your phone number from the iMessage directory.

        Most carriers should be able to this with a loaner iPhone as a courtesy when you buy your new phone.

        I have done it for others myself, to de-register the phone number.

        1. I think you’re missing the point that being able to log into iCloud.com to turn off iMessage is somewhat of a no-brainer solution, both in terms of making it easier for the user as well as reduced support costs for Apple (along with not pissing people off, even if they are idiots).

          Sure, if my iPhone gets lost, stolen, damaged or otherwise seizes to function while on a trip, I’d reach into my backpack, grab my backup iPhone and be slowed down only to the point of either swapping the SIM or calling for activation. Great, I’m not exactly worried about this.

          However, for anyone traveling where they don’t have access to a loaner iPhone or even the ability to purchase an iPhone, they could end up being screwed simply because Apple didn’t build this functionality into iCloud.com.

          As I mentioned earlier, they’re even missing an opportunity to have iMessage itself be iCloud accessible. Forget your iPhone at home, no problem… check your SMS messages anywhere in the world with a web browser.

    1. Exactly. I really doubt it would make it to class action anyway.

      Just turn off iMessage and then the text will go through just fine. I had a friend who said she wasn’t getting messages from her iPhone friends and as soon as I told them to turn on SMS they got them just fine. Maybe they should read the part were iMessage only works on Apple devices.

      1. I’m sure apple will ask for a preliminary judgement, the judge will look at the last case, and warn the plaintiff they will find in favor of apple unless the plaintiff can show new evidence to change the finding in this case and that they will proceed anyways because they are incapable of logical thought.

  3. I’m not your typical user, I drive a variety of smartphones (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone) as part of my need to support a variety of platforms in my business. It’s a pain in the ass to unlink your mobile number from iMessage, but it’s not something that cannot be done. Apple even provides a KB with instructions on how to do so (a link at the bottom of this page http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5538). While not overtly obvious that this can be done, a little searching will turn up this article in 5 minutes. I guess it’s easier to launch a lawsuit than it is to spend the 5 minutes and figure out how to turn this functionality off.

  4. The lawyer, William Audet, was previously trying to get another class action against Apple for some idiocy about iPhones ‘leaking’ personal information. (case 11-md-02250)

    The case was of course later dismissed. I guess the lawyer, who likes to title himself as a ‘Super Lawyer’ on his webpage, wasn’t really happy with that outcome.

          1. Troubleshooting, I think it’s because I had ‘stealth’ mode on, which kills pings back and forth back to the router.

            As for Stinko biloba: One of my favorite trees! Ancient. Except, you don’t want a female of the species in your yard. They grow an inch diameter yellow/orange fruit that ripens, then drops of the tree in a little pile of mush that… Well, it depends on the year, but the mush stinks like either:
            A) Barf
            or
            B) Dog dump

            Apparently, Ginko evolved way before the development of bees. The pollenater creatures were flies. Therefore, stinking like rotting stuff attracted the flies who would fly around and pollenate between the male and female Ginkos. But why do the fruit stink like rot? The seed inside is about 1/2 inch wide, teardrop shaped, not of interest to any fly. Maybe the flies ate the rot stuff and the seed could roll around in the wind. They’re very light seeds despite the size. Speculation.

            Anyway, I call Ginko biloba the Barf Berry Tree.

  5. This is just a headline attention grabber. Lawsuits cost money, follow the money. I’m sure Audet knows by now which deep pocket to get his money from.

  6. Not only is this Shark in a Brooks Bros. suit out to suck some cash from Apple’s hoard, he wants to steal 50% of the first Shark’s cash cow by forcing the two lawsuits into one.

    Ripping off Apple and one of his own shark buddies too.

    I hope they both have to pay Apple when they lose.

  7. ““The case is about Apple’s iMessage not working properly with Android smartphones.”

    iMessage works only between APPLE devices you morons. You can’t use iMessage to send a message to an HTC phone. The messages weren’t “intercepted” by iMessage. The plaintiff’s moron wife SPECIFIED iMessage when she sent them. Apple is not responsible for making its proprietary applications work on competitor’s phones. I hope these two aren’t planning to reproduce. They could set the evolutionary process back by eons.

    1. Actually the messages are intercepted by iMessage. That’s how it works. See my long-winded comment above. The wife didn’t specify to send via iMessage, she just sent a message. Her phone pings Apple’s server and since his number was registered as being iMessage capable, that’s what was being sent even though he was incapable of receiving it.

      While not being lawsuit worthy, it is an issue in the way iMessage works that does end up affected many people. Apple could change things by allowing web access (instead of the actual device) to turn off iMessage (again see my earlier comment). Additionally, Apple could deactivate iMessage on devices that haven’t logged in for a period of time.

      1. Apple’s iMessage is working exactly as designed. It’s the customer’s fault that his phone number is still listed at Apple as being an iPhone. How is Apple supposed to know that he took his SIM card out of one phone and stuck it another phone?

        1. “Apple’s iMessage is working exactly as designed.”

          Yes, and that’s the problem… the design of the system.

          “How is Apple supposed to know that he took his SIM card out of one phone and stuck it another phone?”

          Again, read what I wrote. I mentioned previously how the system works and what Apple needs to do to make this a non-issue. Apple is supposed to know to let go of his number from iMessage by having the user turn off iMessage. The problem is that it’s not always possible (iPhone gets lost, damaged, stops working).

          The fact remains the way the system is designed to work, a user could be stuck having lost messages unless they pay Apple a fee. Imagine this scenario…

          You’re in a plane/train/car crash and your iPhone is destroyed or it just fails on its own. It’s no longer under warranty and you don’t qualify for free support. You decide not to get an iPhone or perhaps you’re in another country where you can’t get another iPhone registered with your number. The only solution to this is to pay for an Apple Support phone call.

          This all could be remedied by Apple offering iMessage off/on capability on iCloud.com.

          Watch… they will do this.

            1. Do you like being able to send messages to people without iPhones or people with iPhones who have iMessage turned off? Where exactly do you think I’m advocating using SMS over iMessage? I use iMessage whenever I can, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Apple should bring iMessage activation services to iCloud.com.

          1. Just reset your Apple ID password. That disconnects all devices until you reconnect each one.

            No need to call Apple, pay for anything, and can be done from any web browser!

        2. Both Zeke and kevicosuave are correct. To solve the general case of this problem, kevicosuave offers a good solution.

          However, in this particular case, the plaintiff failed to take the proper steps prior to switching his mobile phone number. His lawyer is trying to avoid the legal issue that iMessage is optional by stressing that a Best Buy employee set up his iPhone and, later, his Android HTC One. I don’t believe that this ploy will work – ignorance is no excuse. That is beside the fact that Best Buy employees are not Apple employees.

          I don’t have an iPhone and I don’t use iMessage. The service sounded like a reasonable idea when it was first offered because many people had a plan with a finite number of texts and had to pay an exorbitant fee for additional texts (exorbitant considering the amount of data transferred). Via the iPhone, Apple helped to break the stranglehold that the cell companies enforced on “value-added” services like SMS, MMS, etc. Everyone in the U.S. should appreciate Apple’s efforts on their behalf, no matter what brand of “smartphone” they are using.

          As I stated previously, I do not have an iPhone or use iMessage. Given the proliferation of unlimited SMS cell phone plans the cost issue is not important to most people, so it is unclear to me whether or not iMessage still offers advantages to iPhone users. Does it offer improved functionality over standard SMS?

          1. Thanks, yes, I want to make it really clear that this lawsuit is bogus even if I feel Apple should (and probably will) make disabling (and maybe even accessing) iMessages via iCloud possible.

            As far as the advantage to iMessage, yes, encryption is there, yawn… I’m not exactly texting things that NSA would care about, and the NSA can still metadata iMessage.

            Other than encryption, the only real advantage of iMessage is that it ever existed in the first place, as you point out, everyone already benefited from the change in SMS pricing policy. Now, unless everyone you know has an iPhone, you’ll probably still need SMS so you’re not really missing anything.

  8. Apple iMessage have been communicating with Windows & Android phones successfully. Take both phones into Apple Genius Bar at stores & they will make them talk to each other. Problem is with Google.

    1. iMessages are Apple-only. You can only send an iMessage to another Apple device that has been registered and has iMessage turn on.

      You can send an SMS message (using the same app) to anyone capable of receiving an SMS message. This has nothing to do with Google, nor is there anything Google can do about this.

  9. Idiot + Greed = Lawsuit. Somebody must pay because these people are stupid, and the answer is “all of the rest of us”.

    Welcome to what America has become. The terrorists don’t need to work so hard: we are destroying ourselves quite well enough, thank you.

  10. That’s just stupid as hell. They don’t put iMessage on junk phones. Why should they be concerned with other phones? I don’t see people bitching about not having iMessage on their $20 go phone. Android phones are no different than a garbage $20 go phone, as far as anyone is concerned. Why would apple be obligated to put their integrated software functionality on a third party system? That’s like telling Mercedes-Benz they need to carry parts and provide service for Ford Focus and cheap motorcycles.

      1. So if for example, you’re in another country and someone steals your iPhone or you’re in an accident and your iPhone is lost/damaged, then no messages for you!!! That’s nice.

        Again, not lawsuit worthy, but Apple should enable web access to turning off iMessage so that this simply isn’t an issue for anyone.

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