Apple sued over vanishing texts to Android phones

“A former iPhone user sued Apple Inc. claiming the company’s messaging system interfered with delivery of texts after she switched to an Android-based smartphone,” Joel Rosenblatt reports for Bloomberg. “Apple’s iMessage retains text messages sent from other users of Apple devices and won’t deliver them to her Samsung Electronics Co. phone running on Google Inc.’s Android operating system, Adrienne Moore said in the complaint filed yesterday in San Jose, California.”

“People who replace their Apple devices with non-Apple wireless phones and tablets are ‘penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts,’ according to the complaint,” Rosenblatt reports. “The text-messaging lawsuit, which seeks class-action status and undetermined damages, claims Apple failed to disclose that switching to a device other than one running on Apple’s iOS operating system would result in the interference. The suit is based on contractual interference and unfair competition laws.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: For the terminally obtuse, Apple’s iOS Messages webpage very clearly states:

iMessage lets you send messages back and forth with anyone on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac running Mountain Lion or later.

Nowhere does Apple state that their iMessages instant messenger service will work with inferior pretend iPhone knockoffs.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” and “David E.” for the heads up.]

53 Comments

  1. Oh come on MDN let’s be fair. Obviously if you are using an idevice sending iMessages should be a breeze as it is (mostly). However if (I won’t) switch my device to a non apple device, it should not interfere with phone number that is not provided by Apple not to mention iMessages change into SMS texting when I message is not available. Two different services. One should not interfere with the other in this manner especially when they are not even using apple anymore.

    1. To all the idiots downvoting you: a number that’s no longer associated with an iPhone is no different than a receiver’s iPhone is not reachable via cell data or wifi, and iMessage should NEVER claim message was delivered if it doesn’t receive a proper acknowledgement from the iPhone itself.

      I’ve had this happen several times to another iPhone friend. We compared message screens afterward: several iMessages I sent that claimed “Delivered” was not on hers.

      1. It’s a phone. Not some perfect techno god that always works perfectly.

        Repeat … It’s a phone.

        Ps the issue at hand is … Some one moves from a Race car to a VW bug and wonders where all the hp went. Some one should have told them beforehand.

        There is a plain fix available. All they have to do is use it. Or sue and try to make millions. Gee!!!

  2. Your take on this one is wrong MDN. This is a problem that has affected many people and has nothing to do with Android. Its iPhones overriding standard SMS and still trying to send iMessage to people who longer own an iPhone. Thats a pretty big flaw IMO. Not mention SMS going nowhere when iMessage takes over and doesn’t actually deliver to the message at all.

    Its not lawsuit worthy by any respect, but it is an issue that needs addressing by Apple

    1. Hmmm. Yes, iMessage is clearly for iOS devices and Macs, but sending to a public phone number vice an Apple ID should convert to SMS if the phone number is unregistered with Apple.

      I wonder if removing the Apple ID email address in the Contacts app would break the link that’s converting the phone number into an Apple ID and resulting in the message disappearing into an Apple server?

      1. Again, not lawsuit worthy, but, there’s a problem with the procedure.

        Currently, you need your iPhone to turn off iMessage on your iPhone. This won’t always be possible. Apple acknowledges that and their solution is to call Apple Support, but that requires either a fee or coverage for the device.

        All Apple really needs to do here is allow iMessage deactivation via a website, like iCloud.com. Then, anyone can do it, anytime, anywhere, no fee. They could even allow iMessage sending and receiving via iCloud.com.

        1. kevicosuave, you’re on the money with all you’ve said about iMessage in these various posts on this subject, and I agree that it would be great if iMessage deactivation could be performed by users at a secure website such as iCloud.com. However I have to point out that callers to AppleCare regarding iMessage deactivation are aways routed to Accounts Security advisors, are always granted an exemption regardless of warranty status, and are never required to pay a fee. Just sayin…

          1. I stand corrected. I’ve never called myself… heck I don’t think I’ve been out of warranty with Apple since the 80s.

            I just saw in one of the articles about this issue that someone did call and was refused support unless he paid or had a product under warranty so had his girlfriend call back and claim it was a problem with her iPhone (under warranty) not being able to send messages to him. It may be that he wasn’t clear when he called the first time that this was about iMessage deactivation.

        2. You don’t need to turn off iMessages via a website. That’s not controlled by you. . . It’s all dependent on how the sender has your phone number listed in his contact. If it’s listed as an iPhone, it will go as an iMessage. The sender needs to change his listing for her junky Android phone number to “Mobile” and the problem will go away.

          1. The fact that so many people here don’t seem to understand the problem just further illustrates how important it is for Apple to better resolve it.

            Your solution, while it would technically work, is entirely impractical for someone getting text messages from numerous people. How is the recipient even supposed to know who all has the person listed as an iPhone?

            1. How is it Apple’s problem to assist people to leave Apple’s ecosystem. It isn’t. They’ve done what is necessary. Published the means to de-register the iPhone’s erstwhile number when the expatriot is no longer using it.

            2. Maybe I’m missing something here but how does a sender’s iPhone ‘get’ information that the receiving end is another iPhone? If the iPhone does receive that info from Apple.com how does your solution prevent other people from automagically sending an iMessage to your new non-iPhone that happens to use the same number from your old registered iPhone for the first time?

            3. It doesn’t. Unless you receive an initial message FROM that iPhone. But when you originally enter that person in your contacts you are given the opportunity to specify what kind of phone they have. If you tell them an iPhone, then your iPhone or Apple device will use iMessage. If you don’t specify, it won’t.

            4. Ok, so someone chooses not to have an iPhone; fuck that traitor amiright? Well, not so fast. When an iMessage is sent, there are two people involved. When an iMessage is lost, there are two people involved, one is that Android asshole we hate so much, and the other one who is the current iPhone owner who sent the lost message.

              I’m obviously being facetious with my fanboy attitude there, but that’s to illustrate a point. While the lawsuits here are totally bogus, the fact remains that many people are confused about the iMessage deactivation requirement and are then affecting the iMessage experience for iPhone users.

              The whole point is that if you send a message, it goes through. If it doesn’t, it’s a bad experience. Apple can mitigate this issue significantly by allowing iMessage deactivation on iCloud.com.

              Mark my words, or iCal me or whatever, Apple is going to have some sort of iMessage deactivation that doesn’t require an iOS device or a call to Apple Support that needs to be routed somewhere else. It’s not like as if a half-day’s work from one of their web developers is going to set them back much.

            5. This is a phone level issue. Apple handles many devices in the database. . . But the iPhone has to know whether to route it to Apple or to the carrier. This is done by identifying the target phone you are going to send to in the CONTACTS as either an iPhone or some other type of phone. If it’s an iPhone, your iPhone will send the message via Apple and iMessage, routing it to your intended party’s iCloud messaging box. It’s received for ALL of his devices. A received signal is sent to your iPhone. Done. . . but your addressee has opted out of Apple’s ecosystem without telling you, or Apple. YOU have to tell YOUR phone he no longer has an iPhone. There’s no way for Apple or your iPhone to know this unless HE tells you.

              He CAN log on to his Apple account and dis-associate his phone number from his Apple account on-line, deactivate, if you will. Apple has that on the account and tells how to do it. It’s not hard. He could have done it from his iPhone before letting it go. . . Or on-line if he no longer has access to the iPhone. THEN, when you try to send an iMessage, regardless how the phone is set in Contacts, the message would come back as “undeliverable” and default to MMS.

            6. I’m responding here to your Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – 4:04 am comment.

              Let me repeat something I originally stated, “The fact that so many people here don’t seem to understand the problem just further illustrates how important it is for Apple to better resolve it.”

              You wrote:
              “He CAN log on to his Apple account and dis-associate his phone number from his Apple account on-line, deactivate, if you will. Apple has that on the account and tells how to do it. It’s not hard. He could have done it from his iPhone before letting it go. . . Or on-line if he no longer has access to the iPhone.”

              No… see, even you’ve gotten this wrong after replying to several comments where I’ve pointed this out.

              Currently, there is no online page to deactivate iMessage. If you had read any of the comments I’ve made here, that’s the one thing that I’m saying Apple should, and most likely will change. When you go to support online, you get this document:
              http://support.apple.com/kb/TS5185

              That document confirms that if you can’t access your iPhone, you have to call Apple Care, and besides that in of itself being an issue (both for Apple and the customer), there are reports of people calling Apple Care and being told they need coverage or to pay a fee for support to handle the issue.

              “But when you originally enter that person in your contacts you are given the opportunity to specify what kind of phone they have. If you tell them an iPhone, then your iPhone or Apple device will use iMessage. If you don’t specify, it won’t.”

              This is entirely wrong. Specifying a contact as an iPhone doesn’t mean the message will be sent as an iMessage. Try it; set up a contact as an iPhone number and send a text, if it’s not an iPhone with iMessage turned on, it sends it as an SMS.

              The key part there is that you can turn iMessage on and off. If you have an iPhone and turn iMessage on, Apple’s server knows that messages delivered to you should be via iMessage and not SMS. When an iPhone with iMessage turned on sends you a text, it will send via iMessage if Apple’s server recognizes your number as an iPhone with iMessage turned on, and send as an SMS if it doesn’t.

              What you put as the phone type has nothing to do with this which is a good thing because you could have an iPhone with iMessage turned off. Many people do.

              Also to repeat my earlier comments, the lawsuits are bogus, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not in Apple’s best interest to make some changes, the first of which would be to allow online-access to at least being able to deactivate iMessage. I think there are other things they could do like auto-deactivate if someone has been offline after a period of time, and allow full access to iMessage online at iCloud.com so anyone with a lost or damaged iPhone could still send and receive iMessages.

            7. If you don’t have the phone designated as an iPhone, the attempt to message is never sent to Apple’s servers. There is no need to send every message attempt there first. The iPhone handles the selection of where to send it based on what type of phone is set there. I HAVE changed the type and that setting does effect how the recipient gets the message. I just changed one last week in the middle of texting to a friend who had recently gotten an iPhone. First the texts went through ATT messaging. When I realized it, I went to my contacts, changed the phone designation from mobile to iPhone and returned to texting and the very next messages were sent and received via iMessage. Time? Twenty seconds.

            8. @Swordmaker, responding to Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – 1:40 pm ·

              “If you don’t have the phone designated as an iPhone, the attempt to message is never sent to Apple’s servers. There is no need to send every message attempt there first.”

              No, it needs to ping Apple’s server each time. If the iMessage activation status changes for a number, there’s no way to know unless it checks this before each message. If it can’t check, it will attempt to send send as an SMS. You can check this with an outbound firewall.

              “The iPhone handles the selection of where to send it based on what type of phone is set there.

              No, and in fact very few of my contacts have their number listed as an iPhone in my Contact app, because almost all them were entered before they had iPhones or before I knew they had an iPhone.

              Think about the logic of what you’re suggesting. If someone lists a contact as an iPhone, because the user has an iPhone, but that person has iMessage turned off, then things won’t work. Conversely if someone ignores the iPhone setting, then no iMessages would ever be sent.

              But don’t take my word for it, read the support documentation:
              http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3529

              Notice, it doesn’t say anything about listing the contact number as an iPhone. None of the support documents do:
              http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/phone/

              ” I just changed one last week in the middle of texting to a friend who had recently gotten an iPhone. First the texts went through ATT messaging. When I realized it, I went to my contacts, changed the phone designation from mobile to iPhone and returned to texting and the very next messages were sent and received via iMessage.”

              Your test was flawed. Go back now and change his phone type so anything other than iPhone. Watch, it will still send as iMessage as long as they have iMessage activated. Next, take a number that you know isn’t an iPhone, but make list it as one, watch, it won’t send as an iMessage.

              The whole point of iMessage is to be transparent to the user. You activate iMessage and that’s it. Imagine how unbelievably annoying it would be to have to properly set, and keep track of, each contact’s number setting (some of us have thousands of contacts).

  3. iMessage is created for iOS devices. So that you can send free messages to iOS users, not Android users. You switched to android what do you expect. Duh!

  4. Apple seems to be having a lot of this lately. Recent software updates have just gotten little niggeldy details wrong, like the disappearing “User” folder under OS 10.9.3 or the restoration of USB calendar syncing after going missing for a while and another one they subsequently fixed, so small I don’t even remember what was wrong. But my thought at the time was “Apple seems to be getting sloppy”. Maybe they aren’t up to their old standards of thoroughness, because we’re seeing lots of goof ups that shouldn’t be.

      1. You don’t get to decide what is minor to me, but I am glad you agree it is an issue. Software either works as intended or it doesn’t. My User folder is greyed out and one of my user accounts has disappeared after the update.

        Right now, the software doesn’t work as intended, this isn’t the first time and Apple seems to be getting sloppy. And I worked in the tech industry long enough to recognize a screw up when I see one. I doubt Apple is adopting the attitude of “that’s pretty good” for their software releases. Once you go down that path, you have to decide how close is close enough. It’s either right or not.

        1. It might be a major issue to you, because it affects you, but if you are one of only a handful of people with the issue, it’s not outrageous to call an issue ‘minor’.

          1. I was objecting to the condescension that a complaint was “a lot of noise about nothing”. I guess a handle like “coolfactor” carries a certain level of embedded arrogance and I should have discounted the comment accordingly.

          1. Read this:
            http://support.apple.com/kb/TS5434

            And then this:
            http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6251

            While iTunes 11.2.1 fixes the invisible Users folder issue, the bigger issue was that it made the Users folder world-writeable, which was a really, really big issue. It meant that anyone with iTunes 11.2 installed, upon reboot anyone with access (online or physical) to that machine had access to all user accounts on the machine (including the ability to delete them).

            It was a pretty big mistake, mitigated only by how quickly they responded to it.

  5. MDN, I’m usually with you, but the problem is sending a text message from an iPhone to a still-existing Apple ID (yet the phone number is no longer related).

    It does seem that Apple needs to rectify it. Why they are having a problem fixing it makes Me wonder how they created their database.

  6. I have this exact problem. iMessage was turned off. Same phone number into a Samsung phone. iPhone has a different provider and different number. All is turned off on that. Even text messages. Apple had to disassociate the phone and number in their system. Then iPhone users using iMessage has to manual send as a text. It is not automatic. I have iMessage turned off all my devices. Desktop, laptop, and iPad. I am still missing text, thanks Apple for flawed software

  7. And there’s an easy way to correct it: ask your friends to change your contact info in their iphones contact lists, your phone number should not be named “iPhone” anymore but mobile or anything else you dumb ass. There is no fault on Apple side it is your friends who do not update your contact info or you who didn’t inform them to do it after you switched.

    1. I am totally with you on this wojtylo.. But to digress a lil… What ever happened to picking up the phone and calling a person if they think a text did not go through??? Or, what about just calling a person to oversimplify 🙂 Next they will be suing Apple because FaceTime will not connect to their whatever inferior device 🙂

      1. I think the problem there is that it appears from the article that the sender’s iMessage shows that it was sent properly (e.g. received also on the other end) when the message was not actually received. So there would be no reason to call to confirm if a text message was received since iMessage says it did its job properly. 🙂

  8. This is the problem of Apple trying to allow users to receive text messages on non-mobile devices. Without iMessage you could get texts to your Mac or iPad.
    This still is not perfect and when I recently upgraded to an iP5, I stopped getting mobile texts to my Mac and iPad. Seems like all devices needed to be reconfigured to send and receive messages using the mobile number as well as the Apple accounts.
    Apple have achieved something that is not possible on other systems – access to text messaging on non-mobile devices. Very useful but still buggy in some situations. I still prefer that to no option at all.

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