Will Verduzco · May 20, 2014 at 05:30 pm

Apple Holding iOS Users Hostage with iMessage Flaw

We all have our own unique tastes. We favor certain styles of music, prefer certain foods, and enjoy making decisions about what products to buy. Because of this, something that we as consumers unanimously value is the freedom of choice. In the world of mobile devices, this freedom can be manifest in several ways: choice of installed applications, choice of wallpaper, choice of storage capacity, and above all, choice of device. Actually, we can go ahead and scratch that last one for iOS users looking to switch to Android.

Not too long ago, former Lifehacker Editor-in-Chief Adam Pash decided to make the jump from iOS to Android. Soon after the switch, he noticed that he wasn’t receiving text messages from his iPhone-toting contacts. Pash then determined that this was because his phone number was still associated with Apple’s iMessage system, even though he was no longer connected to the service. In order to try and restore text messaging, Adam then tried various proposed fixes such as removing the iDevice from his support profile, logging out of iMessage on all devices, and turning off iMessage in the iPhone’s Settings app. All of this was of course to no avail.

After attempting the above, Adam then contacted Apple support. This was met with resistance rather quickly, thanks to a $20 paywall demanded by Apple for non-customer support. But after a difficult workaround, Pash was able to get Apple to dissociate his phone number from his Apple ID. But even after all of this, text messages were still stuck in iMessage purgatory.

Looking around the Web, it turns out that Adam Pash is far from the only user suffering from such an issue after switching to a non-iOS device. In fact, there are so many users experiencing similar problems after switching to Android from iOS that a class-action lawsuit has been launched against Apple for holding users’ phones hostage on iOS.

Needless to say, this is technically a software glitch on Apple’s end—but it’s a glitch that clearly benefits the Cupertino company by making it more difficult to switch to a competing platform. Moreover, non-tech savvy users will likely attribute such a flaw to the new device being “unable to receive texts,” rather than correctly blaming Apple’s iMessage. Because of this, we can’t imagine that a fix is too high up Apple’s resource hierarchy.

Apple, we understand that being relegated to a small sliver of the smartphone pie is painful–especially after helping define modern smartphone interaction with the original iPhone. However, locking users down to your platform through convenient software glitches is not the way–nor is excessive litigation, for that matter. Here’s an idea: Think Different, and get back to the same level of innovation that made your company great so many times in the past.

[Source: Adam Pash, Bloomberg, Business Insider (1,2), r/Android]


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