More of I design feature I would have thought.
People ditching their iPhones until now faced a rather irritating problem: Apple's iMessage service assumes that all text messages to their phone numbers should use the company's over-the-top iMessage app. Thus, messages intended for an iPhone have failed to land when folks move to rival phones – as the SMSs disappeared into …
If you turn on - use iMessage instead of SMS - it should be obvious you need to turn it back off. "If you still own an iPhone, all you need to do is turn off iMessage." However, if you lost your iPhone and say used a spare dumb phone/Android the a few years ago the iMessages would fail and would be resent as SMS so they would arrive albeit maybe a few hours late. More recently though, they would not.
They've only just fixed this? They took their sweet time over that one.
A couple of years ago I ditched (well, gave to the missus) my iphone 4 for an android phone. Thankfully I had long ago turned iMessage off, on the grounds that it was shit. Back then, at least, it would spend about an hour trying to send a message as an iMessage before giving up and sending it as a text message. SMS is and should be basically instant. Maybe if you have limited SMSs on your contract/PAYG iMessage would be tempting, but considering how much a contract on an iphone is already, a huge bundle of SMSs is practically nothing on top. I bet it wouldn't be hard, if not already done, to forward any SMSs to your other apple devices as an iMessage, if that's what you want.
And yet despite all this, every now and then, I'm actually tempted by the iPhone 6. I went to look at one in an Apple store and it was very nice. They have finally made it rounded again, so it would no longer cut holes in all my trouser pockets. I can't see Steve Jobs letting them get away with a sticky out camera, though, that's far from perfect. Maybe the iPhone 6s ...
Agreed. When I heard the 6 was coming, I decided to see what it would be like to have one. So, I walked around for two hours a day with a toaster held to the side of my head to try it.
I came to the realization that no only did it look almost as stupid as using a tablet computer as a telephone (thing jumbo galaxy thing), but it was just plain uncomfortable.
I decided to stay with the phone which actually fits in my pocket.
I had been on an 4s and felt like needing an upgrade. When I saw the 6 was bigger than the 5s I was concerned.
I pulled the dimensions of the device and made wood samples in the shop. The "+" model was out the door immediately, but the regular model didn't bother me after walking around with it for a day.
I ended up with a 64GB version and while I quite fancy it now. I do truly hope that it doesn't get larger again.
I find iMessage confusing on iOS8: you can never quite tell when it has picked SMS or not - I have the impression that an iMessage sent without available bandwidth basically ends up sitting there now until it sees a data link.
But hey, I use Threema now. I know when it gets there, it doesn't steal my address book like WhatsApp does (it hashes it so give you matches) and it's safe, even between iOS and Android. Suits me better, to be honest.
FYI: this certainly hasn't been affecting everyone, Out of my clients (with lots of Apple kit, and lots of people who swap sims about) only one has ever had this problem. 5 minutes on the phone sorted it (and this was quite some time ago).
The website probably should have been there in the first place, granted, but whatever system they use to deal with it "automatically" seems to work in most all of the cases, and the customer support for fixing it when the website didn't exist seemed to be solid as well.
I've never had a problem with iMessage except from occasionally in shopping centers for some reason, but the handy "send as text message" option always does the trick.
I now have an iPhone 6 and it's a really nice jump up from the 4. Fast, slim, light, great battery, screen size and so on. I'm not worried about the sticky-out camera as I keep it in one of those leather flip cases that holds a couple of credit cards, and the leather's easily thick enough to protect it, as would any kind of bumper or skin be.
Incidentally, I think there is one massive advantage to having the lens stick out a bit like that .... when using the camera with the phone in its case, when the flash is on, you don't get that truly awful lens flare that I used to get on the 4, which made taking flash photos impossible without wresting it out of the case first, which is always a PITA.
If the problem is that one cannot receive texts after away from the fruity church, how does a process that involves sending a text help solve the problem for those who have moved on due to their iDevice breaking or such? Or is the text that Apple sends automatically sent outside of the iMessage system? (Genuine question, not trolling).
so a former user of apple has to tell apple they went elsewhere, and cupertino can keep stats of this? can you imagine coming back and they tell you that they give you a discount (ha ha) because you're a long lost soul?
Since when is this a good use of personal data? And since when did this become acceptable.
Apple got more creepy when they automatically sent an email to a long-dead email address* when I had to buy something in store based on recognising a credit card number and I'd last bought something off them over 5 years ago. Clever, yes. creepy? Yes as well
* the email address was on the receipt.
When you buy stuff in their retail store they ask for an email address for a receipt. It's not hard to look up this email address and see if you have an Apple account. If you don't they still associate the two pieces of info ready for when you do sign up for an account.
It's not "creepy", your credit card number is already used as a "unique key" in supermarket data mining systems. They don't even need you to use a loyalty card to string all your purchases together.
Who said anything about "losing" them?
They are basically just intercepting and capturing texts.
I am surprised the carriers have been so laid back about it to be honest. I would expect Apple would go completely mental if a carrier were to intercept traffic to some iService in a similar manner.
Siphoning off texts in a non-transparent manner isn't really something I think is very acceptable from a transparency or data protection point of view.
When you send an SMS you expect it to go by SMS unless you instruct the device to do otherwise.
iMesssge is handy and seamless but just very strangely implemented.
Also why do Apple still remove functionality like delivery reports (a feature available for over 20 years) from SMS. Every other handset except iPhone supports this very basic and fundamental GSM feature that has been around since the dawn of the GSM system.
The text app on an iPhone checks to see if the contact you are sending to is on iMessage and sends via TCP/IP if they are. If not then it goes the SMS route. Nothing is intercepted and you can still chose to override iMessage and send as SMS.
Messages sent via iMessage are shown in blue, SMS in green, so you know how the message was sent BTW.
They're not intercepting messages. iMessage is an instant message service that resorts to SMS for non-iOS users.
When your friend sends a message using iMessage it checks Apple's records to see if you are an iOS user, if you are then it sends the message using iMessage servers. If they aren't it sends a text instead.
You need to remove the record that says you are an iOS user from Apple's system to force it to send an SMS instead.
And I quite like the way they separate it. Before you type your message the input box has a greyed out message on it; either Send SMS to [phone number] or Send Hangouts message. you can change this by pressing on the icon in front of the message. Better yet. If the user on the other end of the conversation doesn't use hangouts. you can only send a text. It works. Plus it becomes your hub for video chat and VOIP too, though I haven't played with voice calls yet when my phone does a perfectly good job of that already.
What I do't understand, and this is cross platform, why is there so much buzz about the ability to save your text messages when you switch devices? Or even make text messages an important part of a backup. This goes for iPhone and android users.
If there is any important information sent to me via text then I wouldn't really like to keep it in such a fragile ecosystem. If you need the info then simply copy paste it, put it in notes, email it, dropbox, google drive. lots of other places but not you SMS inbox?!
I suppose there is always the sentimental factor. Maybe it's because my wife and I no longer send soppy text messages to each other that I have become jaded to the whole thing.
I hear also when you stop using Skype all your messages stay in Skype and do not magically transfer as SMS messages as Skype assume you are talking to other Skype users. The bastards. Same goes for Whats-app.
Honestly El Reg - do you people actually attempt to comprehend how things work rather than just diving straight in with the anti-apple diatribe? If you don't want your messages going via iMessage, Settings -> Messages -> iMessage -> Off. Was that so hard?
"If you don't want your messages going via iMessage, Settings -> Messages -> iMessage -> Off. Was that so hard?"
I think it's you that are missing the point.
It's difficult to adjust the settings if (for example) the iPhone was accidentally dropped overboard and replaced with a non-iPhone phone. And it's not 'going', it's the incoming messages from other iPhone users that are the issue.
I can't explain it any simpler. Keep re-reading it until it clicks.
So you resort to an edge case to patronise. Well played! The real issue here seems to be a bit of sloppy design on Apple's part (really, they should have thought it through more. Yes Apple, people do switch the other way!) and a bit of stupidity and laziness on the typical end users part. When I've swapped devices in the past, even iPhone to iPhone, I make sure that services are turned off and then I wipe the device. Not hard really. Did I say a bit? I meant a lot.
"stupidity and laziness on the typical end users part"
There is such a thing as user stupidity, but it's very rare. Mostly, problems are down to developer stupidity in assuming that everyone who will ever use your software actually gives a shit about software, or computers. They pay money to developers precisely because they don't want to give a shit about this stuff.
To you and me, it's obvious that you need to explicitly disconnect the iMessage service, because you and I understand how it's likely to work, and can then ask ourselves "what would happen if my number is still in the lookup tables when I no longer have this phone?".
Apple's software should have automatically de-registered the device from iMessage when the holder of that device does a system wipe, or when the SIM in the device changes (I suspect it does the latter already, so why not the former?). Then, somewhere in Cupertino, a database process would spot that a given subscriber number no longer has any iDevice UIDs attached to it, and thus delete the iMessage record. That would be the simple, obvious and transparent process. Personally, I'd also age the records used to determine if a number is still in the service, so that a UID mapping for a device that hasn't checked in in a long time would be suspended until it reappears: that would [eventually] fix the problem of a phone falling overboard.
Apple's solution is a kludge, but its one that benefits them by making the problem look like it's not theirs ("Hey I can't believe your crappy LG/Lumia/Samsung can't even receive SMS - look at these I sent you yesterday, and you never got any of them. Man, you should have stayed with Apple")
"If you don't want your messages going via iMessage, Settings -> Messages -> iMessage -> Off. Was that so hard?"
If they don't know the phone is doing this (and from the class action suit it would appear many people don't) and is doing this by default then for most non-technical users (and let's be honest that covers 90+% of people with any type of phone) they may wonder why the messages are different colours, but most won't realise this 'feature' exists until they try to change phones.
Honestly - I don't own an iPhone, but my wife does, and the only reason I know that this happens is through news on El Reg. I suspect the majority of (non-techie) users assume that if they respond to a text message in what appears to be a text messaging app it will reply with a text message.
Would be interesting to run a survey to see how many (average/non-reg-reading) iDevice users are aware of this functionality, and more importantly are aware of the pit-falls.
This is a lame cludge tho' surely. Most users who this affects, will still be unaware as to why text from their friends fail to arrive so won't know they need to use this tool. To my mind the fix needs to be automated so that iMessage "de-registers" numbers automatically if they have not signed into the service recently.
I do know someone who will be very happy this fix exists however.
The world of tech is completely filled with stuff like this, that used to work absolutely fine thanks and is now far more complicated than it needed to be and was in no way crying out to be fucked about with.
Bit like the indicators on a Vauxhall Vectra.
[If recipient is an active* iMessage user]
1) Sender's iPhone sends the message to Apple
2) Apple always dispatches the messages to the PHONE over SMS, but would still use TCP/IP to push messages to non-phone clients like OS X, iPad, etc.
AFAIK, it is trivial for Apple to spoof an SMS to a phone and make it look like it originated from the sender's phone. The receiving phone could still color the bubble blue based on the sender being an "active iMessage user".
*within some timeout period.
All these problems! I've got an iPhone. I've passed one on to someone else. Various family members have changed from iPhone to Android and to Windows. Others, friends and colleagues have moved in both directions. None of us seem to get this problem, in two different couintries. I even notice that, when iPhone correspondents go out of wifi range, messages suddenly seem to have gone over SMS, including when abroad.
As for using Whatsapp as an alternative - just post your details on Facebook or Twitter to cut out the middle man. Oh, you use Google tools. Carry on.