Apple fixes server-side iMessage bug, will fix additional bug in future software update

Apple has fixed a server-side bug in iMessage, their SMS/MMS-like instant messaging service for iOS and OS X, which was causing some problems, and they're going to be fixing an additional client-side bug in a future software update. Those fixes should help make for smoother, faster transitions for people who want iMessage turned off, for example when leaving the iPhone for another smartphone. That's according to statement given to Ina Fried at Re/code:

"We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update," Apple told Re/code in a statement. "For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare."

The bugs seem to have been making things difficult not only for customers but for AppleCare support staff who couldn't help with de-registration on Apple's end. Once both bugs are squashed it should go back to being what it always was — customers can disable iMessage on their devices before switching away and if they don't know they need to do that, or they forget, they can go online or call up Apple and disable it at any time.

iMessage is incredibly easy to use and seamlessly integrated into the traditional SMS/MMS experience. Because of that, iMessage isn't as easy to transition away from. Since Apple has no idea when someone wants to stop using iMessage — popups asking every day if you're still using it would be ridiculous, and timing out too quickly would prevent less frequently used devices on the same account from getting messages — user action is required.

I'm hard pressed to think of a change that would retain the ease of use and integration and make it easier to migrate away from, and the hundreds of millions of active users vs. small percentage leaving the service makes it tough to balance any other way. Would a popup when you first enable iMessage, warning you to disable it if you want to switch back to SMS, even be remembered when/if needed?

For now, at least, the de-registration bugs are being dealt with and who knows, maybe we'll see even more in iOS 8, expected to be shown off in just over a week at WWDC 2014. Let me know what you'd like to see!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I'm not saying Apple was doing it on purpose. But the issue was very real and very annoying. I do not have to remember to turn off Google Hangouts when I switch back to my iPhone to keep receiving SMS from Android users. Apple just needs to listen to us when we say it's a real problem and fix it. It's crazy that it takes the threat of a lawsuit for them to do it.
  • "I'm not saying Apple was doing it on purpose." Of course they were doing it on purpose. Or does someone really believe the IiMssage team did not know of these issues that have existed for years? They simply gave their users the good old finger -- because they could afford to. Most companies could not do that, and would not even if they could.
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  • Give iMessage a dark theme option (together will all of the iOS) in iOS 8 while you're at it, please!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Second.
  • Dark theme plz >.< Sent from the iMore App
  • Does that mean we won't get any more condescending iMore articles mocking people that have the issue for not doing what they were supposed to when they switched from an iPhone?
  • lol. You'll always get imore articles mocking people.
  • amazing what a lawsuit will do.
  • Exactly. What it did was force Apple to stop ignoring it. They need to get sued over itunes and corrupted iphone music library issues. Maybe they'd fix those in a few days.
  • As much as I like Apple products - I just wonder about this a bit. They knew that there were a few select people that disabled iMessage on their phone and even called Apple and still had this issue (especially if they have more than one Apple device). Why wasn't this fixed a long time ago? I just don't think they cared enough to fix it until the lawsuit.
  • Good point
  • These bugs are new. They prevented de-registering. Previously de-registring worked.
  • Thank you for clarifying this. Sorry about that.
  • Maybe they had to look through millions of lines of code and see exactly which lines were causing it and figuring out the fix.
  • You say this like apple is a small company who doesn't know what they are doing, there was no excuse. Now with the lawsuit that might be class action lawsuit they acknowlege it was a "bug"
  • How about a popup when wiping an iDevice, asking if you'd like to also disable iMessage?
  • +1 That is a good idea to have that added.
  • Maybe just de-register it automatically when wiping? Then re-register on setup again?
  • That could work. But if I'm wiping my iPhone to troubleshoot it (rather than to sell it and switch to an Android), I may not want to automatically deactivate iMessage on my Mac and my iPad.
  • Well, you'd never want that. Even if you switched to an Android phone, you might still want iMessage on an iPad or Mac. But if it just de-registered that device, and then re-registered on setup...?
  • This! But I don't use iphone, though. Posted via the Android iMore App!
  • But wouldn't that negate the whole iCloud security activation's point? I see your point, but if I'm doing a wipe on my stolen device, why would give them the pleasure of using it if the feature would deactivate that setting? Maybe a yes no option on that? Just thinking. Sent from the iMore App
  • That is an interesting line of thinking. Perhaps these bugs were introduced by the new IOS' security measures - failed logic on Apple's part!? If so, it could be tougher to fix without breaking the rest of the anti-theft components?? I like the idea of an iCloud solution best, coupled with added iCloud log in authentication steps.
  • When you really step back and think about this objectively, it's really quite ridiculous that it has taken so long for this to be fixed. Just sayin'
  • These specific bugs haven't been around that long.
  • Amazing after all this time it takes a lawsuit to get them off their ass. Hilarious. they can fix things. Apple just chooses to ignore stuff. And this imessage issue with switching phones has been around a while.