iMessage delivery bug blamed on Apple server problem

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Apple has cited a server bug as the reason why ex-iPhone users could not receive messages from other Apple device owners.

The problem means any messages sent to old iPhone numbers that previously used iMessage are not getting through to non-Apple devices, even if you follow Apple's advice and deactivate iMessage before changing phones.

When the iMessage server sees an iMessage account is deactivated, it just cancels delivery of the message rather than rerouting to the phone number using traditional SMS instead, it has emerged.

Apple told 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. For users still experiencing an issue, please contact AppleCare."

Earlier in the week, an ex-iPhone user filed a lawsuit against Apple for intervening her messages, stopping them from being delivered to a new Android device.

She said Apple did not advise her to deactivate iMessage before getting a new, non-iPhone device and many of the messages her friends sent her never arrived. It now seems a server issue was the reason these messages were not arriving at their destination.

At the time, an Apple customer service representative said Apple didn't know how to rectify the situation, but Apple has confirmed it will fix the bug soon.

iMessage was launched in 2011 with iOS 5. At the time, the messaging platform seemed revolutionary, but there are now a number of cross-platform free messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber that allow you to message anyone using a data connection, whether your friends are on Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or even Symbian devices.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.