Apple has weighed in on a controversial issue with its iMessage service that keeps accounts on devices even when the owner has wiped the phone.
A story posted by Gizmodo yesterday detailed the dangers of the issue after a reader sent the outlet photos and details of iMessage exchanges that appeared on their iPhone after having it serviced at an Apple store.
According to their story, it all stemmed from that employee using their own phone's SIM card as part of the repair, which linked up the customer's phone to that employee's iMessage account. That resulted in that user seeing the employee's iMessage exchanges as if they were being sent from the customer's device.
"This was an extremely rare situation that occurred when a retail employee did not follow the correct service procedure and used their personal SIM to help a customer who did not have a working SIM," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison told The Loop this morning. "This resulted in a temporary situation that has since been resolved by the employee."
In a follow-up with CNET, an Apple spokesperson suggested any one of the following procedures to protect your iMessage account in the event that your iPhone is lost or stolen:
• Remote Wipe and then call your carrier/de-activate your SIM (de-register must be within 24 hours after Remote Wipe)
• Activate a replacement phone with a replacement SIM using your same phone number
• Change your Apple ID password (only works if you use an Apple ID with iMessage)
Apple introduced iMessage as part of iOS 5 in October, offering users on the iPhone, iPod, and iPad to communicate with one another for free within the Messages app as long as they had an Internet connection. A report in Ars Technica last month detailed an issue with the service wherein messages were still being sent to phones that had previously been attached to Apple IDs, even when they were wiped and being used by someone with another account.
Updated at 2 p.m. PT with information about iMessage settings from Apple.