How to fix Apple's iMessage bug

Switching from an iPhone to an Android device or Windows Phone? Read this first.

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Apple recently has been under fire for a bug that is preventing users from receiving text messages when they switch from an iPhone to an Android or Windows Phone device and keep the same phone number. The problem has actually been around since iMessage first debuted in late 2011.

Apple said in a statement that it recently "fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users." The company also revealed that it has plans for an "additional bug fix in a future software update."

Here's how you can fix the problem right now:

Method 1: Disable iMessage

The easiest way to fix the problem is to disable iMessage on your iPhone before making the switch to another mobile platform. To disable iMessage, open the Settings app, scroll down to Messages, and toggle the iMessage switch from 'on' to 'off.' Afterward, I suggest sending a normal text message to one of your friends to ensure that iMessage was switched off properly.

imessage-settings.png
Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

There have been conflicting reports regarding how long it will take for Apple's servers to acknowledge that iMessage has been disabled. I am constantly switching between platforms and devices, and I had no issues when I made the jump from an iPhone to an Android device. Others, however, have claimed that it could take up to 45 days for Apple's servers to reorganize the switch.

Method 2: Reset your Apple ID password

What if you have already sold or traded in your old iPhone for another device? If you are unable to perform the first method or if it was unsuccessful for you, Jack Wallen over at TechRepublic suggests you try resetting your Apple ID password.

imessage-stop.png
Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET

To do this, go to Apple's website and click on the "reset your password" link. Now this is the important part: don't log back into your account once the password has been reset. Instead, send a text message with the word "STOP" to 48369 from your new Android or Windows Phone device. You will then receive a text message from Apple that says you have successfully unsubscribed from your iCloud account.

Wallen notes that the change "won't happen immediately." In his experience texts from iPhone users slowly began to trickle in on his Android device "over a 12-hour period." Even though others have found success using this method, Apple has said that performing it won't deregister your number from iMessage.

Method 3: Call AppleCare

If you have tried one or both of the above methods and still aren't receiving text messages, don't panic -- there is still hope. The last thing I suggest you do is try calling 1-800-MY-APPLE and having a technician manually deregister your phone number from Apple's servers.

This article was updated on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 3:30 p.m. PT :Apple recently released a new web tool to help iPhone owners deregister phone numbers from iMessage. All you have to do is enter your phone number and Apple will send you a 6-digit code to confirm deregistration. The tool can be accessed by clicking on this link.

About the author

Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET How To. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn't tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.

 

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