Apple fixes 'server-side' iMessage bug, but another fix coming

In a statement about fixing an iMessage bug, Apple doesn't say exactly what the problem is, but it might have to do with some Android users missing text messages.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read


Apple's iMessage problems might be one step closer to being addressed, if a recent statement from the company is any indication.

Speaking to Recode in a story published Thursday, an Apple spokesperson said that the company "recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users." The spokesperson went on to say that Apple has another bug fix that will come out "in a future software update."

The general lack of information in Apple's statement makes deciphering what the iMessage bug might have been almost impossible. However, the comment was made in response to questions about Apple's recent issues with customers who have swapped iPhones for Android devices and have been missing text messages.

Last week, Apple was slapped with a lawsuit over alleged negligence in addressing an issue people were experiencing after switching from an iPhone to a device running Android, Google's mobile operating system, but keeping the same phone number.

Apple's iMessage launched in 2011 as an alternative to text messages. Denoted by blue chat bubbles, iMessage recognizes that two iOS- or OS X-based devices are trying to communicate and routes messages through Apple's own servers, rather than those owned by carriers for text messaging.

According to the lawsuit, after iOS users switched to Android, they were not receiving text messages. Apple's servers erroneously believe that the numbers are still connected to iMessage, effectively causing its servers to snag the message before it can be routed through carrier networks and delivered to the Android device.

It was initially hoped that the problem could be solved by a server-side fix, but given Apple's statement, there's more to it. More specifically, it appears that if users don't take their numbers off their iMessage accounts, Apple's servers believe they're still using an iPhone, even when they aren't.

Apple has consistently declined to comment on the lawsuit related to the iMessage bug, and, given its statement to Recode, is reticent to divulge the inner-workings of its iMessage routing. The only known, full solution to the issue appears to be turning iMessage off and not allowing any text messages to be routed through Apple's servers.

CNET has contacted Apple for addition comment on the bug and clarification on what the recent fix addressed. We will update this story when we have more information.