Apple’s new online tool enables Users Escape iMessage “Black Hole”

IPhone users can now ditch iOS for Android or BlackBerry without losing messages to a digital “black hole” on Apples iMessage service. The self-service online tool, the first ever released by Apple allows former iPhone users to deregister from iMessage and escape the black hole that have been trapping messages since 2011.

Apple finally fixed a security hole in iMessage by introducing an online tool that enables former iPhones users to deregister from its messaging service. For years, people who ditched Apple for Google’s android complained that text messages sent to them ended up trapped in a digital black hole popularly know as it “iMessage purgatory” or as the “iMessage black hole.”

Technically, the iMessage black hole is a problem relating to how Apple handles its iOS to iOS communications across its devices. Unlike typical messaging services, iMessage routes SMS messages through the internet rather through the SMS network. Furthermore, Apple registers its users’ phone numbers with iMessage accounts, meaning that those who migrated to other platforms such Android or BlackBerry and maintain the previous numbers have their messages ending up in a digital no-man’s land.

In a post on Reddit last week, Apple announced a website where former iPhone users can deregister their phone numbers from iMessage service. The self- service option, first of its kind on Apple’s platform will ‘seal’ the black and allow former iPhone user to receive text messages from Apple users. For security reason ex apple users will be prompted to wait for a confirmation code sent through their current smartphones before detaching from iMessage.

Previously available fixes for those who failed to detach from iMessage before disposing off their iPhones, included a journey to AppleCare or numerous calls to Apple’s technical support team that took ages to fix the bug.

iMessage’s inability to reroute text messages outside the iOS platform have persisted since its launch in 2011, ending up with numerous lawsuits against the iPhone maker. In May Adrienne Moore filled a lawsuit against Apple complaining the iMessage purgatory made her life misery on her new android smartphone.

“Apple’s iMessage and Message service and application still retained text messages that were directed at these persons( Moore and others affected) from other Apple users, and failed to deliver these text messages to the putative class members as long as these putative class members continued using a non-Apple device,” read part of the complaint by Adrienne Moore.

Another Lawsuit in California around the same time accused Apple of violating the stored communication Act and the Electronic communication privacy Act. In Moore’s case, Apple was ordered into alternative dispute resolution in October while the other case is also being considered for alternative dispute resolution according to Law360.

Top/featured image: by Kelvinsong – Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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