How to Deregister Your Phone Number From Apple’s iMessage

Source: Apple

Apple released a new tool over the weekend that resolves a long-running problem with its proprietary iMessage service. For years now, users who have ditched their iPhones in favor of a non-Apple device have complained of not receiving SMS or MMS messages sent from iPhones to their new device due to their phone number still being linked to iMessage in Apple’s systems.

As a result, their undelivered text messages were being lost in a virtual “black hole” with no way to retrieve them. While the problem seemed to occur most often when users failed to turn off iMessage before deactivating their iPhones, some users who have switched platforms claimed that the issue cropped up even after having properly shut down iMessage.

Though the issue has been around since Apple first implemented iMessage in iOS 5 in 2011, things came to a head this May when a server glitch exacerbated the problem. At the time, Apple told Re/code that it was working on “an additional bug fix in a future software update” but didn’t offer a timeline for the fix. Around the same time, Apple was also sued by a former iPhone user over the issue, Bloomberg reported.

Fortunately, it appears that Apple’s new Web-based tool will finally resolve the problem by allowing users to quickly and easily deregister their phone numbers from Apple’s iMessage service. Of course, if you still have your old iPhone, you should be able to correct the problem without the new tool. First, transfer your SIM card from your new device into your iPhone. Next, under Settings, select Messages and simply turn the iMessage service off.

However, if you no longer have your old iPhone, you will need to utilize the Web-based deregistration tool. First, follow the link to Apple’s Deregister iMessage page. Next, enter your number into Apple’s webpage. Apple will then send a confirmation code to your phone number.

Finally, after you have received the confirmation code, enter it into the field provided by Apple to finalize your deregistration from iMessage. You can test the success of the process by having someone with an iPhone text your phone number. If you fail to receive a confirmation code using the Web-based tool or if you are still not receiving messages sent from iPhones, you will need to escalate the issue with Apple support.

As noted by Apple, support for this issue is now free. One of the complaints that former Apple users had with this problem was that Apple support would try to charge them $20 for a support call since they no longer owned a device with an active support plan. Of course, most of the people who encountered this issue were users who had already switched to another platform.

Besides fixing the iMessage glitch, the new deregistration tool may also help Apple resolve the ongoing litigation over this issue. According to Top Class Actions, Apple and the plaintiff in the iMessage lawsuit recently agreed to resolve the matter through private mediation, rather than in federal court.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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