Benjamin Stein, technical manager at Mobile Commons, talks about the “worst bug” that he has ever encountered. It happened once Ben changed his iPhone for an Android. Soon, he noticed that he is not receiving most of the messages from his contacts – other iPhone users.
As it turned out, when his friend attempts to send a message, their iPhone instantly sends it as an iMessage as their cache memory recognizes his number as one that supports iMessage. Naturally, his Android device does not receive the message.
Advanced users may realise that they should send the same message again in the form of a simple SMS. However, in the case of Group iMessage there is no such option, hence there is absolutely no way for the addressee to receive the message. The sender remains uninformed that the message was not received.
Stein deleted his iCloud, iMessage and FaceTime accounts from all devices and from the website. He demanded that tech support withdraws his certificates, so that he would not be able to log into the system even if he wanted to. In other words, the servers have no record of Benjamin. Nevertheless, the cache memory on the mobile devices of other users will always recognize Benjamin as an Apple user.
Benjamin contacted Apple tech support and said that they persistently tried to fix the problem, but there was nothing they could do. The company’s official position on this topic was that every individual subscriber, whom Stein has contacted during the past five years, must personally delete the iMessage chats with him. Obviously, this is unrealistic.
It seems that Apple is creating additional barriers and obstacles for users who want to leave the homogenous infrastructure. Perhaps the company does not even acknowledge this functionality as a bug because it is quite rare for a user to leave the Apple infrastructure. “I have an absolute feeling like I am a hostage,” says Benjamin Stein. “They have no solution for this problem and it is absolute madness that Apple holds my phone number hostage and I cannot get it back.”