Apple employees are giving customers who no longer receive text messages from iPhone users some pretty terrible advice when they call the company looking for help. Some customers have been told the solution is to ditch their new phones and just buy another iPhone. Others have been told to change their phone numbers.
Some former iPhone users tell us they were forced to do just that — all because iPhone's iMessage system does not reliably deliver text messages to non-iPhone brands, especially when users switch from iPhone to Android or other non-Apple brands but keep the same phone number. The technical issue is that iMessage is not the same as a regular mobile phone text message. When an iPhone user sends a text, the text looks for the recipient inside the iMessage system instead of simply sending an SMS text to the recipient's phone number. If it finds the phone number in the iMessage system, it delivers the message there — even if the user no longer has an iPhone.
We asked Apple for comment but have not yet heard back.
However, after Business Insider began reporting last week on the way iPhones often stop delivering texts to iPhone users who switch to other brands — most notably Samsung — we've received more than 400 emails from former Apple customers describing a variety of iPhone related text message nightmares.
Many customers called Apple's various support lines or took their phones to the local Apple Store to get help from the Genius Bar staff. Here's some of the bizarre advice they say they have received from Apple employees:
Call every iPhone user you know and tell them to delete you from their contacts. Mike Haddan tells BI, "I called Apple again and their response was that I needed to contact every person I know and tell them to delete my contact information, and then re-enter it into their phone. Even though this was absurd, I tried it out with a few friends and it still didn’t help the issue."
Return your Samsung and just get a new iPhone. Timothy William Perry says: "The exact same problem happened to me and the iPhone representative’s advice was to go tell all of my friends to delete their text message threads with me, turn off iMessage, or just return the Samsung and get an iPhone."
Get a new phone number. Stephanie Harrison: "I spent three hours on the phone and Apple kept saying the problem lay with my carrier. Eventually someone at Verizon had the idea to text me from his personal iPhone and he told the Apple rep that his phone was identifying my phone number as linked to an iPhone. [After many frustrating calls] I was left with three options: contact everyone with an iPhone and have them turn on their SMS Messaging; change my number; or resign myself to only getting inferior service because I at one time made the mistake of using an Apple device. The simplest solution to me would be for Apple to drop the elitist attitude and drop iMessaging."
Ask everyone you know to delete everything — and then update their iOS. Jennifer Bary says: "Apple told me to ask all my contacts with iPhones to delete my contact and re-enter it, delete all previous text messages from me, and update their iOs. I asked the customer service rep 'are you serious?' He acknowledged that it was a problem and said he wished they would do something to fix it."
We heard from a bunch of other people who had frustrating experiences with Apple tech help. Here is what they told us:
Christopher Billet: "I have experienced numerous problems with the iMessages and text messages when switching to a new android phone. I also had a horrible customer service experience related to this issue, which ended with a 'VP of Apple Care' hanging up on me. I would love to find out how to become more active in this law suit and get more information."
Dog: "Sooooo, off I go to the Apple Store, hoping one of their 'genius' could fix it. I took my IPad, old IPhone and my new phone. I was there 2 full hours. In fact the guy helping me, left and took his break after putting me back on the phone with some other Apple genius. After 2 hours, I was actually told it wasn't anything I was doing, it was ALL OTHER IPhone users. WTH?! Seriously? Every other person with an IPhone is at fault that their texts won't go thru to my phone?? That's the best they could come up with?"
Paul DosSantos: "My next step was to call Apple Care for them to attempt to help me. I was put in touch with Matthew 1877-416-[xxx] ext [xxxxx] who was supposed to be a senior tech guy and he would solve the problem. Needless to say there was NO FIX. I dealt with them for 1 month and the final outcome was 'we've exhausted all possible solutions'; there was nothing more they could do. I explained to them that in my opinion it was being done on purpose as a sort of punishment for switching and that I would never buy another Apple phone in my life. How can Apple not be able to fix this!!!!"
Russell Kipnis: "I first called Apple and had them un-register my phone number from their iMessage system but they said it could take 30 days to go into effect."
Dylan Patterson: "It took 3 weeks, and some heated arguments with apples terrible customer service before the seemingly easy changes were made. They say it's because their servers take 'up to three weeks to process the request.' I doubt one of the world's leading tech companies have servers with the computing power of a potato. Anyway, my experience was terrible.
Laura Ricci: "Finally I called Apple Support on May 13 and the person I spoke to unregistered my phone, even though I had previously done that, and told me it 'should work' by the following day. The following day came and went, and still my texts appear to some people as an imessage. When Apple Support called me for a follow up on May 14, I explained this to them and they told me that there was nothing else they could do from their end, and that it 'should work.' The man I spoke to also had the nerve to say that I needed to get in touch with every person I know who has an iPhone and make sure to have them turn off then turn back on their iMessage."
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