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Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In 179

Posted by timothy
from the golden-handcuffs dept.
itwbennett writes "Who doesn't love free text messages? People who try to transition from an iPhone to any other phone, that's who. Apple's Messages app actively moves conversations away from paid text messages to free Messages. Very convenient until you want to leave your iPhone and switch back to plain old text messages because suddenly you'll be unable to receive text messages from your iPhone-toting friends. There's an obscure workaround, and Samsung, which has a vested interest in the matter, has a lengthy guide to removing your iPhone as a registered receiver of Messages . But the experience is just annoying enough that it might be the kind of thing that would keep someone from making a switch — and that's when it starts to feel like deliberate lock-in, and not so much like something Apple overlooked."
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Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In

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  • WTF (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:20PM (#46372253)

    What kind of bullshit story is this? If you move away from your iPhone, guess what, you won't get iMessages. You'll still get text messages because yes, the iPhone falls back to that when an iMessage doesn't send.

    • Re:WTF (Score:4, Informative)

      by akgooseman (632715) on Friday February 28, 2014 @09:29PM (#46372705) Homepage

      No, you won't get those messages. As an former iPhone user who recently switched to Android I will attest to the fact messages from your friends who use iOS go into a black iMessage hole. The messages are not forwarded out of iMessage to a traditional text message. The iPhone must be reconfigured to opt out of iMessage before text messages will be delivered to a non-iOS phone.

      iMessage fails over to text ONLY if you're using an iOS device. It doesn't fail over, as you might expect, if your mobile number moves to a non-iOS platform. It's a total pain in the ass. I can only believe it's designed this way to promote vendor lock-in.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ceoyoyo (59147)

        Just disassociate your number from iMessages. It's not hard. The article in the summary mentions half a dozen ways to do it, only one of which requires your iPhone. What do you want Apple to do, hire some psychics so they know when you switch phones?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Funny.

          The page title is "Verizon Tabs: How do I turn off iMessage on my old iPhone before I switch to my new Samsung device?"

          So, when someone switches away from an iPhone, they should just know that before they switch, they should check around and make sure they do it right, like check that people with an iPhone can still send them SMS messages once they get their new phone. I can picture it now, your mom is switching away from her iPhone and say asks"Do I have to do anything to make sure people with an iP

        • by serber (574286) *
          People seem to think this is a conspiracy, or deliberate attempt to break things for those switching, but honestly... how do they expect Apple to know that you've moved the sim card to a new device, and that you haven't just turned your phone off because you're on a plane/etc?
          • Erm, honestly?
            My device sends an iMessage to +49 0111 987654321
            The above number never handchakes with the Apple Server telling it it has received the message. After a reasonable timeout, like with eMails, the sender should get an "MESSAGE UNDELIEVERABLE RECEIPT" ... and the senders iPhone should send the message automatically (or configureable on request) again as SMS, as it does with other iPhone users, who are not reachable via internet, ANYWAY!

            • In the common case that the user still has an iPhone, but it's switched off, or otherwise off the network, you have caused an unnecessary SMS to be sent. Which may cost money.

              And the receiver may well end up with duplicated messages.

              • Those 'unnecessary' SMS are sent if you have an iPhone, they are not sent if you switch away from it (as the article and some posters here claim).

                My GF lives in france, when I'm in france I'm not in the internet. All her iMessages reach me as SMS and my SMS I sent in france reach her 'normaly'.

                Vice versa if she is in germany.

                If she is on the internet and so am I, we both receive each others messages as iMessage (also in other countries if we have WLAN).

                • As other posters have pointed out, there's an option in iOS to default to SMS if iMessage fails. Which seems about right. You have it switched on. But anyone who doesn't want to incur SMS charges can have it switched off.

        • Or due to the fact that many providers are not charging for texts and going to data only (at least in the US), iMessages served part of their purpose. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc have all sent a death knell to the charging for text messages. With most people's plans today (again in the US), iMessage is not needed and can be turned off.
  • Turn off iMessages ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:21PM (#46372263)
    You can just turn of iMessages and the conversation reverts to plain text messages. It has always worked for me.
    • by mark-t (151149)
      but if I turn off iMessages, doesn't that mean that any other iphone user will no longer be able to keep sending texts to me unless they reset their imessage settings as well?
      • by weave (48069)
        No. Their imessage chat bubble turns green to let them know their message will go out as a text and not an iMessage -- but it will work.
    • We purged our household of iphones last year and went through this little "eff you" crapple experince. Nobody tells you that apple hijacks your sms permanently by default and it must be manually taken back if you switch platforms.

      After 3 days of missing texts the wife turned on her ipad to watch some netflix and saw all these texts. After going on a treasure hunt we figured out how to free iphone-source texts from the imessage prison via the apple website as the old iphone was gone.

      Apple makes this harder

    • You can just turn of iMessages and the conversation reverts to plain text messages. It has always worked for me.

      Try a group conversation between 2 or more iMessage users, and one former-iMessage user.

  • They both believe in vendor lock. When I got my iMac it converted my photos from my camera to some iPhoto library from which it was quite difficult to take it out in simple jog files. For the two years I used iMac my videos and photos were all so locked up I actually lost interest and reduced my shutter bug instincts a lot.
    • by PapayaSF (721268)

      When I got my iMac it converted my photos from my camera to some iPhoto library from which it was quite difficult to take it out in simple jpg files.

      File -> Export works for me. If you want to access a bunch at a time, they're in [your user directory]/Pictures/iPhoto Library.

      And for those who haven't followed link about the "obscure workaround":

      To do this, simply tap and hold on the undelivered message and a “Send as Text Message” option should appear in the context menu. This works even when “Send as SMS” is disabled in your settings, allowing you to decide when you’d rather send a text message for expediency or simply leave it to wait until the recipient’s device is back online.

      I'm not saying that Apple never does lock-in, but both those seem like pretty weak examples.

    • "quite difficult to take it out in simple jog files." /Masters///

      // contains the original file organized by timestamp. That's too hard for you?

      • I rummaged around the file system. I did not find /Masters folder in my $home. There is no /Master folder in the root. I just checked. I know my way around the file system, enough to discover a clever way to keep your AVCHD folders any way you liked them and mounting them as fresh camera repository to their video editor using symbolic links. (Search for symbolic link, avchd in the same 140mandak262jamuna handle.) I know I can take anything out any way I want to. But it was not easy, not was not intuitive.
        • It is inside the iPhoto Library, which is really just a directory. Here is a listing showing the iPhoto Library as a directory and its contents:

          synnax:~ radar$ ls -1F ~/Pictures/iPhoto\ Library/
          AlbumData.xml
          Apple TV Photo Cache/
          Attachments/
          Auto Import/
          Backup/
          Contents/
          Data@
          Data.noindex@
          Database/
          Info.plist
          Library.data
          Library.iPhoto
          Library6.iPhoto
          Masters/
          Modified@
          Originals@
          Previews/
          ProjectDBVersion.plist
          Projects.db
          SlideshowAssets/
          ThemeCache
          Thumbnails/
          iLifeShared/
          iPhoto.ipspot
          iPhotoAux.db
          iPhotoLock.data
          iPhotoM

          • Thanks. It is not called Masters but it is called Originals. I found it. Looks like it is origanized by the year and the folder names are based on some sort of user input at the time of import from camera. Thanks
  • Many telco plans (possibly even most) no longer charge for texts. They already been squeezed out of the market by social media. These days data is all that matters and that's what telco's primarily charge for.

    -Matt

  • This is the same with Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, BBM, and all the rest. At least I can copy my iPhone's messages to a PC and archive them.

    Apple's security documents show just how secure it actually is, with iMessage using public key cryptography [techcrunch.com]. Are we going to also complain that PGP locks you in too now?

  • Try pulling your data out of most services and importing it. Good luck with that.

  • I switched from iPhone to Android after using iMessage extensively and did not have this problem. So clearly it depends on some particular status/configuration of all the involved parties.

    Does this depend on:

    1) Moving the SIM from your old phone to your new phone
    2) Leaving your old phone on and connected to WiFi so that iMessages still sees you as being on network

    Or something like that?

    I know that when I switched, it was a really quick thing—new Android phone arrived via USPS, pulled my old SIM, put i

  • This is not really an issue when you switch phones, the problem is the other users has set to always to use iMessage. Normally, if a "message" don't reach an iPhone user in a set amount of time, the system defaults to sending it as a text. That's the default behavior of iOS out of the box. Some users have turn it off in Messages settings therefore the iMessage never delivers the message and continues to wait it out.

    Why would someone turn off "Send as SMS"?
    Few reasons:
    1) they're on Verizon or ATT and it's

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