For months now, former iPhone users have complained about the fact that they haven’t been able to receive text messages sent to their new mobile devices due to an error in Apple’s iMessages servers. The problem was a major source of frustration for those who had left the Apple ecosystem, and had moved on to Android, Windows Phone, or some other mobile operating system. Earlier this week one former iPhone owner’s lawsuit against Apple over this issue was upheld by a federal judge, which means Apple will soon have to face the music in court. Here’s why the tech giant deserves to be sued over these lost Android text messages.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit is a woman by the name of Adrienne Moore, who replaced her iPhone 4 with a Samsung Galaxy S5 awhile back, only to discover that no text messages sent from an Apple gadget were arriving to her new mobile device. Apparently, Apple’s servers still saw her phone number as belonging to an iPhone, and continued to try to send the text messages as iMessages rather than by SMS. As a result, they never reached Moore’s new phone, and she missed countless texts from friends and family.
Moore isn’t the only former iPhone user to experience this problem either, as there have been hundreds of reports of former iOS users experiencing the same issue. For some reason, their mobile phone numbers were stuck in Apple’s iMessage system, and it seemed like there wasn’t any way to get them out.
As the number of smartphone users experiencing this issue continued to rise, the silence from Cupertino was deafening. The complete lack of response from Apple in the face of these complaints was disgraceful, and the fact that they didn’t offer any kind of explanation or solution to the problem was even worse. It was clear that this wasn’t an isolated incident, and yet there didn’t appear to be anything Apple was doing to rectify the situation.
To their credit, Apple ended the frustrations of many former iOS users earlier this week when it released a web tool that allows them to deregister their phone numbers with iMessage. But it took them months to offer this solution, while the phone numbers of many former iOS users were stuck in limbo. As Apple pundit John Gruber said on his popular blog, “I don’t think it ever occurred to anyone at Apple that someone might eventually want to switch from iPhone to another phone.”
We all know that modern operating systems are more complex and powerful than ever, so the fact that a bug like this one slipped through the cracks isn’t the issue. But the problem was first introduced way back when iOS 5 was released, and it has taken until now for a solution to be offered. That is simply unacceptable on the part of any tech company, and quite frankly, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit over this sooner.
Apple did unsuccessfully try to have the lawsuit thrown out of court, and a quote from their motion for dismissal gives some insight into their thought process on the entire situation. It reads as follows:
“Apple takes customer satisfaction extremely seriously, but the law does not provide a remedy when, as here, technology simply does not function as plaintiff subjectively believes it should.”
This quote is so absurd that I can’t even believe it was used in the court filing in the first place. First of all, no one is questioning Apple’s commitment to customer satisfaction, as the company generally scores extremely high in that category. But to say that the lawsuit should be thrown out because technology doesn’t behave the way someone thinks it should is a strange argument. This isn’t a case of a customer expecting a certain feature of their new iPhone to behave a certain way, when it actually doesn’t. This is someone who isn’t even using an Apple device any longer, but is still prevented from having their new phone function properly thanks to an error in Apple’s code. That is simply not acceptable on any level.
I can only imagine the level of frustrations that these former Apple customers must have felt over the fact that many of their text message simply could not ever be delivered, and no one was offering any way to fix the problem. For dragging their feet on this issue for so long, Apple definitely deserves to be taken to court. Whether or not a judge or jury will side with the plaintiff remains to be seen, but at least the case will be heard.
Saying apple ignored this and remained silent the entire time is a completely false statement.. A few articles:
But whatever facts aren’t important.
As those articles say, Apple only announced that it fixed a bug on the iMessages server, but don’t indicate what that bug entailed. It was only speculation that the fix was in regard to the missing text messages. Apple should have been a bit more forthcoming about what the fix address exactly.
As per usual no personal responsibility… the same reason why we have safety instructions on shampoo bottles. I have sold many iPhones in my time. I always turn off my iCloud accounts on them and always reset them to spec. If users had bothered to do this simple thing this would not have happened. How is Apple supposed to know when you sell your phone or switch to another platform? On the other hand Apple should have released this earlier and/or should require activity at least every X days for phone to remain signed into iMessage to protect the mass of idiots. On a entirely different level. Nothing important should be left up to a text message and in some cases even an email. Someone died? Pick up the phone and call.
Apple won’t know if you’ve switched to a rival platform of course, but assuming your number has been transferred to the new phone, it should stop appearing as an iOS device in iMessages, in which case texts should transfer to an SMS system instead. That wasn’t happening for some reason, and it took Apple a long time to acknowledge this, and offer a fix.
I get the frustration if you’re someone who moved from the iPhone to a different phone – but I do agree with the argument Apple makes in the motion to dismiss. I don’t see how the law provides a remedy – and on that point what damages could possibly be calculated from this issue. I’m by no means an expert in this particular area of law but I am in my last semester of law school, so I have some idea what I’m talking about. Clearly there’s at least some case to be made since the court didn’t grant the motion to dismiss but I think that will be the plaintiffs problem when it goes to trial. Should be interesting to see how it goes
I definitely agree with you Tom that it will be interesting to see how this plays out. This is a case where Apple’s argument is sound in some areas regarding technology, but I believe this case falls into a different category. It isn’t that the tech isn’t functioning the way a customer expect, but more so that the technology is failing the plaintiff due to a bug on a platform she no longer used that couldn’t seem to be resolved.
The ruling will indeed be interesting.
This is article is idiotic click bait. Those who’ve switched to the rip-off devices from the backstabbers at Samsung/Google need to think before they make this change, which is no different than when switching most any product.
What’s next? Are people going to sue Comcast or ATT when switching cable and losing access to their entire email accounts, losing their DVR recordings, etc.?
Are people going to start seeing the post office when they move, but fail to inform them of their new address?
Did these clowns actually think there was iMessage on Android rip offs? It’s one of 100’s of features missing on android.
Apple has 24/7 tech support that is second to none. When you call you will speak with someone in you local area (as opposed to someone in India, etc. that you can’t even understand.
These clowns switched to Roid without even deleting the email from their own iPhones (which resets iMessage)!
Also you can only receive iMessages from other iPhone/iPad/Mac users. Every sender then can easily resend them via (lame) SMS (Text) messaging. We’re they to embarrassed to tell anyone they went Roid? Apparently.
Also, do none of these supposed users have computers? If they did, they could check their iMessages (for that matter, they could use their Roid browsers) to check iCloud (where they in fact directed their own texts).
Stupidity of a customer who has moved away from the Apple Ecosystem is not a cause for penalties.
The Federal Judge seems to have a thing against Apple, since it won the case against Samsung, a Korean Company. Perhaps, this judge should recluse herself from all lawsuits where Apple is a defender.
The idea of a law suit for losing text messages is absurd. Text or SMS messaging is NOT an inalienable right! How many users have lost text messages due to their own stupidity. Maybe those people should be prosecuted? The litigious society we live in is another reason we have lost respect in the world. We have allowed the government to spend trillions of dollars on WAR to preserve the oil rights for the wealthy, but we cut school spending and social programs? All part of the same stupid right wing mentality.
Apple not addressing this issue sooner is a cause for lawsuit. True, text messages are not an inalienable right, but having a company hold your messages hostage is not fair either. This is a problem that apple should have acknowledged, and addressed a long time ago, and their inaction is shameful.