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

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the golden-handcuffs dept.

Communications 179

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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WTF (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#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 (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#46372269)

And any other iOS user wont be able to send you txts as they will be attempting via iMessage by default.

Re:WTF (5, Insightful)

paxprobellum (2521464) | about 7 months ago | (#46372311)

It's not "by default" - it's just because they already have a iMessage window open with you. This whole "article" sounds kinda "contrived".

Re:WTF (-1)

Holi (250190) | about 7 months ago | (#46372347)

Which really sucks as then the iphone user has to delete all their old texts to be able to text you. Really shitty solution if you ask me and hardly "contrived" especially as imessage is opt out.

Re:WTF (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372533)

Wrong - you can go back and forth between SMS and iMessage in the same thread. No deleting anything.

Messages.app now figures out when outgoing messages aren't delivered to an iMessage recipient, then resend automatically as an SMS.

Re:WTF (4, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#46372537)

no. this whole thing makes no sense. when I text a number 213-555-2232 the text message goes to that number. if it's an iphone then it goes through apple's imessage server and appears as a blue bubble. if it's a samsung it goes through the cell provider network and shows up as a green bubble. it's completely transparent. if you have an iphone but then port your number to a samsung, then my bubbles become green instead of blue. completely illogical.

Re:WTF (4, Funny)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 7 months ago | (#46372963)

wow so iphone users secretly recognize their peers with the use of blue bubbles, wtf is that. It's a really really huge conspiracy. Get turned down for a job, ot your date ran away after you text that you're waiting for her.. that's because you didn't have the blue buble.
If you leave your iphone and get green bubbled then you will lose your rank and secretive social status. Welcome to the underclass!

Re:WTF (2, Informative)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 7 months ago | (#46373035)

Are you really that much of an idiot? Using two colors to differentiate between a SMS and a non SMS message is simple and logical.

And you go all crazy on us. How do you function in the real world?

Re: WTF (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373057)

Never go full retard.

Re:WTF (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 7 months ago | (#46372815)

It's not "by default" - it's just because they already have a iMessage window open with you. This whole "article" sounds kinda "contrived".

So for every one of your friends that you text and who uses iOS, it will be by default. When I think about how often I text someone new, compared to how often I exchange texts with someone I have previously interacted, this would be an awful lot like 'default' to me.

Re:WTF (5, Informative)

DeSigna (522207) | about 7 months ago | (#46373221)

Well lets see. If they try and message you after you've gotten your new droid/winphone/etc, they'll eventually get an error, if the previous conversation hasn't expired (expiry seems to take somewhere between an hour and a day, probably depending on network conditions). If it's expired and you're no longer on iMessage, or if they've had an error and try to send another message, it will go via SMS. Nothing default about it. Except in the case of an unexpired conversation, it's transparent.

If I want to remove a phone permanently from my iMessage account, I go into my iMessage settings, select the number and remove it. It's even easier if you own the device and it's part of your support profile, you can just do it through the Apple website. I own an iPad but my iPhone is employer-issue.

This iMessage stuff has been part of the iOS environment for literally years. This article is hyperventilating over nothing and is worthy only of a weary eye-roll.

Re:WTF (4, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46372515)

And any other iOS user wont be able to send you txts as they will be attempting via iMessage by default.

As long as the "fall back to SMS if iMessage fails" setting is on, then there's no problem even in this case. The iMessage will fail, and then Messages will resend it as a text message without any intervention needed.

I guess having to look at the settings of a phone is pretty "obscure" though.

Re:WTF (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46372525)

Specifically: Settings -> Messages -> Send as SMS

Note if iMessage is not enabled, this setting will not be available (duh).

Re:WTF (3, Informative)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#46372559)

there's a setting "send as SMS" which is lableed "Send as SMS when iMessage is unavailable. Carrier messaging rates may apply." it's not that hard to find - in the settings menu go to Messages and there it is. also it's on by default, I never even noticed it or thought about it.

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372637)

Actually, that setting is turned OFF by default here.

It's unclear why someone wouldn't want their messages to fall back to SMS, instead of Apple's preferred solution of having the delivery fail.

Re:WTF (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 7 months ago | (#46372731)

I agree it should be on by default - however, people being what they are, I'm sure in that case we'd have read at least one Slashdot story where Joe Blow screams about his unexpected $100 SMS bill because he didn't notice there wasn't a data connection and he sent 100 text messages while on vacation in Mexico.

Re:WTF (2)

Parafilmus (107866) | about 7 months ago | (#46372743)

As long as the "fall back to SMS if iMessage fails" setting is on, then there's no problem even in this case. The iMessage will fail, and then Messages will resend it as a text message without any intervention needed.

Alas, the SMS fallback doesn't work properly. Group messages always fail silently, regardless of the setting.

This is easily repeatable, if you have three iPhones. Try it yourself!

1. Disable iMessage on phone C, but leave it enabled on phones A and B.
2. Send a group message from phone A to phones B and C. It will fail silently. The message will never be received by phone C.

Re:WTF (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 months ago | (#46372671)

But the iPhone returns an error message to the iPhone user and asks if they want to resend as a text. This makes the iPhone software look like rubbish.

Re:WTF (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#46372741)

It did not in my case, but i did admit that i had this problem a while ago. Perhaps its not as brain-dead as it was back then.

Re:WTF (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#46372751)

Not if you enable SMS fallback. It's simply just resent as an SMS.

Re: WTF (0)

kqs (1038910) | about 7 months ago | (#46372801)

So, as long as all of your friends turn on an obscure option (which is off by default) you won't be locked in. What could go wrong?

Re:WTF (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46372777)

No. This story is stupid. If you leave your number associated with your iPhone, and your iPhone signed into iMessage, other iPhones will try to send you iMessages (they'll give up and send regular texts after a little bit). There are multiple, simple ways to sign your number out of iMessage, leaving it a regular text receiving number.

Re: WTF (1)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | about 7 months ago | (#46372909)

No, their iMessage app will resort to traditional SMS to send the message. No lock-in. This is a non-story, and only serves Samsung for the plug.

Re:WTF (4, Informative)

akgooseman (632715) | about 7 months ago | (#46372705)

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:WTF (1, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about 7 months ago | (#46372769)

Then tell your friends to turn on the SMS fallback. The setting is been there forever.

iMessage fails over to text ONLY if you're using an iOS device.

That's total bullshit. I have iMessage turned on with SMS fallback and I text message people on android phones all the time.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 months ago | (#46372795)

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:WTF (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372923)

Can I point out that what you're saying is "just do something that though isn't difficult, should still be unnecessary and doesn't behave like one would expect". Good software design dictates that yes, you save the user money by using the free messenger, but if it fails, pop up a notification asking if they want to send it anyway with a paid for option. Failing silently in this way and requiring you to go to a hidden option (hidden option is any option not on the main user screen), is just piss poor design. But then again, Apple has often failed the "good design" test. For example, the ipod nano that you had to enter apples own version of Morse code to skip a track.

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373015)

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 iPhone can still send me messages?" Seems like a common sense to ask huh?
These are people that switched phones probably 10 times over the last 20 years and never had to make sure they logged onto a web site or did some some combination of settings on their old phone first to make sure people could still send them messages. I guess we should all be psychics and just know we have to check iMessage settings before we switch. What else should people check now that you have perfect hind-sight vision of this issue.

Learned the hard way (1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#46372255)

I found this out over a year ago when i finally switched. It was dammed annoying too. Took a couple of days to even figure out it was happening "didn't you get my message?"

Thankfully my iDevice was still functional so i could turn it back on, but it would have been even harder if not.

Thanks for nothing, Apple.

Re:Learned the hard way (1)

kmg90 (957346) | about 7 months ago | (#46372317)

You shouldn't be so surprised Well it's not like their is a precedent of Apple being open and using/allowing of unified standards (USB/HDMI/uPNP)

Re:Learned the hard way (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#46372535)

Apple is a pioneer and they set the bar on vendor lock-in. In that context they have done an admirable job and hold an enviable position. Nobody does it better.

Re:Learned the hard way (5, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#46372585)

on the iphone, you just sign out of imessage. go to settings, messages, send and recieve. tap on your apple id and tap sign out. Then apple will know to send any texts to your number as SMS not imessage. although it shouldn't be a big dealio because when your friends send texts the imessage should fall back to a SMS when the imessage fails.

I guess it's a step when switching, but it's hardly a lock-in.

Re:Learned the hard way (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 7 months ago | (#46372611)

Its not a big deal now, but it was when it first started happening to people and no one knew what the hell was going on.

In my case, iOS friends messages never did fall back, and they all went into the bit bucket.

Re:Learned the hard way (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372773)

Lets correct a few misunderstandings there newbie

Apple was one of the movers and shakers for USB adoption. They were the first top tier manufacturer ( HP/Dell/Sony/etc ) to include USB only systems ( by that I mean no backward compatibility ) and were criticized for it at the time.

Apple didn't support HDMI on their computers ( but do on mac mini and apple TV even today) , but there was little purpose before then to even consider it. It is electronically identical to DVI, which in the late 90's early 2000's they were already supporting and HDMI didn't have the feature of backward compatibility of VGA. No monitors supported it back then anyway and hdmi TV's were prohibitively expensive. Also, this is not a unified or open standard. In recent years Apple has backed Display port, which is open and completely *royalty free* and backed by VESA.

Apple's Bonjour is mDNS which apple began work on in 1998 ( proposed in 1997 by someone who went on to be an Apple employee ). Apple participated in submitting drafts for RFC's for this in the early 2000's and to separate RFCs were ratified in 2013. ( rfc6762 and rfc6763 ) OPEN standards.

There is extraordinary precedent of Apple being open the quicktime server code has a BSD license. The Webkit engine which is basically in EVERYTHING is BSD licensed. Apple contributes code directly to FreeBSD on many occasions. Apple was instrumental in the adoption and maturity of LLVM.

  So lets not be so flippant, shall we?

Re:Learned the hard way (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 7 months ago | (#46373053)

Unfortunately I had commented already, but you deserve modpoints.

Turn off iMessages ? (4, Informative)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 7 months ago | (#46372263)

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

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

slampman (301381) | about 7 months ago | (#46372373)

Exactly.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (2)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46372501)

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?

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (2)

weave (48069) | about 7 months ago | (#46372587)

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.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372685)

Um, no?
 
Seriously, how does this kind of FUD get modded up?

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

ClaraBow (212734) | about 7 months ago | (#46372745)

It does work for me. I can switch between iMessage and text messages without a problem. My daughter has an iPhone without a data plan, and I can send her iMessages when she is connected to Wifi and when she is not, I simply turn off iMessage on my phone and send her plain texts and it works.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (0)

bored_engineer (951004) | about 7 months ago | (#46372849)

My daughter has an iPhone without a data plan. . .

How did you (or she) manage that? Every carrier I've seen requires data with any smartphone connected to the network, and I thought I read that they can detect the phone. I've thought about doing exactly this, but haven't been bold enough to give it a go.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46372915)

How did you (or she) manage that?

Off the top of my head: someone upgraded their iPhone and got a new one and had a spare, they bought a used phone, or went into the Apple store and bought the phone at retail price.

If you've got a phone which just uses a SIM card, you can swap phones pretty easily.

Hell, my SIM card has been through about 6-7 phones in the last 14 years (which is how long I've had the number).

You can't buy from a carrier w/o the data plan because the subsidy factors in the cost of your data plan. But it's easy enough to change phones unless they're the really annoying carrier locked crap which doesn't just use SIM cards. I've got a (cheap) smart phone with no data plan.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | about 7 months ago | (#46373137)

I don't have a contract, and will never have another one again. When I was on a contract, I hated being locked in when I discovered that AT&T sucks in interior Alaska and couldn't switch without incurring a penalty. (While in Cantwell, I had a signal, but couldn't make a call: They couldn't tell me why. There were at least two more reasons I wanted to switch away.)

I have a vague memory, though, of reading that carriers can get the model of your phone, and will happily add data if they find you're using a smart phone without a data plan. Perhaps I should be more bold.

Right now, I'm paying $30/mo [gci.com] for a local plan, with an older phone. It includes unlimited calling ad unlimited texting with 1 GB of data and fantastic coverage. I don't have a strong incentive anymore for trying to dump the data fees, though I did give it serious thought and eliminated the possibility because of the limitations I perceived.

Do you mind sharing which carrier you use?

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

bored_engineer (951004) | about 7 months ago | (#46373159)

unlimited calling ad unlimited texting

That should be "and," rather than "ad." GCI doesn't serve up ads as you use their service.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#46373203)

I have a vague memory, though, of reading that carriers can get the model of your phone, and will happily add data if they find you're using a smart phone without a data plan. Perhaps I should be more bold.

In which case you call them up, inform them you didn't want or ask for a data plan, and that they can't legally add something to your bill without your consent and to credit your bill because you didn't sign up for it.

They certainly can't say you're not allowed to have a data-capable phone which doesn't have a data plan.

Companies may do that in the hopes that you think it's convenient and keep it, but they can't force you to take a data plan, and they know it.

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46373007)

So if she's not able to accept iMessages, then *YOU* have to turn iMessage off on your phone? Do you not see how that might be problematic if a person who had formerly accepted iMessages switched to a different platform? Suddenly this peron can no longer accept messages from people with an iPhone unless they switch off iMessage on their phone first...

Re:Turn off iMessages ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372647)

Explain that to the 306 people you know that have iPhones and message you all the time and have been for years. Once you switch away from Apple, those 306 people won't know you aren't getting their message. This is not a hypothetical problem, it actually happens and many people have NO idea that their messages are not going and the intended recipient has no idea they are sending them. So much for it just works.

You're an idiot (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372287)

So, you're too fucking stupid to turn iMessages off? Must be evil apple trying to lock you in.

Fucking tool.

Not Always (5, Interesting)

rainwater (530678) | about 7 months ago | (#46372329)

I switched to Android and disabled iMessage before switching. Even though I did that, iMessage wasn't disabled and I wasn't able to receive messages for days from iPhone users. It is not always a user error.

Re:Not Always (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 7 months ago | (#46373009)

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.

- what did I say [slashdot.org] ? There are tons of 'WhatsUp' competitors and there will be more, including from carriers themselves, they don't want to give up SMS market like that, they'll bundle 'free' SMS with your data and voice packages and what will that do to WhatsUp market share?

Re:You're an idiot (-1, Flamebait)

Holi (250190) | about 7 months ago | (#46372361)

Your an ass,

turn off imessage days in advance and it still may not disable on their end. Not an end user issue you fucking simpleton.

Re:You're an idiot (2)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 months ago | (#46372407)

There's a support page [apple.com] for that.

There's not an actual story here. (1)

slampman (301381) | about 7 months ago | (#46372289)

"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."

That's not how it works. And the "obscure workaround" linked is simply instructions for how to send an iMessage as a text, like in the cases where iMessage fails (poor reception).

Isn't there, though? (5, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46372521)

That's not how it works.

Good. Please explain how it does work.

Per this old article:
http://asia.cnet.com/faq-whats... [cnet.com]

It seems to work like this.
You go to the messaging app. This is the default messaging app. It does text messages (SMS), and it does iMessages. So far so good.

You enter a number or directly a contact. It checks if that contact is believed to use iMessage by way of the phone number. If it believes the contact uses iMessage, it will send it as an iMessage, otherwise it will send it as a text message.

Still so far so good.

Now that contact stops using iMessage - the example given being that they switch devices, keeping the same number. They didn't "turn iMessage off", because why on Earth does that seem like a logical thing to have to do? Especially if, say, they switched devices because their iPhone died; in which case, they can't turn it off (or can they? Oh yes, they can contact Apple Support; http://support.apple.com/kb/TS... [apple.com] ).

Now you send them a message. The iMessage app is clueless and sends an iMessage because hey, nobody ever told it that the contact is no longer using iMessage. iMessage will eventually come back and say that it failed, and you as the sender either send again or shrug it off, but it might not occur to you to send as a text message instead. If you even can. Yes, if it already failed, you can hold the text and force that to send as text message. But the very next one you send is going to be an iMessage again. Of course, you can disable iMessage on your end, but that disables sending iMessage to all of your contacts. Short of deleting pre-existing iMessages for a given contact, it doesn't seem there's a way to just flip the "this contact uses iMessage" bit.

But here's the rub.. they shouldn't have to explicitly set anything at all.
A. Receive iMessage from contact -> set iMessage bit on contact.
B. Receive text message from contact -> clear iMessage bit on contact if present.
C. Failed iMessage -> re-send. Failed again? -> re-send as text. Delivered? (if supported by the networks) -> clear iMessage bit. Otherwise, see A/B.
D. User enables / disables iMessage explicitly -> set state in central registry (Apple ID is involved, right?).
E. Every once in a while, send as an iMessage anyway if the central registry suggests that the user really should have iMessage because they never turned it off. Worst case: the send ends up with situation C said 'every once in a while', which would be transparent to them. Best case: after a few of those, even the central registry could get a clue and disable the iMessage bit on their end, allowing it to propagate.
Having the onus of 'iMessage bit' state at the sender's side be solely on the end of the recipient is stupid.

I wouldn't say that it is a case of lock-in, though. Just a suboptimal approach. (And yes, I realize there's potential issues with A-E above as well). The bit that makes it peculiar, to say the least, is that this problem has been complained about since at least the end of 2011. Just not by enough people for it to be "an actual story", I guess.

Correct me if any of the above is wrong - I'm certainly not an iPhone user so I've only got the most basic of google search results as my sources.

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 months ago | (#46372657)

They didn't "turn iMessage off", because why on Earth does that seem like a logical thing to have to do?

Because they originally turned iMessage on.

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 7 months ago | (#46372821)

And then they turned their phone off. Do you expect Firefox to still be refreshing your tabs while your computer is powered off and dismantled?

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | about 7 months ago | (#46372933)

And then they turned their phone off. Do you expect Firefox to still be refreshing your tabs while your computer is powered off and dismantled?

They may have turned their phone off, but that doesn't mean that they turned off their iPod Touch, iPad, or Mac that are all capable of receiving iMessages.

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 7 months ago | (#46372959)

I'll admit I haven't ever used an Apple product and so don't know the details of how iMessage works, plus it's 3 am and I can't sleep. However, I don't recall other Apple devices being mentioned, rather a PHONE NUMBER being moved from one kind of phone to another - and suddenly what people may have THOUGHT were SMS messages suddenly not appearing. If they were receiving the messages on their iPad, iPod or Mac instead there wouldn't be as much of a problem with going days without getting any messages and not knowing something was wrong, right?

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46372941)

They didn't "turn iMessage off", because why on Earth does that seem like a logical thing to have to do?

Because they originally turned iMessage on.

Did they? I thought iMessage defaulted to on with the introduction of its feature as part of the standard messaging app in iOS 5? Or is the act of upgrading / buying it new equivalent to 'turning it on'?

That as an aside (albeit an important one), you didn't really answer the (rhetorical, I might add) question. Why would it seem like a logical thing to have todo. Of course it's logical to turn it off if you're aware of the mess you're going to be in if you don't. But is it logical to have to and not have any other suitable solution in case you did indeed forget, or simply can't (without Apple Customer care intervention).

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

Lysol (11150) | about 7 months ago | (#46372859)

Yah, you're pretty much right. Honestly, I dunno why this is such a big deal. Apple's intent here is to bypass the carriers - anyone remember the at&t mms debacle?

If you're using Apple devices, iMessage is great since it's encrypted end to end and 'just works'. If you're using something else, you can still get messages from iOS devices - I do this all the time. I have friends that have left iMessage and sms still works fine.

Not sure what the big conspiracy is here, except more Samsung fud..?

Everyone is moving off of sms, that's why you see more an more messaging apps. I'm not giving Apple a pass, or Microsoft, or anyone else. This is just the natural evolution of smartphones gobbling up carrier services. I don't think the device makers are the ones to blame here - the carriers are the ones that gauge everyone for ridiculous fees for sms. As a user, I would expect my device/os company to create solutions to work around the rip off that is sms.

Re:Isn't there, though? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372961)

People with low cost or free SMS messaging aren't moving off to anything very fast.

Re:Isn't there, though? (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 7 months ago | (#46372929)

You pretty much got it right. What I'm unclear about, however, is why this is an issue at all. If an iMessage fails to deliver, the Messages app on iOS falls back to sending it as an SMS instead, which should still get through to someone on their new, non-iPhone device. The only reason I can imagine it not doing so is if it thinks it actually succeeded in sending the message, but that would only happen if the recipient had configured an iPod Touch, iPad, or Mac computer to also receive iMessages on their behalf, in which case the message actually is getting delivered, just not to the expected devices (though that would be clear to them, so they'd know to go and de-register their old iPhone if they didn't want to wait for Apple to do it automatically).

Maybe I'm missing something too?

Re:Isn't there, though? (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46372983)

As I can't mod you up - have a "Thank You" comment. I have to admit that a lot of the google search results are very unclear on whether there's any fallback on delivery failure (recipient not using iMessage) and whether or not that is the same as a fallback on send failure (sender has no data connectivity, say).

If it falls back on delivery automatically, then I don't know why this is an issue either; again, that would be transparent. Except in the case you mention.. which I can certainly imagine being a bit confusing but hopefully easily detected (though how much would it suck if you're on a short vacation and left your iPad at home, quietly collecting the iMessages until its battery runs out, and you not getting those messages. It's interesting to know how edge cases are handled. )

Re:Isn't there, though? (3, Informative)

Above (100351) | about 7 months ago | (#46373097)

You are correct about the behavior, but I think I can explain why Apple made the choices at work here.

It turns out iMessages are cryptographically secured with public key cryptography using a per device key. There is a recent Techcrunch Article [techcrunch.com] that details what they have released, but it appears to be a highly secure implementation. Each device has a private key that never leaves the device. An iMessage is actually encrypted to multiple public keys so each device can read it. No one outside the device holder, not even Apple, has the ability to decrypt messages.

I think the argument Apple would make, and I would agree with is to fall back to SMS would be insecure. It's possible to conceive of ways an attacker could prevent an iMessage from being delivered (a Denial of Service attack, for instance). That could force a fallback to SMS, which is often not well secured and/or permanently archived by the carrier or governments. Worse, with your algorithm simply sending someone a text message from a spoofed source would clear the bit, and might result in an insecure communication.

As a result, I would argue if you value strong encryption and privacy, Apple's choices make perfect sense. Turn on strong crypto when you can, and don't automatically fall back to something without strong crypto.

Pure FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372327)

So basically, if you start a messages session on your iphone, with another messages account and then for some unknown reason decide that you're not going to use your iPhone to continue the conversation but switch to a completely different phone that you're also paying for service on for some reason, you can't continue that conversation over messages. Of course, you can just send a text message from your other phone to your friend and keep going but I guess that's too difficult.

Re:Pure FUD (2, Informative)

Holi (250190) | about 7 months ago | (#46372393)

But on any other phone I can still continue to receive texts from everyone. With apple if the the other person doesn't delete the message thread they can't reach you. This has nothing to do with what I can do to fix the issue. Apple's version of free always comes with a hefty price.

Why is imessage opt put instead of opt in if not to create a vendor lock in situation.

Re:Pure FUD (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372691)

So being a member of Google+ just for signing up for Gmail is vendor lockin too? Thanks for clearing that up.

Re:Pure FUD (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46372421)

So basically, if you start a messages session on your iphone, with another messages account and then for some unknown reason decide that you're not going to use your iPhone to continue the conversation but switch to a completely different phone that you're also paying for service on for some reason, you can't continue that conversation over messages. Of course, you can just send a text message from your other phone to your friend and keep going but I guess that's too difficult.

If you kept your number, your friend still on Messages will see your text in their Messages conversation and, when replying, will think it got sent to you but in reality it gets sent to your Message account which should be (but isn't) disabled.

As far as I can tell form the shitty summary, anyway.

Android does it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372353)

Android does the exact same thing with Hangouts or whatever the hell it's called now.

Re:Android does it too (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 7 months ago | (#46372437)

Hangouts works on any device connected to the internet, phone, PC, whatever. It uses the open XMPP protocol. It's a shame Google left the federation however.

Re:Android does it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372599)

1. The XMPPdiots *still* don't get the difference between an e164/misdn and a jid.
2. Hangouts does not use XMPP, never has, probably never will.
3. Using XMPP (on GooTalk) without federation is as usefull as using $proprietary_protocoll_4711.

Re:Android does it too (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 7 months ago | (#46372793)

The fact is you can use any XMPP client to send messages to those using Google Hangouts / Google Talk. If you want to communicate with iMessage users you need an iProduct and a software written by Apple. So even without the federation, it is much more useful than a proprietary protocol.

Re:Android does it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372621)

Great, but that's still not the intended behavior for someone who was using it as a SMS replacement.

Re:Android does it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372975)

Really? That's odd, because I use android, and when I send a text message, it sends a text message. When I go into google hangouts, and send a text there, it uses my data plan. But shit, I had no idea it was subverting my intentions behind my back. Now if only it would figure out some of my friends who are also on android that keep sending me texts, to actually send them as google hangout messages so I wouldn't be charged since I don't have a text plan, that would be great.

But then again, me's be thinking you's be full of shit.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372401)

Come on. How many people know in advance of buying a new phone that they're going to have problems with text messages if they switch away from their iPhone? What, are you suggesting that they buy an Android phone and then immediately return it because their text messages don't work on the new phone, and then go back and buy another iPhone? Because that's the only way I can possibly see this promoting lock-in.

Reset Your Apple ID Password (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372457)

If you wipe your phone before turning off iMessage, reset your Apple ID password and your problem is solved. I had this happen to me.

Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (1, Informative)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 7 months ago | (#46372459)

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.

Re:Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (2)

PapayaSF (721268) | about 7 months ago | (#46372577)

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.

Re:Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372719)

140Mandick is the biggest Linux shill there is. He probably never owned a Mac in the first place. Just go see some of the other lying shit he posts and you'll know it's safe to ignore his bullshit lies.

iPhoto? Not exactly.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372827)

Sorry, but this is actually a bit more about user ignorance than anything else. Not only can you export the photos from iPhoto, as PapayaSF suggests (or drag-and-drop them, btw), but you can also prevent the OS from automatically opening iPhoto to import your camera's photos at all. As this article [tekrevue.com] suggests, you can go to iPhoto's preferences (General section), and in the "Connecting camera opens:" field, choose Image Capture or no application at all. If you choose Image Capture, you can have it import your photos to any folder of your choosing in the Finder. You never have to use iPhoto again.

Should that setting be in System Preferences instead of iPhoto? Yes. Is it therefore kind of poorly implemented? Yes. Is this an example of vendor lock-in? No.

Vendor lock-in is more along the lines of changing the file format to a proprietary one as the files are imported, which iPhoto doesn't do. If you start poking around inside the iPhoto Library package file, you'll find that the original .jpg files are all there. Encrypted music or video files would actually be a much more meaningful example of vendor lock-in.

Re:Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 7 months ago | (#46372873)

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

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

Re:Apple and Microsoft are so much alike (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372893)

You're a fucking retard, then. Drag the photos from iphoto onto the desktop. Takes less then a second. Tada! Jpeg images. Hard, wasn't it.

Turn in your geek creds, man. The "File - Export" option was another clear choice. 2 years to figure that out? And you blame Apple?

Lock-in presupposes forethought on switching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372487)

The "lock-in" angle presupposes people will think about the consequences of switching before switching. I don't think there are many people that do that. Those that do, will figure out how to fix it first. Those that don't will have to figure it out after they switch. Very little "lock-in" motivation there.

The lock-in angle for me is my DRM restricted iTunes Movies and TV-Shows.

T-minus Eight Days and Counting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372499)

Hey, Clock Monkey! Citizens Everywhere Will Damage Their Biological Rhythm for Society's Good; Will You Be One of Them? Jump, Boy, Jump!

Huh? (0)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46372531)

It's 2014, do people somewhere still pay by the message?

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373003)

Yup! I even pay by the message on messages received. Welcome to Canada.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373021)

Yes, those of us who have data plans and therefor prefer to be contacted via IM rather than text. The cheapest texting plan from my carrier (verizon) is $5 a month. I get about 4 texts a month, as most people use IM. As such, it's a waste of money to have a text plan, since that costs me $0.80 a month. But then again, I tend to believe no family plan doesn't come with texting, but not everybody has a family plan to be a member of.

Re:Huh? (1)

ohieaux (2860669) | about 7 months ago | (#46373073)

Wife and I have a family plan with separate data and shared minutes. AT&T wants $30/month for the a texting plan. Even at $0.20/text, we don't come close to $30.

Welcome to 3 years ago! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372541)

Ever since iMessage was introduced in what was it.. iOS 4, people have known about this "feature". Welcome to slashdot headlines from 2011. Just silly rant from some guy who didn't understand what iMessage does because it was a new feature 3 years ago.

Come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372605)

Oh look I'm stuck in beta.

Cheers slashdot, you are officially removed from my bm list, off to ars with me.

Irrelevant (1)

m.dillon (147925) | about 7 months ago | (#46372617)

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

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372763)

As someone looking into this right now. You are correct. Verizon sprint and t mobile do not seem to have new plans without unlimited domestic text messaging.

Re:Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372989)

As a verizon subscriber myself, I'll be the first to say. They all offer unlimited texting. For an additional 10 bucks a month. I know this, because I don't have a text plan, because I have a data plan. And I yell at my friends to use hangouts rather than text me, and some can't get it through their skulls. But unless this is new within the last 10 months, they charge for unlimited texting.

Automatically switches to text? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46372639)

Anytime I've sent an iMessage to a friend who had bad signal or didn't have signal, or they sent me one when I had no signal, it has automatically switched to sending a text message. Does this not work for anyone else?

Oh, and iMessages is locking me in? I don't think so. That would be all the apps I've bought. Some of them not cheap.

BBM all over again (1)

Saud Naji Alzaid (3553489) | about 7 months ago | (#46372785)

I recall a similar problem I had when transitioning from blackberry (both my iphone and blackberry are/were my work phone). Was hell trying to figure out how to deal with contacts etc still using bbm ......

Re:BBM all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373177)

I recall a similar problem I had when transitioning from blackberry (both my iphone and blackberry are/were my work phone). Was hell trying to figure out how to deal with contacts etc still using bbm ......

Seriously? BBM is available on iphone and android.

On the blackberry, backup your BBM settings to your blackberry ID, then sign in with BBM on your iphone.

Your BBM contacts now appear automagically on your iphone.

On blackberry, it was always clear what type of message you are sending to someone - you don't have the option of sending a message and letting Steve Jobs figure out what protocol it should go by.

lifehacker summary? (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 7 months ago | (#46372985)

I read the summary. The summary sounds like some cheap ass lifehacker story. In true /. tradition, i'm posting after reading the summary without RTFA.

Hope they will do a BETA first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46373119)

Fuck BETA

Idiotic point (1)

mr100percent (57156) | about 7 months ago | (#46373141)

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?

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