Fix the iMessage Android Bug With This Free Tool

iMessage removal tool
Apple's iMessage number removal tool.

Last Updated: Nov. 10, 2014

If you've switched from iPhone to Android, you may have encountered a frustrating bug: some text messages don't get delivered to you and neither you nor the person sending the text knows it. For a long time, Apple didn't acknowledge this bug so there wasn't much to do to fix it, but that's all changed with Apple's release of a free tool to remove your phone number from iMessage.

 

The Cause of the Bug

When two iPhone users are texting with each other, by default their messages are sent via iMessage, Apple's free iPhone-to-iPhone messaging tool (you can know a text has been sent via iMessage because your word balloon in the Messages app is blue). When one person in a conversation has an iPhone and the other person has another kind of phone—Android, for instance—traditional text messaging is used (represented by the green word balloon).  

No problems so far. The problem comes in when someone who used to have an iPhone, and thus used iMessage, switches to Android or another platform. In that scenario, Apple's system sometimes fails to recognize that a switch has been made and it will still try to deliver the text via iMessage.

Because the iMessage network is totally separate from the standard text messaging network, the message dead-ends and never gets delivered to its recipient.

To make matters worse, the sender doesn't know that the message wasn't delivered, either.

Fix the Bug With Apple's Free Tool

Apple has released a free tool that lets former iPhone users unregister their phone numbers from iMessage, which prevents texts sent to them from falling prey to the bug. If you used to be an iPhone user, and have switched to Android and aren't getting some texts, do the following:

  1. Go to Apple's Deregister iMessage website
  2. Scroll to the section titled "No longer have your iPhone?"
  3. Enter your phone number (this assumes that you carried your phone number from your iPhone to your new Android phone) and click Send Code
  4. You will receive a text message on your new phone with a 6-digit confirmation code in it
  5. Enter that code into the website and click Submit. This removes your number from iMessage and solves the problem.

Fix the Bug Before Switching to Android

If you're planning to switch to Android, but haven't done so yet, there's an easier way to prevent the bug from happening: remove your number from iMessage now. This means that you won't be able to get free iMessages any longer, but all of those messages will be delivered as text messages, so you won't miss anything. 

To do this:

  1. Tap the Settings app
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Move the iMessage slider to Off/white.

Fix the Bug If You Still Have Your iPhone

If you've already switched to Android, but haven't yet recycled or sold your used iPhone, there's another way to solve the bug. In that case:

  1. Take the SIM card from your new phone and insert it into your iPhone. This temporarily moves your phone number back to the iPhone
  2. Tap the Settings app
  1. Tap Messages
  2. Move the iMessage slider to Off/white
  3. Put the SIM card back in your new phone.