Switching to an iPhone is relatively easy, but switching away from it to devices such as Google Android handsets can be problematic -- namely, disconnecting a phone number from Apple's proprietary messaging service, iMessage. To remedy this, Apple released a new Web page on Sunday that helps facilitate the process of disabling iMessage for those users.
The page, titled “Deregister iMessage,” first walks users through turning off iMessage if they happen to have their old iPhone available. But for those who no longer have access to Apple's smartphone, the company provides a simple tool on the page that sends a text message code to their new mobile device. From there, users only have to input the six digit code to confirm the iMessage deregistration.
Users switching away from the iPhone often found that their colleagues, friends and family using iPhones couldn’t send them text messages since iMessage wasn’t shut off. This is due to the way that iMessage works, by automatically defaulting to sending iMessages to phone numbers registered on the service, instead of text messages.
This left users jumping through technical support hoops and a number of workarounds to deregister their phone numbers with the service, prior to Apple’s release of the Deregister iMessage tool. And it has led to at least one lawsuit in May filed in California, where plaintiff Adrienne Moore alleged that Apple was penalizing users for switching away from iMessage.
The company has reportedly been aware of the issue since the release of iMessage in 2011 and also warns users about turning off the service before moving to a device that doesn’t support it.