A federal judge has ordered Apple to face a plaintiff in court over claims that the company penalized users for switching away from its iMessage service. Reuters

Apple will have to face a U.S. federal lawsuit, which claims that the Cupertino, California firm failed to notify customers that switching away from iOS and iMessage could prevent them from receiving text messages from other iPhone users. The case centers on the claims brought forth by plaintiff Adrienne Moore in May, who alleges that Apple’s iMessage “penalized” device owners who chose to switch to another platform such as Google’s Android.

"Plaintiff does not have to allege an absolute right to receive every text message in order to allege that Apple's intentional acts have caused an actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship," Judge Lucy H. Koh wrote, according to Reuters.

The court order came after Apple released a webpage to deregister phone numbers tied to the iMessage service. The page first provides users instructions to turn off iMessage if they happen to have their old iPhone available. But for those without access to the previous iPhone, the company allows users to unregister from the service through a tool on the site.

Prior to the tool’s release, some users that switched away from the iPhone found that they weren’t receiving messages from other iPhone users. This was due to the way that iMessage works: By associating a phone number with iMessage, converting would be text messages to iMessages. Those users sometimes found themselves utilizing workarounds and making technical support calls in order to get their phone numbers removed from the iMessage service, which was first introduced in 2011 with the release of iOS 5.

Moore seeks a class-action status for the lawsuit and unspecified damages.