Ever feel like your friends have been ignoring your texts? If you’ve been an iPhone user in the recent past and have since moved on to a different platform, there may be a technical explanation: For years, Apple’s routing of messages through its proprietary iMessage system has led to massive amounts of texts to be sent into nothingness.
The problem is that once iPhone users are no longer using iOS, they cannot accept texts through iMessage, which is only compatible with iOS devices. However, friends can still send that user texts — and when they do, those messages can get lost in Apple’s servers, never to be seen by their intended recipients.
There have always been ways to avoid this problem: Affected users could simply disable iMessage before they switch devices, or re-insert an old SIM card into their last iPhone and turn off the app from there. Those who got rid of their iPhones before doing any of this, however, have always been out of luck. The only way to proceed in that case is to manually deregister an old device from their Apple accounts altogether, a typically annoying process.
Thankfully, Apple has now released a simpler fix. With its new web tool, you can now deregister iMessage from your old phone just by entering your affected device’s phone number and a corresponding SMS confirmation code. The site arrives months after some users affected by iMessage’s invisible texts filed a class-action lawsuit against the Cupertino company over the issue. So if it seems that the number of texts you receive has dropped dramatically since switching from iOS to Android or Windows Phone, you may want to investigate; the problem may be Apple’s.