You can scoff at Adrienne Moore, the woman who is suing Apple in a California federal court claiming she was deprived of the full benefit of her Samsung Android phone because the iMessage account on her old iPhone allegedly wouldn’t pass on text messages from other iPhone users. But several former iPhone customers have told Business Insider that they were forced to go back to old iPhones, or buy new ones, against their will after buying Androids simply because they could no longer receive texts from iPhone users.
The issue has cost some of them hundreds of dollars in wasted Android phone purchases.
One man told us he was forced to give up his Android because his inability to receive texts from iPhones was affecting his business. Another said he missed texts from his boss and was afraid for his job if he continued without an iPhone.
Most said they were simply frustrated because they couldn’t get message from their spouses or loved ones who used iPhones. All of them seem to be furious at being forced back into the Apple system against their will. (Although they’re not quite as angry as the holdouts who live without texts from people they know using iPhones and refuse to go back to Apple, according to emails we’ve gotten from Business Insider readers.)
We drew these stories from the more than 400 people who emailed us after we published a series of stories about the way iMessage can prevent texts from being transmitted to Android phones, especially when a user has switched from an iPhone to an Android (or other brand) and kept the same phone number.
We’ve repeatedly asked Apple for comment but the company has told us it won’t comment on matters to do with pending litigation. (If any other Apple employees can explain what’s going on with iMessage, please email us at [email protected] We’re happy to take your information in confidence.)
The problem does have a solution, but it can be complicated. See our step-by-step guide to turning off iMessage here.
Jan Henderzahs, a former Apple employee, told us that she wasted $US500 on a Samsung Galaxy S5 after she switched jobs. “My entire office uses iPhones,” she says. “I switched to the Samsung Galaxy S5 for personal reasons and after two weeks of not getting coworkers’ texts, including my bosses, I was forced to switch back to my iPhone. … it is a very frustrating situation to be in.”
We’re not saying that the problem is so widespread that it’s actually retarding the sales of Android phones. But it is certainly common enough that retailers are aware of it. Two people who work in mobile retail — one for Verizon and one at Staples — told us that they’d either seen customers return Samsung phones to get iPhones back because of the iMessage issue, or that they’d seen customers shy away from Androids once they’d been informed that switching from Apple might cost them messages from friends.
Here’s a selection of (unedited) stories from the emails we received:
Kenneth Myers: “I got the phone at staples where I work now as the tech supervisor, and anytime a customer comes in to buy a phone I make sure to let them know that if they are switching from apple to android they may have some issues with texting. I feel it has torpedoed some sales but I don’t want a customer to be uninformed.”
Jonathan Eells: “I work in a Verizon retail store and recently switched from an iphone to a Samsung note 3. I recently had to deal with this issue multiple times and informed many of my customer who were switching that they would not receive messages. … I had a customer return a brand new s4 after experiencing this problem. I explained how to go about getting it fixed but they said ‘I can’t not get messages as much as I don’t like my Iphone and love the s4 I need to get all my messages.’ I couldn’t believe how apple had gotten this customer right where they wanted them. I was also upset because I had now lost out on any money I made in the sale and couldn’t believe the audacity of apple.”
Jan Henderzahs: “I have indeed experienced the problem. My entire office uses iPhones I switched to the Samsung galaxy S5 for personal reasons and after two weeks of not getting coworkers text including my bosses I was forced to switch back to my iPhone. I was on day 16 of 14 allowed to return the Samsung back to Verizon to Verizon would not allow me to return it either therefore I am stuck with a $US500 device because I also purchased the Samsung gear 2 watch and have no way of returning the two devices. I myself am a former Apple employee and have almost one of each of Apple’s products it is a very frustrating situation to be in.”
Jackie DeCicco: “I had so many issues with receiving text messages on my android phone from iphone users that I finally broke down and bought the iphone 5s. Everyone I know had an iphone and every time I was involved in a group text it would take forever to receive the messages if I received them at all. I was always against the apple phones because I’ve been told they are just basic phones and that the androids can do so much more. The texting issue was so frustrating that I finally switched from android to iphone just last week. My messages come through just fine now.”
Mike Haddan: “I then went back to t-mobile to explain that I had been trying to fix my phone for the past few weeks and that I needed to return it and re-purchase an iphone. It was past their return policy so they refused to take my phone back. I unfortunately took out my anger on the employees there but they eventually let me return the phone and buy a new iphone. I don’t want to have an iphone but I have no alternative. If I want to be a part of any group text or guarantee that I receive texts from my friends, I unfortunately need to stay with apple.”
Jess Pham: “Yep. I’m an iPhone user that have switched to Samsung S4 and am experiencing non deliverable text messages sent from an iPhone user to my Android. It is soooo frustrating that I have had to now revert back to using my old iPhone 4 since I’ve used my 2 year upgrade to purchase the Samsung S4. I’m approaching the 1 yr mark with my current upgrade but still have another year before I could upgrade to a different/faster phone. Bummer!”
Colin Huse: “I was a ‘victim’ of this problem. Same solution…after few days I had to go back to iPhone because it was effecting my business.”
Jill Domanski: Then when I tried to return the phone to verizon and go back to my crappy iphone, they told me that it wasn’t their problem and i missed the window to return. The manager at verizon told me to sell the phone on ebay. Ridiculous. I ended up calling verizon and worked my way up the chain and finally got an empathic employee who said that she would accept the return, refund my money and reinstate my upgrade. I just shipped it out. Glad to be done with this madness. I still hate my iphone.”
Aly Assar: “I read your post about this issue and I had the same issue. I bought a note 3 for my wife switching from iPhone 4s and I could not send messages to her from my iPhone. Finally I had to return the note 3 and move get back to iPhone.”
Alexandra Rodriguez: “I ended up switching back to an iPhone within a few months. Yes, the brand-new Windows 8 platform and App Store were young and still lacking, but I can say with absolute honesty that the frustration with text messages is what caused me to jump ship. I would have been happy to watch the new phone grow and better itself with software updates, but ultimately the inconvenience of the text message situation was simply not worth it for me.”
Brett Bell: I had an unbelievably hard time switching over. I basically wanted a better operating system, bigger screen, and an overall better phone. I was told by their rep that if I didn’t ‘raise hell’ like I did, the process to switch over would be 45 days. Despite that, I did ‘raise hell’ and still couldn’t go to the android. It took me 4 days, while in sales, to have swallow the pill of going back to an iPhone. If you need anyone to testify, I’m your guy.”
Tanner Kilander: “I called Sprint, they could only assure me that the iphone was deactivated and should no longer be receiving messages. I was determined to keep the s5, because I really liked the phone and I didn’t want to reward Apple with additional business when they were holding my texts hostage. But I soon realised that the risk was too great … I had clients, my boss, friends and family members trying to reach me, and I got in trouble quickly. My boss had apparently texted me several times about an important issue, and of course I had not responded. That was enough to push me back, reluctantly, to my old 4s. Best Buy had been helping me consistently with this issue since I initially realised it was happening, and they were kind enough to allow me to return the s5 after 33 days. Now I am waiting for the iphone 6 to come out, trying to figure out a way to avoid throwing hundreds more dollars at Apple but still receive my texts. I WISH I had time to sue them, I was happy to see that someone else did.”
Joseph Lucero: “Same thing happened to me and my wife when we got the lg g2 and I got the problem resolved on my phone but my wife’s wouldn’t resolve it! So instantly we were fed up with android systems all together and immediately switched back to iPhone! We got the 5s and problem solved but were pretty much done with androids before we started to hear that it was an occurring problem with several others! Bs!!!!!”
Ivan Hernandez: “Me being an apple faithful, I feared it would be difficult to make the switch. However I found myself quickly falling in love with all the features that Samsung provides that apple doesn’t on their latest phones. That was until I noticed that I can no longer flawlessly communicate with very important people such as my boss, business partners, and close friends. All of whom which are iphone users and whom I must communicate daily. I was told that I had 14 days to go back and swap to an iphone if I didn’t like my new gadget, and each day I find myself more and more convinced that I shall indeed do so because my iphone using contacts cannot get a hold of me no matter what is done.”
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