iMessage bug allows stolen iPhones to send texts from original Apple ID after remote wipe

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| December 15, 2011


Looks like Windows Phone isn't the only mobile platform suffering from a messaging-related bug this week. A bug has recently been discovered with Apple's new iMessage service that allows a lost or stolen iPhone to continue sending and receiving iMessages using the original owner's Apple ID, even after a remote wipe has been performed on the device.

Reports of the problem have apparently been cropping up since October, but it's only now getting major attention after an Ars Technica reader brought the issue to the site's attention. The story goes that the reader's wife had her phone stolen, so they deactivated the device with their carrier, performed a remote wipe, and changed the wife's Apple ID password. Shortly thereafter, though, it was discovered that the thief sold the stolen phone to some other person that began sending and receiving iMessages under the wife's identity, even though the handset had since been set up with a new number. When the reader then began texting the new owner of the phone, his messages were being sent to the stolen device and his wife's new phone simultaneously. Unfortunately, the new owner was uncooperative.

The bug is definitely a strange one, no? What's worse is that there's no word yet on exactly what's causing the problem or how to fix it, and Apple has yet to address the problem, so we're all left to speculate on our own for the time being. As of now the only fix seems to be completely canceling an old Apple ID, which unfortunately also means losing access to all iTunes Store purchases made with that ID. It's definitely a tough pill to swallow, but it may be worth it to folks that have had their iPhone stolen and don't want their personal messages being read by a stranger. We'll keep an eye on this situation going forward and let you know when we hear more.

Via The Verge, MacRumors (1), (2), Ars Technica, Apple forums

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