On any given day, iMessage is one of those things that I’m actually pretty okay with. When it comes to software I can be pretty easily dissuaded from wanting to use something, but iMessage has made me a believer in its system through plenty of trials. I use iMessage quite a bit, and now that Apple’s Messages will let me use a Mac to continue that conversation, even in a standard SMS, well, I pretty much rely on it at this point.
I’m learning how to not pick up my phone every 10 seconds, so that’s a bonus. And maybe that means I can actually use a smartwach one day.
But, last week, I don’t think I could have hated iMessage more if I tried. Truth be told, I’ve had my fair share of issues with Apple’s service in the past, especially as someone who used to switch phones quite a bit. Before Apple finally got around to making it possible to remove a phone number from iMessage’s servers, switching to Android or Windows Phone or BlackBerry usually meant not receiving text messages for a good long while.
Not receiving text messages, especially those originally sent as iMessages, was a problem, but Apple worked it out. They made it better. Not a ton better, but at least a whole lot better than it used to be. Now, if you do decide to leave the iOS/Mac universe, you can go to a website and remove your phone number from iMessage and you should be good to go. In fact, I haven’t heard of any people having any issues after removing their number, so that must be working to some effect.
So, last week, a friend of mine broke their iPhone and they had to switch to something else. Now, this person wasn’t able to get into their Settings and turn off iMessage on the iPhone, so they let the phone die (because it was useless) and then they turned off iMessage on their Mac. And on an iPad. So, the iPhone was turned off, the Mac was iMessage disabled and so was the iPad. Effectively, iMessage was inaccessible from any one of these devices.
And yet, iMessage refused to let any messages sent from an iMessage-equipped account (mine) be sent as a standard text message. Sure, there were times when iMessage would hang up for a few seconds, and I could tap-and-hold on the outgoing message to “Send as Text Message,” but that only worked a few times. And, racing something like iMessage just to send a text message was maddening.
iMessage has to be smarter than this. iMessage’s nuclear option of removing your number from the server, especially if it’s just for a short period of time because you have a broken phone, is borderline stupid. If there are three devices connected to an Apple account, one of which is powered off and the two others are disconnected from iMessage, then iMessage should be able to figure out to send a text message, and not an iMessage.
It would be one thing if the iMessage tried to send, waited —even a minute or two— and ultimately failed and tried to send that iMessage as a text instead. Yes, I know that iMessage is supposed to do that, but it definitely didn’t work in this specific situation.
Last Friday my friend got iMessage back and all’s right with the world again, and I’m back to loving iMessage, but that week trying to make iMessage get with the program was not okay at all. I sure hope iMessage gets a lot smarter sooner, rather than later.