U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh today decided to stop a group lawsuit against Apple over undelivered text messages caused by an iMessage bug, Bloomberg reports. The issue drew a lot of attention last year when the bug with Apple’s messaging system caused former iPhone users that switched to Android to discover text messages were not being properly delivered to their phone number. In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Koh explained that while Apple’s iMessage system may have resulted in lost text messages, their was inadequate evidence that the group faced a “contractual breach or interference” from iMessage…
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Switching from Apple’s Internet-based iMessage system, which is only available on Apple devices, to non-iMessage SMS/MMS messaging used by Android and other smartphones required actively disabling the iMessage feature on iPhone before switching to avoid lost text messages.
News first surfaced that Apple would potentially face a group lawsuit over the text message delivery issue for former iPhone users in May 2014. This plus the attention around the issue lead Apple in November to release an online tool for current and former iMessage users to deregister phone numbers with Apple’s messaging platform without needing the iPhone originally used with the service. Just two days later, we learned that Judge Koh decided Apple would indeed have to face the lawsuit over iMessage preventing texts from being delivered.
Today’s development in dismissing the case over an inability to provide evidence of proper interference means Apple will not have to pour resources into defending itself in the lawsuit.
The issue with iMessage holding on to phone numbers after switching remains mostly unchanged, however, with Apple continuing to advise switchers to disable iMessage before changing to another platform. If a user does switch without indicating to Apple that the phone number will no longer be used with iMessage, Apple’s tool for requesting the phone number be removed from Apple’s servers is still the default solution.