iOS-to-Android switcher sues Apple over iMessage's SMS vanishing act

Apple is on the receiving end of a lawsuit in the US over an iMessage bug that prevents former iOS users from receiving SMS messages on their non-iOS devices.

Apple is being sued by a former iPhone owner over a bug in iMessage that prevents text messages from iPhones being delivered to her Android device.

For iPhone owners who switch to Android, Apple's iMessage is turning out to be chasm that users on each platform can't cross — and, due to its widespread nature, one that may prompt a class-action suit against the company.

Filed last Thursday in a Californian district court, plaintiff Adrienne Moore claimed Apple "interfered" with cellular service contracts by preventing subscribers from receiving their text messages, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The problem lies in iMessage, the messaging app that Apple rolled out with iOS 5. The app lets iPhone users send text messages to other iOS devices over a wi-fi network when there's one available, thus avoiding the fee an operator typically charges for carrying a text message over their mobile network.

The catch with iMessage is that it can make porting a mobile phone number to a non-iOS device problematic due to a bug in iMessage that makes it impossible to untangle the number from the messaging service. The result is that when iPhone users try to send a text to that number, now on an Android device, the message isn't delivered.

According to the complaint, published by Apple Insider, that's what happened after Moore replaced her iPhone 4 with a Galaxy S5 earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Apple's support staff reportedly confirmed to Adam Pash, the former chief editor of Lifehacker, that "a lot of people are facing" the "iMessage purgatory" and that there's currently no real fix for the bug.

It's not the first time the bug has made the news — many users reported the problem with iMessage after the release of iOS 7. Apple subsequently released a fix for the issue, yet there appears to be no sign of it going away just yet.

ZDNet has asked Apple for comment and we'll update the story if any is forthcoming.

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