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U.S. District Judge Koh Says Apple Must Face Missing Text Message Lawsuit

November 12, 2014 - Written By Mark Collins

We have been hearing about this for a while now, but back in May we heard from former Apple user Adrienne Moore who filed a lawsuit against Apple because she was losing texts from iPhone users after she switched to an Android device. She had realized that she was missing the texts because of either a bug, or an intentional issue that caused texts to be lost because of the device switch. Apple has been ordered to face a U.S. federal lawsuit regarding the issue, claiming that Apple failed to inform consumers that the iMessage system would block the messages if they were to change to a non-Apple device.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California has said that Apple must face Adrienne Moore claim which states that the blocking interferes with the contract that she had with Verizon Wireless after she switched from an Apple iPhone 4 to a Samsung S5. Moore is seeking a class action settlement claiming that Apple failed to disclose that the software would block texts from being received from other Apple iPhone users if the receiver switched to a non-Apple device. Koh has decided that Moore will get her chance to show how Apple has managed to disrupt the messages being sent in turn also disrupting her wireless contract with Verizon Wireless. In court documents, Interesting enough, Apple replied by stating that they never claimed that the service iMessage or Messages application would recognize if a user switched to rival devices.

The issue is caused by iMessage which uses Apple Pushed Notification Services (APNS) protocol, a proprietary binary protocol for messaging inter Apple devices if a message is sent. If the person switches devices iMessage blocks the message from being sent rather than having a means to send as text over voice services as most phones do. For Android users that are unfamiliar with iMessage, the new Hangouts app has a similar feature that can operate as a text messenger, but it does not block the message if a user switches device platforms.

Apple has known of the issue but has ignored it for several years, but has decided to only recently release a tool that will allow people to de-register from the iMessage service after switching to Android, Windows or other platforms. You can find the details in Moore et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-02269.