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New Apple iMessage de-registration tool lets you switch to Windows Phone and reclaim your SMS

Apple had launched a new tool to make it easier for iOS users to switch to a competing smartphone platform and not lose text messages. Previously, iPhone users who switched to a rival operating system would still have their numbers locked into Apple's iMessage servers, creating problems with text messages not showing up. Now, with the new tool, users can unregister their numbers from the iMessage system and text messages won't be lost should you switch to a different platform.

The web-based tool allows you to enter your phone number into the system and Apple will send you a confirmation code via SMS. You'll need to type the code into the browser and your number will be released and freed from iMessage.

Source: Apple (opens in new tab); via: The Verge, Reddit

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. For news tips or to connect, please message him on the Signal messaging app at +1 (424) 666-7438. 

107 Comments
  • Finally!
  • Time to switch to Lumia like Nokia says
  • Nokia is dead. Now keep moving. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • The Windows Phone Central App is dead. Move on please. LOL
  • No it's still alive on WP7.8
  • Time to switch to  Microsoft Lumia. Nokia is officially out of the phone business and Microsoft is removing the Nokia name as of the 17th. End of an era. 
  • Is this for new messages? Or just old ones?
  • Most iShips who use I iPhones won't even know how to do that anyway. Why can't Apple make it simpler for those idiots
  • The ones who jump ship to WP are actually smart.
  • Probably were being threatened with lawsuit. About bleeping time.
  • So wait a minute... is this article saying that if you used iPhone and move to a new platform you weren't able to get any NEW text messages?  Or just that you couldn't bring your history with you? If the former, that is absolutely horrendous.  Yet another reason to pile on my hate for Apple...
  • It's the former. Pile on.
  • Both. I had issues for months after moving from iPhone to WP with messages not showing up (from users who were on iPhones), even though I had shut off imessage before moving my sim card and selling my iphone.  
  • I'm curious, if iPhones are so great, cool, everybody wants one etc., why you moved to the less popular windows phone?
  • Well, sort of. Apple's iMessages can only be sent among Apple devices. Once you register your phone number and email address into the service, everyone who has your number on their contacts list will be able to send you iMessages over the internet. When typing the message into the text field, your name and send button will turn blue on the sender's iDevice, indicating that the text they're typing will be delivered to you as an iMessage, as opposed to green (normal SMS). So people may be sending you iMessages (blue bubble text) without knowing that you can no longer read such messages on your new non-apple phone. Normal SMS's can be received and read just fine. Until recently there was no way to unregister from the service, other than turning off iMessage on your current iPhone before switching to a new phone. This article explains how Apple is resolving this issue. This is just a piece of information on how it used to work. As for your Apple hatred, you decide what to do with it.
  • Great explanation, thanks! That's not as bad as I feared. I suppose hate is a bit strong. I think I actually have a bigger problem with the users of Apple products... and their complete ignorance to better things being available. I do hate how Apple locks you into their ecosystem completely though. It feels like everything they do is designed to make sure you can never switch. Every port is custom, every app and service is completely locked to Apple.
  • Its both. 1) You can not move your old imessages to your new platform 2) You will have issues getting imessages texts sent by other iphone users becase your phone number is locked to Apple's imessage server which you have now left by moving to different platform. Note: This are based on the fact that you retained your old iPhone number.
  • It wasn't that you didn't get new text messages, but iMessage(slash iNightmare for cellular providers) kept your phone number on file in a database. If you had an iPhone or iOS device then iMessage would send texts as am iMessage instant message instead of normal SMS text. When you stopped using iMessagw the databases would not update so amy other iSheep using their iOS device to message you SMS but had iMessage turned on, would send the SMS text to iMessage and then get lost in imbo for 2-3 weeks before apple remove it from the database for non-use. See iNightmare
  • Nice
  • Yes!! Finally!
  • Title is confusing. By "reclaim my SMS", do you mean I could transfer my SMS messages from an iPhone to a Windows Phone? Based on the article, I think you mean "don't lose your SMS"
  • typos
  • Same difference. Reclaim them, save them, reinstate them, don't lose them. You can reinstall all your old iPhone messages on your new device. Headline works for me.
  • No, they're completely different in meaning. "reclaiming" them implies that I can move them from device to device while "don't lose them" means that Apple's servers won't think I'm using an iPhone and convert all of the messages to imessages, thereby making it so they won't go through. Big difference.
  • It means reclaim your SMS messages from being eaten by Apple's iMessage servers, as if you switched away from iOS: You'd often no longer receive texts from people still on iOS, because your phone number would still be registered with iMessage, and as such: It'd try sending messages that way. Now, people could always just log into iMessage via the settings on iOS and deregister their phone number, but this isn't the most obvious solution for non-techy people, and this obviously wasn't available to those who traded in or otherwise could no longer access an iOS device. I think there was also a way to do this via iCloud.com, but again: Not the most obvious solution. With this: It's available to people in a more obvious way, especially once search engines index it and it becomes a top result for, "How to deregister phone number from iMessage."
  • That's what I figured it meant, but IMO the title could've been better worded. Thanks.
  • Is this a problem local to the US?. I'm in NZ I've been switching between IOS and windows but never had a problem. I still get text messages from my family who are on IOS.
  • Not really a region based issue. Some people had better luck than others in getting the iMessage servers to realize the phone number should no longer be associated with iMessage, and instead to carry out the action via SMS. Apparently, you're one of the lucky ones. It was also kinda random in nature, which is part of why people were so upset: Why it sometime would let people go, and other times it wouldn't (even when, in a small number of rare incidents, it would continue sending via iMessage even after someone deliberately removed their phone number from the iMessage service.
  • Did the cops ever come round?
  • ... it's written "nerd help"... It should be a special police team....
  • Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave, and I love it!
  • Ok...
  • He's still rolling.
  • While listening to Limp Bizkit?
  • Featuring Method Man and Redman.
  • And as well as getting mad at Tim cook.
  • I did not know this. Can't help but think that such an important matter never got brought to attention by any media (or is it just me?)..... But I am really hoping that MS can turn Skype around and integrate calling and messaging between W10 + Skype (just as iMessage and Hangouts are for Apple and Google).....  Maybe someone with tech know how explain how hard is it to do that. I am in an almost constant disbelief that MS has not leveraged a MASSIVE Skype userbase to draw more attention to Windows Phone. (I am genuinely amazed)
  • It actually was of pretty big discussion for the past several months in the tech industry. Not mainstream media, though.
  • As everybody knows Microsoft loves coming from behind, So the Skype team is waiting for the whatsapp team to deliver the sucker punch as whatsapp VOIP is already in testing and will launch in 2015.  
  • Yes once WhatsApp gets void and eventually video, Skype can instantly be buried deep down 300 meters under ground. MS is so stupid/slow with Skype.
  • Coming from behind huh? ;-)
  • Could not agree more. MS has, and has had the tools. For years they have failed to leverage on the vast resources they possess. Rather perplexing if you ask me. Optimistically hoping.....
  • I think it's why they invented Skype Qik as a test before they do that.
  • I don't understand this... When you use an iPhone the smses you send and receive are not delivered by your carrier but by Apple? How could this be possible?
  • Think of iMessage as Whatsapp by Apple
  • If that was the case then what he's trying to say wouldn't be true because WhatsApp uses wifi not sms. 
  • True... iMessage uses wifi and data to get messages across
  • Not available in brazil
  • Ok the apple's whatsapp, but you can, actually send SMS from and iPhone, like we know that it works on regular phones?, or all pass through the servers from Apple?
  • Message from iDevice to iDevice are handled over IP via Apples iMessage service. I'm not sure how messages going to non-apple devices are handled since iMessage is not cross platform supported. Someone told me iMessage service converts non-Apple messages to SMS for delivery. Not sure if this is the case.
  • If a number isn't registered with iMessage (so anyone without iOS), the server will let the person's iPhone know, "Oh hey, I can't find this number in the iMessage database, so you're going to have to send that message via SMS."
  • It's just the same principle that was in WP8 before the advent of WP8.1 where your messages can be sent either in form of SMS or facebook message depending on whether the recipient is currently online on Facebook or even a registered user. You are equally notified that your messages will be sent as SMS once an active facebook user goes offline during conversation. Oh no, it used to be a very cool feature that I miss in WP8.
  • Agree with this. I really miss the message integration feature ad well.
  • If you left iOS (I.E: Gave up your iPhone for Android or Windows Phone): Your phone number would still be registered with iMessage. So you could still send texts to people using iPhones and iMessage (they'd receive them in a "green bubble"), but if tried to reply: The iMessage server would say, "Oh hey, this number is registried with iMessage, you there (The person's iPhone), don't reply with SMS, but reply with iMessage."
  • You cant reclaim something you never had.. A more accurate heading would be " reclaim your ability to receive sms from other iphone users" Basically, Apple registers the phone number to its service. When iphone user A sends an sms to another iphone B, it basically sends it as an imessage to the other phone (like whatsapp) but when sent to a non iphone it goes as normal sms via the carrier. When person B ports their phone number to a non apple device the number stays on the service, so now when an iphone A sends to B it converts to imessage, but user B never receives it as they aren't on imessage.
  • That explains. I never used iPhone and was not knowing how imessage worked. It is just like Hike (WhatsApp competitor in India) but only difference is Hike will allow you to send your message as SMS if the Hike to Hike message is not delivered and send SMS in case of non-Hike users. In both the case SMS is free and you will not be billed by the carrier because SMS is sent by Hike and you have to be connected to internet.
  • Anyone know how to get text messages from windows phone to iPhone? Or read them online, I don't see option on outlook.com.
  • What does outlook have to do with SMS messages?
  • You can read Skype messages in outlook.com
  • If it's Skype, just use Skype on the iPhone. If not, you couldn't see it on outlook.com anyway
  • Right. What does that have to to do with SMS messages?
  • You can read your SMS in outlook.com but retrieving all of that messages to iPhone no idea. Try Device Shield app if it is available on iPhone also and you still have Windows phone.
  • Really? Where do I read my SMS messages in outlook?
  • If I'm not wrong then you'll see a Messaging app icon right next to the settings gear icon whne you sign in to outlook...
  • Yes, that I know. But I thought that's only for Skype Instant Messages. How do I get my SMS messages to show there too?
     
  • The text in the image is awesome.
  • How noble of them.
  • why do people care about keeping their sms? lol, I mean in general.
  • Some people need them in court cases
  • Why do people care about Apple thinking their phone is an iPhone and trying to send it as an imessage, which makes it so that you will never get any message that comes from an iPhone? LOLZ, yeah, who cares about that?
  • More like... Why does Apple have to create a messaging app that works properly for iDevices, but fucks up everything for other devices?
  • Because it's an iFeature meant only for the iPhone totting iDiots, dude.
  • When I switched from my 4s to 8x 2 yrs ago I didn't have a problem at all. Is this a newer problem?
  • This was a complete fucking nightmare when I switched my wife to windows from iPhone.
  • I love how you guys phrased the title of the article to avoid the "What does this have to do with Windows" comments lol
  • Yes, you're right, this is an iOS news.
  • No its phone news. I had an iPhone before coming to WP and I couldn't receive texts from iPhones for over a month. Its good news to hear that apple finally fixed this, especially because this is a common issue among people considering switching.
  • So it is good news but it is still an Apple news, not Android and certainly not WP. So you were an iPhone user previously. And I was an Android user before WP that doesn't mean I want Android news here.
  • If only Whatsapp would allow us to switch as easily....
    The latest update has even taken away the option to email the chat history. So on a 1020, I can't access the backup file, & I can't email the chats either. Aside from taking screenshots of the entire message thread, there is no way to save chat history when switching phones.
    Damn, WhatsApp makes it difficult to like them!
  • Just go the contact's info page, go the dots menu and you have the option of emailing the chat history.
  • I've just discovered something great. All of my chat logs have switched to my new phone! Whatsapp is exactly as it was on my old phone :)
    This has never happened before - so I can only imagine it is a feature of the new version of Whatsapp.
    Thanks for your tip though about where to find the email chat link....it isn't as convenient being hidden away like that - but at least it is there :)!
    So pleased Whatsapp have finally allowed MS to make a cloud backup of the Whatsapp data file!
  • This is a strange move from Apple
  • I stopped backing up txts had a bug in windows phone in the past
  • Does this mean that a lot (like the nine bent phones :-) mean that some iphoners are switching to WP? Enough to warrant time and expense to create a site and method to switch?
  • That's very unlike Apple to offer their users a way out of their ecosystem.
  • How big of them to actually make it easier to switch ;-|
  • Its about effing time!!!
  • Hahaha. What a funny pic. Attack of the black berrys lol
  • Wait, why are you texting to 911?
  • Having worked for Apple, this helps alot with support purposes.
  • I'm stunned this wasn't a class action law suit a while ago. Talk about lock in. Bet half the people who switched went back because of this, and probably still will because it is not automatically disabled.
    If your iPhone is unheard of for a day the imessage system should revert to SMS automatically
  • This would have saved me such a huge headache when I upgraded to Windows Phone a year ago!
  • Seems faster
  • Has the riot stopped?
  • \m/, (OO) ,\m/
  • This post isn't about keeping your messages from iPhones to your new device. This is to inform former iMessage users. When you sign up for iMessage, you register your email/phone number. When you switched to another phone, i.e. Android/Windows, you wont receive some messages from iPhone users. Since your number is registered onto their servers, some texts from iPhone users will only be sent through iMessage from your friends iPhones (meaning you wont get pictures/texts) and since the user (you) is back to normal SMS, you wouldn't receive messages from iPhone users.
  • Lumia came in real form....
  • I guess MS should double their stocks to meet the extra demand for wp's now ;-)
  • Ms must do the same, Microsoft must give option to import contacts on the phone to sim card, right now you can only import to the phone,
    And it must not be a one way traffic where one can only receive contacts on Lumia phones but one cannot transfer from Lumia to another OS
  • Do people go from iOS to something else?
  • I did a while ago. Can't stand that platform, or really the iPhone for that matter. It's not near worth what they sell it for.
  • I must say. Very brave move
  • Oh poor apple
  • That is a good and helpful tool.
  • Lol, just lol. This is a useless tool to help the people who didn't do any research before switching to make apple look like they care. I can only imagine the amount of service calls they got on this one. People just need to stay away from Apple products, over priced and under powered. 
  • I had a huge issue with this when I first switched. Texts were actually going to my iphone sitting in my drawer. Forgot how I fixed it but it worked. In going to do this anyway. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • So where's this tool?  Figured they'd drop a link or give a bit more instruction.