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Apple releases iMessage deregister tool for former iPhone users

Tom Morgan
10 Nov 2014
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Turn off iMessage and restore SMS functionality after switching from iOS to Android or Windows Phone

Apple has released a web tool designed to make it easier for former iPhone owners to disable iMessage, restoring SMS messaging functions after switching to an Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry handset.

iMessage sends free text, audio and video messages between iOS devices using Wi-Fi or cellular data, rather than eating into the SMS message allowance set out by your phone contract. It also lets iPhone owners get in touch with iPad, iPod Touch and MacBook owners, but a spanner gets thrown in the works when an iMessage user makes the switch from an iPhone to another handset without disabling the feature first.

Unless you disable it, any SMS or text messages sent to your from an iOS device will be sent as iMessages, despite the fact your hardware no longer supports it. Previously, the only way to disable the feature was to pop your SIM card back in an iPhone and disable it manually, but Apple has now added a simpler method.

The official iMessage deregistration website lets you enter your phone number, even if you no longer have an iPhone handy. Apple will then send you a confirmation code (as an SMS and thankfully not an iMessage) which you then enter on the site. Once tapped in, Apple will remotely remove any iMessage associations from that phone number, letting you recieve text messages from iPhone users again.

Of course, if you still have access to an iPhone, you can still disable iMessage the old fashioned way; after inserting your SIM, go to Settings, tap Messages and use the toggle to turn iMessage off.

It might have taken Apple three years to accept some users do actually switch from an iPhone to another manufacturer's handset, but the deregistration tool is definitely a case of better late than never.

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