Friday, November 18, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Sending a Text Message Instead of an iMessage

We’ve been wanting to do this recently, due to problems where Messages says that an iMessage was delivered, when in fact it never arrived. I’ve been having problems like this on and off since iMessage was introduced, yet as far as I know SMS has never let me down. You used to be able to tap and hold on a message bubble and choose “Send as Text Message,” but that feature seems to have been removed.

The Send as SMS setting lets the phone automatically fall back to SMS when iMessage is not available. However, that doesn’t help in my situation where iMessage is available but simply doesn’t work.

I found several forum posts, but the only solution seems to be to temporarily turn off iMessage, which seems like a terrible solution because it means that you won’t be able to receive iMessages from anyone else in the interim. Worse, the iMessages will look to the sender like they got delivered because they’ll still go to your Mac or iPad.

Ideally, there would be a way to simply start a new conversation using SMS even though there is an iMessage account associated with that phone number.

11 Comments

"Ideally, there would be a way to simply start a new conversation using SMS even though there is an iMessage account associated with that phone number."

I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but AOL has a web-based SMS gateway that I use to send and receive SMS and have conversations. 100% reliable, in my experience.

@Chucky Is that from within AIM?

@Michael Yeah. It's through AIM. But it functions as SMS on the recipients phone.

(In other words, the recipient is not knowingly dealing with AIM. They don't have to deal with AIM or AOL. To them, it is just an SMS they are receiving and responding to.)

Won't iMessages sync back to the phone after you re-enable the setting?

@Erik I’m not sure. I would suspect not, because my guess is that disabling iMessage on the phone will remove that phone’s encryption key from the iMessage server, so messages sent in the interim would never be encrypted for receipt by that phone.

I'm saying this… If I don't turn a computer on for a week, and then turn it on, my iMessages will almost always sync up. It's quite a flurry to see the old iMessages flooding into Messages, shuffling around the left-hand list as they're re-sorted time and time and time again.

I get what you're saying about the key, but ultimately the iCloud account will be registered to receive iMessages. Maybe the backlog of messages you miss in a few minutes will come in as well?

@Erik In that example, I think your computer was registered with iMessage when the messages were sent; it just wasn’t on to receive them. So I think you’re just seeing iMessage hold the messages in a queue for a while and then deliver them later. I’m pretty sure iMessage doesn’t do any actual syncing. For example, a new device will not get any old messages except by restoring from backup.

Turning iMessage off could be dangerous. I had syncing issues with iMessage this past summer, with a set of many messages from multiple people never showing up in my Messages.app on my Mac (yet new messages would show). Unable to find a solution or explanation anywhere, I resorted to contacting one of Apple's executives and their assistant called me. After she did some digging, she told me definitively that iMessages should sync fine on devices that are offline for up to 72 hours. Past 72 hours, they may or may not sync. After 5 days, they definitely won't and will be gone for good. I think this only applies for secondary devices (such as syncing to an iPad or Mac, if most of your messaging is done from your iPhone)... but even then, I'm not sure. What happens if you turn off ALL of your iMessage devices for a week and someone tries to message you? Who knows.

I don't get why they can't make iMessages sync 100% reliably to all my devices all the time (even if one of my devices is offline for a week) but it apparently has something to do with encryption and security. Whatever it is, it's annoying as hell when I'm constantly switching devices, yet each one sometimes has a different set of conversation logs.

And Jesus, what's with Apple removing useful features such as "Send as Text Message" ??? Why not just leave it? It's so hidden that I can't imagine it'll get in the way of anyone who doesn't need it. But now it's gone for those who do.

Ugh. I've been a Mac user since 1992 and the past 2 years have been the worst, especially in light of their renaissance since 1998. It's sad and sickening to see them crippling a lot of their products and releasing things (other than the iPhone) that are mostly either "ho-hum" or "what the fuck?" ... For the first time ever, I'm thinking my next laptop might be a PC since most of what I do these days is either web-based or easily cross-platform. I never thought I'd say that. But when I can get a similar spec PC laptop, with options that actually fit my workflow and hardware needs, for half price (or even less) of a new Macbook Pro... it's hard to justify sticking with the Mac. The only true Mac app I would miss is Messages, but I don't even use it that much. Very sad.

And don't even get me started on all the bugs I have found in iOS in the past year or so (I'm not a developer either). I've filed them all as bug reports, sent them in through the Feedback app, called Apple Care about it, pointed some out to employees at the Genius Bar. And these are end user bugs that I see EVERY DAY on common iOS system tasks (like Siri). Hell I even emailed Alex Acero and he replied. But the bugs are glaringly obvious, that I can't believe they even passed Apple's QA. I also emailed Federighi and he replied a year ago saying "We're fixing a lot in iOS 10. Stay tuned." --- despite Bug Reporter flagging them as duplicates and at least two execs aware of them, they have gone multiple updates (even 9.x to 10.0 and beyond) without being fixed.

I'm starting to think Apple is a fucking mess these days. Despite profits through the roof and a bunch more employees than they used to have, their shit is starting to stink. How can they spend millions on developing a car that nobody cares about (then abandoning it) while making their laptop keyboards shittier to type on, not updating the Mac Pro desktop in forever, nor the Mac Mini... and removing features from their laptops just to make them 1 mm thinner, which nobody can notice is thinner anyway? What are they smoking down there in Cupertino?

[…] others, I am continuing to see problems with software quality, more particularly on the Mac. (One example from today: Mail’s smart […]

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