Friday, November 15, 2013

Change in iOS 7 (iMessage) behavior causes silent messaging failure for SMS recipients

An iOS 7 change to's iMessage behavior is a real problem for us. It strikes iMessage users who have intermittent iPhone network access, in our case it's the kids on the $40/year H2O wireless voice/text plan (no data). i'm not sure if it's a bug or a feature or both a bug AND a feature.
The problem is my iPhone believes #1 is an iMessage user -- perhaps because he is when he's on a WiFi network, or perhaps because he has an iCloud address. In iOS 6 I believe (can't verify) managed the on/off network problem this way:
  • if SMS received, reply with SMS
  • if use iMessage and it fails, send as SMS
In iOS 7 I'm seeing
  • if SMS received, but prior history of iMessage, reply with iMessage
  • iMessage doesn't show a 'read' (delivered) message, but neither does it show a fail message. Message is NOT resent as SMS
The trick in today's is to watch for the 'read' indicator -- or to force an SMS resend immediately if you know the sender doesn't have a net connection. Force a SMS resend by tap and hold on the blue  iMessage, then choose send as text. The message turns green (Text/SMS).
If this is a bug, I suspect the problem is with recognizing an iMessage failure.
This problem, by the way, contributed to a parent-kid fight about 'ignored' messages. It's worth knowing about.

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