A new iMessage bug is causing issues when texting Android users

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2023
For some iPhone owners out there, a strange bug is potentially wreaking havoc on folks trying to text Android users.

Messages icon
Messages icon


There are some iPhone users taking to social media to confirm that their device is running into a particularly strange bug. When they are trying to text an Android user, the iPhone is adding a "+" symbol to the beginning of phone numbers.

The problem isn't just related to texting Android users, but also people using Google Voice numbers. The bug appears to be only impacting iPhone owners in the United States.

Adding the "+" character forces the iPhone to recognize the number as an international one, even when it isn't. A normal U.S.-based number is automatically switched to an overseas one, causing delivery issues on both ends.

There are several threads on Reddit right now, with many iPhone owners pointing out their devices are running into the same issues. As of right now, there does not appear to be a reason for the bug.

It appears the bug is tied to the iPhone, with no specific callouts to people sending texts from the Mac. But with Macs relying on text message forwarding, it would seem reasonable that the issue would impact these users, too.

Apple's update to iOS 16.5 earlier today does not seem to be the root issue, as many iPhone owners are pointing out the issue cropped up for them before the updates were released.

As far as fixes are concerned, some users have suggested that sending a text to yourself may patch the issue. Some users have suggested the fix is already present server-side, while others say to simply change the formatting of the number to add "+1" to the front.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,370member
    This came out of nowhere and seems to affect standard SMS and Google Voice messages sent from iPhones only, and did not appear with the previous update to iOS nor the new one … this trail leads back to Google and some tinkering with translation for their buggy and not-fully-adopted RCS, I’ll wager …
    Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,840member
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    watto_cobrajamnapMacProchasmpulseimagesdanoxwilliamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 21
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,007member
    So it’s just a plus being added?  If I were texting 602 555 1223 it would be +60 2 555 1212?  (Which would try to send to Malaysia number 2 555 12 12 if it existed.   It’s not that it’s adding a plus to 1 602 555 1212, right?  The second one should not be a problem. 

    I have a lot of my US contacts with their number +1 XXX YYY ZZZZ.  Makes it easier to phone a contact when I’m outside the US. 
  • Reply 4 of 21
    Des9527Des9527 Posts: 1member
    That’s exactly what was going on with my Device earlier this afternoon! I was like are you getting my messages lol and come to find out it was a Pesky BUG!🙄
    chasmwilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 21
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    williamlondonmichelb76beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 6 of 21
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,043member
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    But a richer one……
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    danox said:
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    But a richer one……
    Oh, that's the circle that would certainly make my life more fulfilling, and my time on earth so much happier. Only hang out with rich folks. That's all that should matter in life, mo' money. 
    muthuk_vanalingammichelb76
  • Reply 8 of 21
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,840member
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    Who would ever wanna associate with someone using Android? Clearly they don't have good judgement. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 21
    chutzpahchutzpah Posts: 392member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    Who would ever wanna associate with someone using Android? Clearly they don't have good judgement. 
    Don't be a tool, everyone knows someone who uses Android.  And I'd quite like to continue being in contact with my sister, thanks.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondonmichelb76
  • Reply 10 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 21
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,871member
    gatorguy said:
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    Oh, gatorguy, clearly you only own an iPhone for research purposes and don't really do much of that. All iPhone users know that it's the green bubbles, not the blue, that indicate SMS messages. You really seem to be losing it with age, dude.

    Also, stop pretending there is actually an RCS standard that guarantees end-to-end encryption. We all know this isn't true, and that even the google implementation of "secure" RCS messaging is a CF.

    Lastly, the blue/green hubbubble, is just a lot of nonsense over nothing. If Apple were to ever implement RCS, they'd add pink bubbles to indicate that another second rate protocol is being used so that users know that even though it isn't SMS, it's still not secure like a blue bubble.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 21
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,871member
    chasm said:
    This came out of nowhere and seems to affect standard SMS and Google Voice messages sent from iPhones only, and did not appear with the previous update to iOS nor the new one … this trail leads back to Google and some tinkering with translation for their buggy and not-fully-adopted RCS, I’ll wager …
    It could somehow be related to phone number verification (e.g., attempting to determine if the number is actually a mobile number) so could lead back to carriers, including GV, or the verification service used.
  • Reply 13 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    gatorguy said:
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    Oh, gatorguy, clearly you only own an iPhone for research purposes and don't really do much of that. All iPhone users know that it's the green bubbles, not the blue, that indicate SMS messages. You really seem to be losing it with age, dude.

    Also, stop pretending there is actually an RCS standard that guarantees end-to-end encryption. We all know this isn't true, and that even the google implementation of "secure" RCS messaging is a CF.

    Lastly, the blue/green hubbubble, is just a lot of nonsense over nothing. If Apple were to ever implement RCS, they'd add pink bubbles to indicate that another second rate protocol is being used so that users know that even though it isn't SMS, it's still not secure like a blue bubble.
    LOL. Yeah, obviously green. Thanks for the old age reminder! :)

    Anyway, RCS can be made secure by Apple, and has been made secure by Google. Don't tell me Apple is less technically adept than Google. They absolutely can.

    SMS will always and forever be a privacy and security hole that the carriers/others can exploit, and there's no user-friendly reason to cling to it. Ignores the other obvious advantages of RCS over SMS, ie media sharing, text reactions, etc. if you wish. What would be your argument against making the entire messaging system more secure? Because Apple doesn't want to? OK, that's a reason. Anything else? 

    I don't expect an answer, much less a debate, this thread isn't the right place for it; just food for thought. 

    This might explain why I didn't get any response to text messages I sent to a customer Friday. Yet another reason for me to remember calls are better than text for essential communication.
    edited May 2023
  • Reply 14 of 21
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,871member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    Oh, gatorguy, clearly you only own an iPhone for research purposes and don't really do much of that. All iPhone users know that it's the green bubbles, not the blue, that indicate SMS messages. You really seem to be losing it with age, dude.

    Also, stop pretending there is actually an RCS standard that guarantees end-to-end encryption. We all know this isn't true, and that even the google implementation of "secure" RCS messaging is a CF.

    Lastly, the blue/green hubbubble, is just a lot of nonsense over nothing. If Apple were to ever implement RCS, they'd add pink bubbles to indicate that another second rate protocol is being used so that users know that even though it isn't SMS, it's still not secure like a blue bubble.
    LOL. Yeah, obviously green. Thanks for the old age reminder! :)

    Anyway, RCS can be made secure by Apple, and has been made secure by Google. Don't tell me Apple is less technically adept than Google. They absolutely can.

    SMS will always and forever be a privacy and security hole that the carriers/others can exploit, and there's no user-friendly reason to cling to it. Ignores the other obvious advantages of RCS over SMS, ie media sharing, text reactions, etc. if you wish. What would be your argument against making the entire messaging system more secure? Because Apple doesn't want to? OK, that's a reason. Anything else? 

    I don't expect an answer, much less a debate, this thread isn't the right place for it; just food for thought. 

    This might explain why I didn't get any response to text messages I sent to a customer Friday. Yet another reason for me to remember calls are better than text for essential communication.
    RCS is a pseudo-standard without any standardization. If google wants to make that their messaging protocol, more power to them, but don't expect others to support the mess that RCS in reality is just because google wants them to.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    Oh, gatorguy, clearly you only own an iPhone for research purposes and don't really do much of that. All iPhone users know that it's the green bubbles, not the blue, that indicate SMS messages. You really seem to be losing it with age, dude.

    Also, stop pretending there is actually an RCS standard that guarantees end-to-end encryption. We all know this isn't true, and that even the google implementation of "secure" RCS messaging is a CF.

    Lastly, the blue/green hubbubble, is just a lot of nonsense over nothing. If Apple were to ever implement RCS, they'd add pink bubbles to indicate that another second rate protocol is being used so that users know that even though it isn't SMS, it's still not secure like a blue bubble.
    LOL. Yeah, obviously green. Thanks for the old age reminder! :)

    Anyway, RCS can be made secure by Apple, and has been made secure by Google. Don't tell me Apple is less technically adept than Google. They absolutely can.

    SMS will always and forever be a privacy and security hole that the carriers/others can exploit, and there's no user-friendly reason to cling to it. Ignores the other obvious advantages of RCS over SMS, ie media sharing, text reactions, etc. if you wish. What would be your argument against making the entire messaging system more secure? Because Apple doesn't want to? OK, that's a reason. Anything else? 

    I don't expect an answer, much less a debate, this thread isn't the right place for it; just food for thought. 

    This might explain why I didn't get any response to text messages I sent to a customer Friday. Yet another reason for me to remember calls are better than text for essential communication.
    RCS is a pseudo-standard without any standardization. If google wants to make that their messaging protocol, more power to them, but don't expect others to support the mess that RCS in reality is just because google wants them to.
    We know Apple can't make SMS secure, No one can. Based on what you're saying now, you don't believe Apple can make RCS secure on their end either, even if Google can on theirs. Got it. 

    1. How little faith in Apple you have, or
    2. How unwilling you are to admit a secure RCS in iOS would be good for Apple users.

    Which is it? . 
    edited May 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 21
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 646member
    macxpress said:
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!
    And live in a narrower world.
    Who would ever wanna associate with someone using Android? Clearly they don't have good judgement. 
    are you 13 years old?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 21
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,871member
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    What's a little disappointing as an iPhone-owning iMessage user is that blue bubbles are a constant reminder that my messages are insecure if I associate with those who don't own iPhones. It doesn't have to be insecure, SMS, yet Apple chooses to make it so for no reason other than "competitive advantage", AKA profit.  
    Oh, gatorguy, clearly you only own an iPhone for research purposes and don't really do much of that. All iPhone users know that it's the green bubbles, not the blue, that indicate SMS messages. You really seem to be losing it with age, dude.

    Also, stop pretending there is actually an RCS standard that guarantees end-to-end encryption. We all know this isn't true, and that even the google implementation of "secure" RCS messaging is a CF.

    Lastly, the blue/green hubbubble, is just a lot of nonsense over nothing. If Apple were to ever implement RCS, they'd add pink bubbles to indicate that another second rate protocol is being used so that users know that even though it isn't SMS, it's still not secure like a blue bubble.
    LOL. Yeah, obviously green. Thanks for the old age reminder! :)

    Anyway, RCS can be made secure by Apple, and has been made secure by Google. Don't tell me Apple is less technically adept than Google. They absolutely can.

    SMS will always and forever be a privacy and security hole that the carriers/others can exploit, and there's no user-friendly reason to cling to it. Ignores the other obvious advantages of RCS over SMS, ie media sharing, text reactions, etc. if you wish. What would be your argument against making the entire messaging system more secure? Because Apple doesn't want to? OK, that's a reason. Anything else? 

    I don't expect an answer, much less a debate, this thread isn't the right place for it; just food for thought. 

    This might explain why I didn't get any response to text messages I sent to a customer Friday. Yet another reason for me to remember calls are better than text for essential communication.
    RCS is a pseudo-standard without any standardization. If google wants to make that their messaging protocol, more power to them, but don't expect others to support the mess that RCS in reality is just because google wants them to.
    We know Apple can't make SMS secure, No one can. Based on what you're saying now, you don't believe Apple can make RCS secure on their end either, even if Google can on theirs. Got it. 

    1. How little faith in Apple you have, or
    2. How unwilling you are to admit a secure RCS in iOS would be good for Apple users.

    Which is it? . 
    Neither, although, your characterization of my beliefs is as always disingenuously misleading to fit your skewed narrative. Apple has a secure messaging protocol, why should they help Google out on their half-baked attempt at establishing a new one? And, of course, as always, you ignore the main point that RCS isn't any kind of real standardized protocol, with implementations varying from total crap to weakly secure. It doesn't help Apple users to encourage them to use something that doesn't have any sort of standard implementation, or even a coherent standard for implementations, that offers reliable and predictable security, making it even worse than SMS because it promises a misleading level of security without actually guarantying any level of security.

    And, frankly, we all know that Google will abandon RCS in under 5 years when it fails because they aren't willing to actually put any real effort into making it something worthwhile but only invest in PR. I mean, really, how many times have we seen this story from them.
    edited May 2023 danoxbeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 18 of 21
    croprcropr Posts: 1,129member
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!

    So I use Whatsapp?
  • Reply 19 of 21
    beowulfschmidtbeowulfschmidt Posts: 2,206member
    Had this happen the other day with my dentist's office.  Wondered what it was.
  • Reply 20 of 21
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,340member
    cropr said:
    macxpress said:
    Just don't text Android users...problem solved!

    So I use Whatsapp?
    That actually IS secure whether iOS, or Android, or shared messages between the two, so yeah a good choice if the two first-party services cannot agree to cooperate. 

    Apple's messaging service can only be truly private when communicating with other Apple users until Apple creates a secure RCS in iMessage to go along with the secure RCS from the Google side. Apple is perfectly capable of doing so. Problem: Their profits are better if they don't. 
    edited May 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
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