Over the last few days, we’ve been hearing reports of people having issues with iMessages, on both the receiving and sending ends. The complaints have grown in volume and frequency and we began inquiring about the issue yesterday.
Today, Apple tells us that the issue is affecting a ‘fraction of a percent’ of iMessage users, though that appears to include a big chunk of our timeline, anecdotally. Apple also says that it’s working on a fix for these issues that will come in a future update. Apple fixes bugs and issues on a ‘point release’ basis as it needs to, pushing out software updates that may have no other major changes.
If there’s one conclusion that we can draw from this statement, it’s that the software bug is in iOS, not on Apple’s servers. If it were, it would be able to fix it without a software patch. This could be why Apple’s iCloud system status page has continued to show a green light for iMessage. The system is working; it’s the client that isn’t.
Here’s the full statement from Apple:
We are aware of an issue that affects a fraction of a percent of our iMessage users, and we will have a fix available in an upcoming software update. In the meantime, we encourage any users having problems to reference our troubleshooting documents or contact AppleCare to help resolve their issue. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes impacted users.
If you’re interested in a quicker fix, the method spelled out in this support document has been working for some users getting sending errors. Basically you toggle iMessage off then use the Reset Network Settings function of iOS to clear activation. Turning iMessage back on re-authenticates your device with iMessage. And this fix appears to be temporary, going by some of the chatter we’re seeing on Twitter.
A more permanent fix will have to wait for the software update.
If you’re the kind of person that wonders why we post about iMessage statuses or outages, then this might be a good read. Apple is a services company through and through, even if it is in support of its hardware. People learn to rely on those services and are seriously inconvenienced, if not worse, when they’re unavailable. Yes, iMessage has a text fallback, but there are certain cases where that’s not available, and no modern backbone service should have to rely on a 20-year-old backup plan to save its bacon.
Image Credit: Judit Klein / Flickr CC