Wanna Turn Off iMessage? Here's Your Chance

by Lauren Barbato

It's the end of the era: Apple is allowing users to "deregister" iMessage, thanks to the millions of lost text messages floating aimlessly in the Appleverse. The tech giant rolled out the new feature on Monday for both former and current iPhone users. If you recently committed heresy and switched over to a non-Apple phone, rest assured that you'll finally be able to receive all those elusive text messages from your Apple-using friends.

Apple's iMessage technology only works on its own devices, so while it comes in handy when you're texting other iPhone users, it ends up being a huge frustration when you switch from an iPhone to another mobile device. Until now, Apple would continue to route your text messages through its iMessage system even long after you disposed of your iPhone. However, those text messages were unable to be delivered to your new, non-Apple cellphone, which means you possibly lost a ton of text messages from your iPhone-using friends and family.

As Apple states on its website:

If you recently switched from using an iPhone and didn't turn off iMessage, your number is still sending iMessages, not SMS or text.

Frustrating, right?

So, here's how Apple's fixing that little inconvenience: The company has created a tool that lets you deregister from iMessage after you've switched phones. According to The Verge, the new tool was discovered by a Reddit poster, who saw it surface on Apple's website. For non-iPhone users, all you have to do is upload your phone number to the website, then enter the confirmation code you receive via text message.

For iPhone users who want to turn off iMessage in case they're switching to a new mobile device in the future, Apple is also giving directions on how to seamlessly deactivate the system.

According to USA Today, this new deregistering tool is a more streamlined process. Previously, former Apple users had to call customer service to manually deactivate iMessage, and even then, it was confusing and ineffective.

But there may have been a bigger catalyst for the change: Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Apple over lost text messages. The lawsuit alleged that cellphone users who switched from Apple to Android were "penalized and unable to obtain the full benefits of their wireless-service contracts" because they couldn't properly receive their text messages. The complaint also stated that Apple never clarified that users would lose their messages when or if they transferred services. So, is this new tool a way to combat a pending lawsuit? Apple hasn't commented on the lawsuit, nor on why it suddenly changed its iMessage system. But if one thing's for certain, it's that this iMessage reform is long overdue.Images: Getty Images, Apple