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iMessage Activation Via Phone Number Now Working on Wind Mobile in Canada

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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A growing number of Wind Mobile customers in Canada this week have confirmed to MacRumors and on social media that iMessage activation via phone number is now working properly on iPhone. iMessage on Wind Mobile previously only worked when activated using an Apple ID.


MacRumors reader Brandon and several other iPhone users confirmed the change.
Finally Wind Mobile in Canada is suddenly using native iMessage. You used to have to only use your Apple ID for iMessage and FaceTime because it was unsupported on Wind's network. Today, suddenly it started working. I have confirmed it with an Apple Genius, and I myself am a former Apple technician as well.
Apple released iOS 9.0.2 last week with a fix for an issue that prevented iMessage activation for some users, but it is more likely the change was made by Wind Mobile given that iPhones running previous software versions such as iOS 8.4 also now have iMessage activation by SMS.

Apple does not list Wind Mobile as a supported wireless carrier on its website. Canadian carriers that officially support the iPhone include the big three networks Bell, Rogers and Telus, prepaid carriers Fido, Koodo and Virgin Mobile and regional carriers Eastlink, MTS, SaskTel, TbayTel and Videotron.

Wind Mobile is a bargain carrier in Canada, offering affordable rate plans with unlimited talk, text and data for between $25 and $50 per month. Wind Mobile's coverage area is mainly limited to larger cities, however, such as the Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver metro areas.

(Thanks, Brandon!)

Article Link: iMessage Activation Via Phone Number Now Working on Wind Mobile in Canada
 
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Supacon

macrumors member
Jul 7, 2011
89
173
Canada
Holy cow, about freaking time!! You used to be able to make this work with some kind of horrible hack that required you to dig through iTunes backups and pull out some hex strings and then paste them into a website which would then send the requisite SMS that for some stupid reason Wind would block. Anyways, it's good that now iPhone users won't have this problem if they decide to use Wind.

I wouldn't recommend Wind because their service coverage is generally spotty, SMSes are slow, and data speeds are very slow, but it's still about the cheapest way to get a lot of data and calling time in Canada. I wonder if they offer Nano SIMs yet or if you still have to cut regular sized ones down.
 
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xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
859
481
Wow, I remember buying my wife an iPhone 5 when they became available on T-Mobile for her to use on Wind. Can't believe how long ago that was and they've only now gotten it working. Don't miss that carrier at all.
 
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jetison

macrumors member
Jan 6, 2009
33
11
Buenos Aires
We had that same issue going on in Argentina for about 3 years at least. Switching carriers would break the iMessage activation. There was something going on with the portability that caused the issue.
Basically if you switched carriers, you would lose the number activation.
iOS 9.0.2 fixed that. It's not fixed on previous iOS versions like it's stated on the article though.
 
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Wondercow

macrumors 6502a
Aug 27, 2008
557
363
Toronto, Canada
Holy cow, about freaking time!! You used to be able to make this work with some kind of horrible hack that required you to dig through iTunes backups and pull out some hex strings and then paste them into a website which would then send the requisite SMS that for some stupid reason Wind would block. Anyways, it's good that now iPhone users won't have this problem if they decide to use Wind.

I wouldn't recommend Wind because their service coverage is generally spotty, SMSes are slow, and data speeds are very slow, but it's still about the cheapest way to get a lot of data and calling time in Canada. I wonder if they offer Nano SIMs yet or if you still have to cut regular sized ones down.
I would, and do, recommend Wind. It's great for those of us who don't need the cost of the major providers. The coverage is great for those in many major cities, and because of the CRTC ruling re: roaming rates it's often cheaper to have Wind as a provider but use nothing but roaming. I've never experienced slow SMS, but, yes, data can be slow. If one really needs LTE speed then Wind will not do, but I usually get from 4-10 Mbps which is fine for general web browsing, email, Siri, etc.

The "horrible hack", while certainly inconvenient, was simply copying a hex string from a log file (easily found and not from a backup). Also, it's not Wind that blocked it--the text is sent from Apple with a different encoding than a standard text (something about seven bits instead of eight) and that's what would trip up the system. Now, why Wind couldn't just flip a switch to accept the new format, well, that's a different complaint...

Lastly, yes, they've offered nano-SIM for a while; I signed up the day I got my iPhone 6 and couldn't be happier. Just remember: you get what you pay for.
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 603
May 31, 2007
6,275
9,618
Florida, USA
One thing I've always wondered is...

Why does iMessage activation require sending an international text message? I believe it sends one to the UK, which is why this wasn't working on WIND as international text messaging was blocked.

They could easily have an activation number in most countries, and just use the local one appropriate to the region you set when you configure the phone. This would prevent unexpected SMS charges and surely be more reliable than sending an SMS to the UK (except for folks in the UK I guess).

Anyone know the reasoning behind Apple's implementation?
 
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xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
859
481
One thing I've always wondered is...

Why does iMessage activation require sending an international text message? I believe it sends one to the UK, which is why this wasn't working on WIND as international text messaging was blocked.

They could easily have an activation number in most countries, and just use the local one appropriate to the region you set when you configure the phone. This would prevent unexpected SMS charges and surely be more reliable than sending an SMS to the UK (except for folks in the UK I guess).

Anyone know the reasoning behind Apple's implementation?

Or even just an SMS short code for any partner carriers. Would screw companies like WIND over, would likely be cheaper than setting up one number for each country.

One thing to note is even with it being an international SMS I don't know of any carriers that charge to deliver it. Mine certainly doesn't and that is with no international SMS add on.
 
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avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,932
3,802
Small correction: WIND doesn't have coverage in Montreal (only roaming).

Wow, they don't have non-roaming coverage in Canada's second most populous city? That says something about Wind. Just as the old adage says, we get what we pay for.
 
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trainguy77

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2003
3,567
1
Or even just an SMS short code for any partner carriers. Would screw companies like WIND over, would likely be cheaper than setting up one number for each country.

One thing to note is even with it being an international SMS I don't know of any carriers that charge to deliver it. Mine certainly doesn't and that is with no international SMS add on.

This already exists. Each partner has a unique activation phone number that is local to the country. This is defined in the carrier bundle. WIND doesn't have a carrier bundle so it uses the standard one which is a UK activation number.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,922
4,765
Somebody seriously thought "Wind" was a good name for a company?

Wikipedia's disambiguation page for Wind runs in roughly* the same order that my brain does when trying to determine what you're talking about when you use the word Wind.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_(disambiguation)

I think you're referring to flatulence long before I think that you're referring to a company.

* Not quite... I don't think of the Wind God at any point... honestly, hearing those two words together just makes me think of LotZ WW... I would think of Planetary Wind before Solar Wind... but otherwise, that's about the same order. Note how far down on the page the cellular companies are.
 
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dstud208

macrumors member
Mar 14, 2013
72
90
I freaking love WIND! Unlimited data options are quite limited here in Canada, and if you rarely leave the city (like me) then the "spotty" coverage isn't an issue at all. Plus getting unlimited calling across Canada AND the USA for only $39 (included with the unlimited data) is pretty hard to beat. Yes they won't get LTE till next year. 3G is still fast enough to watch Netflix, stream Apple Music (or other radio apps), and practically anything else!!
 
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criticalmind

macrumors newbie
Apr 12, 2015
27
60
Düsseldorf
This already exists. Each partner has a unique activation phone number that is local to the country. This is defined in the carrier bundle. WIND doesn't have a carrier bundle so it uses the standard one which is a UK activation number.

Hm, at least not with Germany's top carrier, (Telekom) T-Mobile... In my carrier.plist, there are just UK numbers listed.
 

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macfacts

macrumors 68040
Oct 7, 2012
3,875
4,638
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On...
Anyone know the reasoning behind Apple's implementation?

Apple is a control freak that's why. Activation didn't work on many other carriers with out using similar "hacks" and when they became official carriers of iphones it magically works.
 
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skinned66

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2011
1,355
1,213
Ottawa, Canada
I'd like to like Wind - I like their plans and pricea - but I'd rather pay twice the price for reliability. I've seen too many situations where my friends have little to no reception and I have a good strong signal - especially indoors.
 
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trainguy77

macrumors 68040
Nov 13, 2003
3,567
1
I'd like to like Wind - I like their plans and pricea - but I'd rather pay twice the price for reliability. I've seen too many situations where my friends have little to no reception and I have a good strong signal - especially indoors.
I have been with WIND for over a year in the west and I have been happy with them. That being said you do get what you pay for.
 
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