iMessage Bug Sends Texts to Stolen iPhones

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    It appears that a bug in iMessage allows texts to be sent to a stolen iPhone, even after a remote wipe and disabling the SIM card, reports Ars Technica.

    iMessage, introduced in iOS 5, is similar to RIM's BlackBerry messaging service. It sends text, picture, and video messages over Apple's servers instead of via the carrier's SMS service. This can lower the user's text messaging charges and adds features like delivery confirmation. It also allows users of non-cellular devices, like the iPad and iPod Touch, to send and receive text and picture messages -- as featured in a recent iPod Touch television ad.

    According to Ars Technica:
    Hovis sent messages to new "owner" of his wife's old phone, with the messages going to both the old and new phone, but the other person was uncooperative. He discovered a thread on the MacRumors forums with several readers reporting the same issues.

    Apple has not commented on the matter, but it's possible that the iMessage servers permanently links the UDID number of a particular handset to a phone number, so it knows what handset to deliver iMessages to. When the phone is remotely wiped, and a new SIM card installed, the iMessage servers don't update and messages continue to be sent to the stolen phone.

    Article Link: iMessage Bug Sends Texts to Stolen iPhones
  2. 3bs macrumors 603


    May 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    Very often it fails to send pictures.. and I end up having to wait a while or e-mail them
  3. xorjo macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2011
    I posted about this long time ago, when the iphone 4s was just released. I found the solution. Change the phone number. Even after remotely wiping your phone changing apple id or anything else you can think of, the phone number is still on the old phone and cannot be changed unless the person with the stolen iphone does a restore. Changing the phone number will work. You can receive imessages in your iphone even with no sim card through the phone number which was a major headache for me, but after trying everything you can think of, changing the phone number worked.
  4. Djmx macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2007
    I can't believe that...

    That can't be true.. I have done this with a few different phones. Replaced the sim card with another and sent a message, it was delivered with that number. Using iMessage. It could be, maybe that it gets remote wiped. Did they try a Restore...???
  5. f00f macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2009
    New Yawk
    I guess it makes sense to assume that any person could be identified by N number of UDIDs on the server side of iMessage. (My iPhone, my iPad, my iPod Touch, etc -- that's three right there!)

    But for this to be a permanent linkage is clearly a design flaw/oversight. The remote wipe should have nuked the UDID from iMessage's server-side database (or where ever the hell it's stored).
  6. xorjo macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2011
    Restore what? They don't have the iphone, it's stolen remember? This is a fact and I was a victim of this back in October. Unless the person with the stolen iphone puts a new sim card on the phone and uses it or he restores it, there's nothing you can do unless you change your phone number. Simple as that.
  7. Gubbz macrumors member


    May 2, 2010
    Perth, Australia
    I think this shows great promise for those that have their iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch stolen. It shows Apple is sending to the registered hardware. In that case, Apple can know where it is in the world, helping victims report them to allow them to be returned even if it has been remote-wiped, that can then be just a safe guard for your information...
  8. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    So basically if you restore with a SIM tied to your number, iMessages might get sent to that device.

    Scary stuff, really.
  9. xorjo macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2011
    You can also send messages too! Not just receive them... thats scary part.. and worse, the person who gets them come with your phone number...
  10. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    Strange as hell! What would happen if you swapped your SIM cards out a lot, for example, if you got an unlocked iPhone? Would that cause any issues with iMessage?

    On another note, insurance on a phone? Since when is that a common thing???

    Interesting thought! However, if the device has been wiped by the person who stole it (or remote wiped by you), you can no longer track it as far as I know, even if technically it would be possible since the UUID is still the same… Or is it actually possible to track it after a wipe?
  11. benguild macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2003
    The thing is ... if I'm traveling internationally I'd love for iMessages to go to the SIM card I'm using overseas ... even if the number is different. So, this seems more like a feature than something else.

    However, Apple definitely needs to replace the old UDID if a phone is replaced. This seems a bit senseless on their part, but it may simply be difficult to track. Also, I can only imagine if someone simply switches away from the iPhone platform to something else if their iMessages will still continue elsewhere.
  12. BlendedFrog macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2010
    If verified that this is a bug then it is something that needs to be fixed. But on the other hand it could be something that could come in handy. Think about it....your iphone is lost or stolen and someone wipes it or replaces the SIM so they can use it. But you are still able to send an iMessage to it. How cool would that actually be if that could actually lead to the phone being returned to you.
  13. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    it also should mean that apple can track your phone even after a remote wipe. it says it can't be tracked anymore after a wipe but this bug shows i can be tracked.
  14. FakeWozniak macrumors 6502


    Nov 8, 2007
    It's a feature to be able to tell the thief pleasantries from time to time.
  15. dave420 macrumors 65816

    Jun 15, 2010
    The new owner gets to see every iMessage I send/receive. That may result in an occaional returned phone, but the rest of the time it is a huge privacy risk. It could go on forever. Every single iMessage you send/receive will be visible to the thief.
    I have been following this issue for a while, and there have been lots of threads about this happening. In some cases users were getting sexually explicit messages from random people.
    Apple needs to resolve this problem.
  16. Westacular macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2007
    The insurance wasn't on the phone, it was for their home. Many (most?) home insurance policies cover theft. The phone was stolen from their home in a break-in; thus, the cost of replacing it was covered under their home insurance.
  17. powers74 macrumors 68000


    Aug 18, 2008
    At the bend in the river

    I had a weird iMessage thing happen last night. My wife and I sent each other an iMessage at ~the exact~ same time and my message did not go through. Guess it still has some bugs left to be worked out.

    Technical details - Between an iPhone4 & iPad2. Same iTunes account. iPad set up with separate email account. iPad did not get the message. Other than that, seemingly no other issues.
  18. eenuuk macrumors regular

    Nov 3, 2011
    I was just about to say this is old news!

  19. joeip77 macrumors newbie

    Dec 15, 2011
    ATT And Apple allowing stollen iPhones to to put back on the network

    Whats really sad is that 99.9% of the cellphone users that have an iPhone stolen doesn't know that the stollen phone is put back on the network, activated and is being used by someone else (ATT and Apple are making money off of your stollen phone) This happened to me, I filed a police report and spoke to Apple and ATT both and was told that the stollen iPhone
    Was Not put on the Blacklist so it could not be used on the network anymore. The detective said that they could easily idetify if the the phone was back on the network from its imei#, but that they could not do so unless there was an investigation and that the iPhone could be used to solve a more serious crime. It seems that what ATT and Apple are allowing to happen is definatly a crime.
    I even had an person at ATT tell me that when she first went to work for ATT that in one of her first staff meetings this stolen phone blacklist was brought up and they were told that this blacklist is no longer used. She has worked in other cell companys for years and the blacklist was always used to keep stollen phones from ever being used on the network again.What I think is Really insane is that when anyone activates an iPhone on iTunes or a person does this in the store, why doesn't ATT or Apples system see the
    imei# as stollen and stop it from being used. I will tell you why more$$$$

    Sad Stuff

    This is from Wiki site

    The IMEI number is used by the GSM network to identify valid devices and therefore can be used for stopping a stolen phone from accessing the network in that country. For example, if a mobile phone is stolen, the owner can call his or her network provider and instruct them to "blacklist" the phone using its IMEI number. This renders the phone useless on that network and sometimes other networks too, whether or not the phone's SIM is changed.
  20. obyte macrumors regular

    Nov 17, 2010
    This is NOT just stolen phones.

    I recently upgraded to a HTC Titan from a iPhone 4 last week. I did the upgrade through the AT&T .01 WP7 sale. I activated the Titan and when I did that, EVERYONE who still has an iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch who has ever sent me a text message before the switch, they are still going to my iPhone because of iMessaging. The iPhone has no service and no sim card installed. It is only on wi-fi and all of the texts go to it still.

    I can send someone a SMS from my Titan and their response goes to my iPhone. It is super annoying and no one knows how to fix it.

    IMO this is complete ******** really and it needs to be fixed. Currently I am a slave to this iPhone now :/
  21. Xenomorph macrumors 65816


    Aug 6, 2008
    St. Louis
    iMessages sent to me were going to my old iPhone 3GS as well!

    New phone:
    4S, active SIM, my Apple ID.

    Old phone:
    3GS, wiped, activated with my SIM (but then SIM removed), my daughter's Apple ID.

    Now, the 3GS said "No SIM" (using it as an iPod touch), and it had my daughter's Apple ID logged in. Any iMessage sent to me went both to my 4S and the 3GS.
    I didn't understand why. It didn't have my SIM in it (so couldn't be using my phone number), and had only had *her* Apple ID, not mine.
  22. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    This would be fine with no resale market but since these items are regularly resold neither apple or the carriers wish to play judge Judy. People would sell devices and then claim them stolen if they could get them back
  23. kup1986 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2010

    Anyone know if this affects CDMA phones? Sold my VZW iP4 to get the 4s, wiped it before I sold it but now I'm concerned the new owner may be receiving my iMessages? Everyone keeps references sim cards with this issue but I didn't have a sim since it was the CDMA version.
  24. goobot macrumors 603


    Jun 26, 2009
    long island NY
    So basically to stop this, remove the sim, then restore and never put that sim back in, correct?
  25. skellener macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2003
    So. Cal.
    May Steve Jobs rest in peace.

    With or without Jobs, Apple has never done "services" right. iMessage is just another poor attempt. Why even even bother? Why would I switch to iMessage when Google Voice does texting to anyone, for free - on the iPhone? iChat, Facetime, iMessage...c'mon Apple. Just integrate the whole thing and make it compelling! Give us a reason to use it!

    Stick to OSes, Apps, and hardware. Leave services to the companies that do them well (Google, Dropbox, etc.) and free.

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