iMessage International from Japan is Weird?

Discussion in 'iOS 5 and earlier' started by iammike1, May 3, 2012.

  1. iammike1 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2007
    Columbia MD
    Basic rundown, I have an unlocked iPhone 4S purchased directly from Apple. I'm currently using it in Japan with Softbank. I've noticed two annoying things about iMessage and I'm curious if this is unique to me.

    Most people in the US store their numbers in the XXX-XXX-XXXX format. If I do this I experience the following. I can compose a new message to them and it recognizes it as iMessage but once it is sent, it is not listed in Messages under their name but their number instead.

    Using 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX or +1-XXX-XXX-XXXX corrects the issue. Are people experiencing the same internal to the states?

    In addition, I had similar problems if I used the local format for Japanese phones. Example might be XXX-XXXX-XXXX would cause problems but +81XX-XXXX-XXXX works fine.

    Is everyone changing their phone numbers to international format just to make this work correctly? My biggest problem being that the messages in the Messages app don't show up at the persons name unless I format it internationally for both Japanese and US numbers.
  2. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    No problem like that here, but I'm using my phone so far only domestically in the US.
  3. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    I store all my numbers in international format, but I have contacts in 20 countries so it's just SOP for me
  4. CyBeRino, May 10, 2012
    Last edited: May 10, 2012

    CyBeRino macrumors 6502a

    Jun 18, 2011
    This is expected behaviour. Not only that, but it can't be any different.

    To the phone, a phone number is nothing more than a string of digits. People add dashes and spaces and parentheses and whatnot to make it so we can figure out what's happening (area code, country code) and help us remember. But the phone does not care about those thing, and nor does the network.

    So then for countries where phone numbers of identical length are used, there is no way to discern one country's numbers from the other.

    Now, first of all the phone will simply send to the network what you put in it. It will always accept local numbers as you would enter them if you dialed by hand. Mobile phone networks (unlike the regular PSTN in many cases) also accept numbers in international format (and will often send them to you that way for CLIP). So the network is essentially not an issue for most cases because non-internationally formatted numbers in someone's address book will tend to be local. The phone can just send it to the network and it doesn't have to know what it is.

    The second thing of importance here, is if the phone tries to be nice about things and format them the way we humans are used to. In this regard it's going to basically pretend to be the network and try to figure out what's going on. Internationally formatted numbers it can look up in its database. (iPhone has a database of what presentation goes with what country code). For non-internationally formatted numbers, it can't do that so it goes by what it considers to be local: which is whatever country's SIM you have inserted.

    So to get to my point: yes, you should always add the full MSISDN number prefixed with a +-sign (+1-etc for US) to your phone. It'll allow both the phone to show you the number properly formatted and the network to figure out it's a US number if you're outside the US.

    I always do this myself, too. I started doing it forever ago (think 15 years) because I'd have trouble calling people with Dutch numbers when I was outside the netherlands-- the local network tried to resolve it as a local number which would more often than not fail (and otherwise get me the wrong person.)

    By the way, iPhone is smart enough to figure out that the 123-456-7890 in your address book is the same as the +11234567890 sent by the network or vice versa.

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