Potential Problems with iMessage

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Ole55, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Ole55 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    #1
    Hello everyone, first time poster. Only made the move to Mac 2-3 months ago, had an iPhone 4 slightly before that, but loving the experience so far and have no intention of returning to the dark side.

    Better make my first question a memorable one then... Here goes. Actually, there's two, and both relate to iMessage.

    iMessage Security

    One of the features being touted for iMessage is the idea you can start a conversation on one device, and pick it up later on another that's tied to the same account. That's pretty cool, but am I missing something in saying there's a rather obvious security issue raised by that?

    Facetious Example: Hi, I'm an "unnamed English Premiership Footballer". I've just left the house and used my iPhone to confirm a secret rendezvous with the "unnamed Z-List model" I'm having an affair with. Oh, I've just realised I've left my iPad on the kitchen table at home where my wife is now calling her lawyer. Oops.

    OK, funny side over, see what I mean? It could equally apply to two iPhones on the same account. Let's say me and the wife have a shared library for instance, we share the same email address, etc i.e. we're one of those sickeningly "together" couples. So much for her "surprise" birthday party I've arranged with all her friends via iMessage. I don't need to mention potential security risks for business users as well.

    Am I missing something here? Surely there's no way Apple missed this and there's a way to keep messages from syncing to every device that's set up on the account. The only obvious workaround I can see if there isn't is the screen lock code, but that's no use in the second scenario I gave.

    The problem I have here is that I don't see HOW they could implement this security without hobbling the functionality at the same time. To give you a third example (assuming they DO have something to prevent this happening):

    I start a convo off on my iPhone, leave it on charge, and move to the lounge, plonk down and start browsing the web on an iPad. I get a message in related to the convo I started earlier. How would it "be decided" which devices it appears on? It'd just appear on both by default, no? The ONLY way I could see around this is that iMessage has a setting (either at an application or (ideally) individual conversation (or rather, by contact) option to share (or not) conversations with other iOS devices on that account. But it's one hell of a strung out way of doing things. If iMessage is ever rolled out to Mac OSX devices as well to create true message portability, the implications are even more comp,ex.

    Anyone know? Is it basically "Screen Lock your device if you're worried about that kind of thing (even though Screen Lock has limitations dependent on circumstances (see above)) 'cause there's no other way of doing it."

    iOS "sensing"

    I must admit I think it's cool that your device will "know" (I would imagine via checking-in with Apple) whether the device it's sending a message to is an iOS 5 device or not and will consequently send the message as either an iMessage or a text/MMS accordingly. Great. I also know you can turn it off if you want to send SMS exclusively (although I can think of few reasons you'd want to). However, my question is related to that.

    Let's say you can't get a data network connection. This occasionally (nah, make that ALWAYS) happens for me when I go to watch my football team play. Traffic congestion means the data network slows to a crawl (too many smartphones concentrated in the same area, everyone checking out the scores elsewhere) and you're lucky if you can get a data hookup. However, cellular works fine. I can still send & receive SMS, phone calls are fine, etc. It's only when I leave the vicinity I suddenly get 15 emails, Facebook notifications, etc.

    In that kind of situation, how will iMessage react if I send something? Ideally, I'd like it to say "I can't get an answer from the Apple servers as to what kind of device I'm sending to, connection timed out, screw this, I'm sending a text". I suspect it won't be that way though, 'cause I've also considered the reverse scenario... what if someone sends me an iMessage? From their end, everything seems fine, the only clue they'll have I've not got the message is the lack of a delivery receipt (if they even have those turned on). It'd be cool again if because the iMessage couldn't be sent, it would revert to a text, but I can't see any way that's going to happen because a person could then be charged for a message when they had no intention of sending anything other than a (free) iMessage.

    See where I'm coming from?
     
  2. macfly4 macrumors member

    macfly4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    #2
    I tend to agree with you. during the whole webcast of the keynote I kept wondering if this iclould uber syncing is such a great idea. for some things it could be but i assume that many people have their devices set up to be specialized for certain tasks/places. I dont want all of my music on a small macbook air that i might back at home on my imac. for security reasons i might not want all of my documents shared with both devices either. seems like this message issue would be the same.
    there must be some kind of option set up to ensure that not everything is automatically pushed. while it can be nice to have some things auto synched , an iphone and an imac are inherently different beasts with vastly different storage abilities and daily uses.
     
  3. Ole55 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 12, 2011
    #3
    Exactly. Some things lend themselves to cross-device sync - Mail, Contacts & Calendars is the obvious one, long overdue, a poke in the eye to Microsoft (if it finally works this time i.e. not another MobileMe, although I doubt Jobs would have joked about the way he did if he wasn't telling the truth i.e. lesson learned), and actually really required because Android's been doing this since Day 1.

    Some things, though, don't, and even within those that do (see above), there's always implicitly going to be a security concern the more devices you bring into the equation. We just need a level of control at user level to allow us that security. The issue then becomes though that a great many Apple users are used to "set up and forget", which is actually a huge part of Apple's appeal, and the minute you add more "options", for some it will get confusing. The secret (and Apple have been very good at this so far) is finding exactly the point where you go too far and start alienating the less technically-adept.
     
  4. Goldfrapp macrumors 601

    Goldfrapp

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    #4
    β1
     
  5. Ole55 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 12, 2011
    #5
    You'll need to explain that one, I'm not up on the code obviously.
     
  6. stomer macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 2, 2007
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    Leeds, UK
    #6
    Good job we're aren't all unnamed English Prem footballers who are cheating on their significant others, who have iOS devices running iOS5, who don't lock their iOS devices and who are using iMessage. Not sure that scenario was considering when Apple designed iMessage.

    They're your devices, if you leave them in the hands of others then there's a possibility of them viewing your data. iMessage doesn't change that. I don't see that as an Apple related issue.
     
  7. Ole55 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 12, 2011
    #7
    No, fair enough, I take your point, it's really no different from leaving your PC/Mac logged into your email account and wandering off. There's definite upsides to the cross-device sync, I'm simply pointing out it's not always ideal and if anyone knew how much control over which devices were sync'd we'd be getting. I still think that's a valid question, no? Same with the "alternative method of sending" one. That's a practical issue, and I've said why.
     
  8. reclusive46 macrumors 65816

    reclusive46

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    Canada
    #8
    You don't have to have the same account for everything on the iMessage. You could have example1@gmail.com for imessage then example2@gmail.com for the app store. Just don't use the same imessage number/email on the other device.
     
  9. stomer macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Ultimately I think the benefits vastly outweigh the negatives.
     
  10. Ole55 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 12, 2011
    #10
    Cheers, didn't know that. Have heard various things about what your "account" is based on i.e. Apple ID? EMail address? etc. BBM obviously did it with a PIN number. So email addy is the differentiator (which in most cases = Apple ID in any case)?

    That'd work I suppose, you just have to make a choice as to whether you share or not. I would imagine if you went with different email addys, you would then also be sacrificing the other things iCloud will sync as well i.e. it's all or nothing, sync or no sync, no halfway house of choosing which items do and which don't? I've not had access to iOS 5 yet myself, so no opportunity to play around and see what options are available.
     
  11. Fliesen macrumors 6502a

    Fliesen

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    Mar 30, 2010
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    Austria
    #11
    turn off iMessage when cheating.

    problem Solved.

    (and while we're at it: don't call your wife over facetime when you're in bed with your affair, stick with voice calling)
     
  12. sykh06 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2009
    #12
    Thanks for the tip, solved my problem, though my wife can still hear my affair, what do I do about that?
     
  13. Fliesen macrumors 6502a

    Fliesen

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    #13
    find a mute affair, ... jeez, can't you people figure out ANYTHING by yourselves? ;)
     
  14. hellomoto4, Jun 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

    hellomoto4 macrumors 6502a

    hellomoto4

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    #14
    The only problem I see is when something like this happens:

    - I go away for the weekend to some rural area, where I am lucky to get a bar of coverage every hour or so
    - A friend messages me from their iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to my iPhone, through iMessages
    - I do not receive that message, because it is an iMessage, and I'm never getting a data connection, only cellular reception every so often


    Do I have the chance to turn iMessages off when I go away, to ensure I receive all my messages as soon as possible, instead of when I'm on the way home? It's a bit tedious, if so. Much like your example if you're at the football.
     
  15. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 7, 2011
    #15
    lol. And I agree with you. There's been half a dozen threads created by people who have found "problems" with Apple's new services, even though 1) they've never even used them, 2) they have no idea how they work, and 3) they are imagining these absolutely ridiculous scenarios.


    To the OP:
    It's not a "problem" with Apple if *YOU* set something up a certain way (ie, purposefully enable iMessage on multiple devices) and then *you* leave them out and get busted. That's like saying you took a picture of your wiener and left it out, so it's the camera makers fault.
     
  16. Aravintht macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 7, 2007
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    London, UK
    #16
    Q: how often does Apple check that a contact is using an iOS enabled device? For example, I use my iPhone normally, decide to go a theme park/beach/etc, decide to switch to an old (doesn't matter if it gets broken/lost etc) phone, does one have to disable iMessage before switching phones?
     
  17. hellomoto4 macrumors 6502a

    hellomoto4

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    #17
    Furthermore, how often do they check. Before every message? Every new day a message is sent?
     
  18. chris975d macrumors 68000

    chris975d

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    Georgia, USA
    #18
    From what I'm seeing in Beta 1, it's before each message. As soon as you input the name or number the message is going to, the spinning progress indicator appears just beside the contact name (or number) as it's checking to see if they are iMessage compatible. It does all of this so fast that it's done by the time you tap the "compose" area of the message to even begin typing.
     
  19. Aravintht macrumors 6502a

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    London, UK
    #19
    That implies, if your recipient does not have a data connection even though they are using an iOS device, a text message will be sent rather than an iMessage. That's good to know if you're in one of the scenarios as mentioned above, ie. at a football game with no data.

    That said, if you have an iPad at home with iMessage enabled, it will still send it as an iMessage...
     
  20. chris975d macrumors 68000

    chris975d

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    #20
    Yes, if it can't establish that the recipient is iMessage compatible, it defaults back to a regular text message ( the "Send" button stays green instead of switching to blue like it will if the recipient is iMessage compatible). And if it determines that the recipient is iMessage compatible, tries to send it as an iMessage, and then for whatever reason, such as Apple's servers being slow (been the error I've gotten a lot this week) or a bad data connection, it will alert you with an "!" icon and give you the choice to send as regular text instead (this of course is on the iPhone, iPad obviously doesn't have this fall back option).
     
  21. jamied95 macrumors 6502

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    Sep 14, 2009
    #21
    Beta 1

    I would hope it sends it as a SMS and an iMessage? I could see that being a problem, but Apple are smart, I'm sure they'll work something out.
     
  22. 01jamcon macrumors 6502a

    01jamcon

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    London
    #22
    Wow, some people in this thread obviously don't get the humorous reference in the OP. These same people also seem willing to defend Apple to the death while insisting that a system Apple invented isn't flawed, when clearly the OP points out ways in which iMessage COULD be flawed if the correct syncing switches aren't implemented.
     
  23. Ole55 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 12, 2011
    #23
    Thanks, perfect answer. In short, it's smart enough to know when iMessage isn't an option and defaults to SMS, and if you're going in the opposite direction, it'll tell "message fail" and present you with the option to send again as text. Exactly, in other words, what it should be doing and you'd want it to do.
     
  24. shandyman Suspended

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    Apr 24, 2010
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    #24

    if it thinks you're on iMessage, but doesn't get a delivery report within a few minutes, it asks the user if they want to send as an SMS instead. Delivery receipts are mandatory, but read receipts are optional and off by default. Also it works all the way down to GPRS signal as that's all i get at work and was using it fine.

    the only people that will have security issues are people that share an email address, and really, that's their fault, not apples.
     
  25. iceterminal macrumors 68000

    iceterminal

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    Dallas Tx.
    #25
    If you are an "unnamed English Premiership Footballer" having an elicit affair with an "unnamed Z-List model", you might soon need a lawyer! Good news....

    There's an app for that! :D


    On another note about the actual question. From reading about everyone sharing apple IDs, accounts, etc. I do believe this is an initial attempt at apple for them to get everyone to have their own ID.
    Follow me here.
    People complaining about their wives having same id, and if they download something the wife will get it too on her device. A separate ID solves that issue. Or what about kids using your same ID and you don't want them to see you bought "Smack that skanky ass up" by the Homeboy Dumbasses last week. If they're on your ID, they'll not only see this but it'll download to their device to.
    A separate ID solves that issue.
    Now also look at this info. Home Sharing. They give you this option to share what you have with 5 other users. So you have the ability share what you have, with other IDs, in your family.
    Almost all of these problems and complaints go away if everyone had a separate ID.

    Its small things like this that I'm seeing through all the complaints. Apple is trying to get everyone to have their own ID. And with your own ID, many people will likely put in their credit card information. Remember at the keynote they said they have X number of ID with credit cards associated to them?
    Starting to see what I mean?
    The more IDs, the more possible credit cards. The more credit cards, the more possible purchases. Get it?
     

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