Apple takes the shackles off former-iPhone owners and delivers iMessage fix

Apple has finally released a tool to help out its former customers with one of the most annoying aspects of abandoning an iPhone: lost iMessages.

Read more: How to check if an iMessage was sent under iOS 7, and force it through if necessary

The new web tool allows anyone that has ever owned an iPhone to deregister a phone number from the iMessage system and it will be comfort to anyone that has had messages disappear on them in the past.

Using the tool is as easy as simply entering the phone number that you no longer need to be linked to iMessage and confirming that you still own the number by typing in the confirmation code that Apple sends via SMS. The same page also includes step-by-step instructions on what to do if you still own the iPhone and in that case you won’t even need to send a message to the device.

Apple’s decision to repair the fault comes after significant complaints regarding messages that were lost by the service first introduced by Apple back in 2011 as a part of iOS 5.

Up until now anyone that was switching from an iPhone to an Android, Windows Phone or BlackBerry had to go onto the old phone and manually turn off iMessage before putting their SIM into a new handset. Some users even reported that doing this had no effect.

It came to a head earlier this year when a former iPhone user took Apple to court over the issue and at the time the company explained that it had no idea how to fix the problem.

Read more: iOS 7.0.3 update reduces motion and fixes iMessage sending failure bug

That battering continued into August this year when Cloudmark, a cybersecurity firm, reported that iMessage is rife with spam and that it accounts for some 30 per cent of all mobile spam messages sent.