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Apple releases tool to fix iMessage purgatory

Some former Apple users didn't know to deactivate their iMessage accounts, leaving them in 'iMessage purgatory.' Apple has finally released a tool to fix the problem.

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The Apple logo is pictured on the front of a retail store in the Marina neighborhood in San Francisco, California on April 23.

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Apple has finally released a tool that fixes the so-called iMessage purgatory. When former iPhone owners switched to a new smart phone, iMessage got confused. Rather than recognize that friends could no longer send that person iMessages, Apple's system would sometimes launch the message into the deeper digital beyond, never to be seen again. 

Apple's new two-step Deregister iMessage tool ends the complications related to former iOS users getting messages sent from an iPhone on their new device.

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Previously, users who didn’t deactivate iMessages before moving their SIM card from an iPhone to an Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone device wouldn’t receive messages sent by iPhone users. The iMessages would continue to be sent to Apple's messaging servers and not to the SIM number. Until now, Apple’s only suggestions have been to remind customers to deactivate iMessages before changing devices and tell customers to put the SIM card back into the old iPhone and deactivate iMessages. But those suggestions didn't work for people who had already changed phones and gotten rid of their iPhone.

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Now, according to Apple's website, users type in their phone number and get a code sent to the new phone. The code will deactivate iMessages and allow a users' new device to receive messages from an iPhone. 

The iMessage problem has been around for a while and is the subject of a class-action lawsuit in California. In May, former iPhone users claimed that Apple failed to disclose that switching to another device could disrupt receiving messages.