Apple on Sunday introduced a new website that will allow users to deregister their phone number from iMessage service to an Android device or other non-Apple product.
Apple added the new web-based tool after it had faced a lawsuit over Android users having undelivered text messages from other iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users still using iMessage.
To deregister a phone number from iMessage, they are just required to enter their phone number in Apple’s web tool, receive a free text message with a confirmation code, and submit the code to complete the procedure. Users who still own their original iPhone are also allowed to transfer their SIM card back to the device and go to Settings -> Messages to turn iMessage off. Doing so will make it possible to receive all the messages sent from iOS devices in a form of standard SMS or MMS messages rather than iMessage.
The issue dates back to 2011, when iMessage first launched. It has even been documented and widespread. Apple has also faced a lawsuit from one user, although the company claimed that it was aware of the problem and could not fix it. Over the years, users replacing the iPhone with another device found out that iPhones owners trying to send them a text message are still having the messages intercepted by Apple and sent as iMessages, which can’t be received and read by Android and Windows Phone owners.
Unlike similar services, like Google Hangouts or BlackBerry’s BBM, which are available to access on competing devices via third-party apps, Apple’s iMessage service is available only as an exclusive product for Apple users, as well as the company’s FaceTime video chat.
Apple’s web tool for deregistering phone numbers from iMessage is available now.