“See, this is why I hate Apple!” – a recent quote from a friend and the kind of quip eternally uttered by dedicated followers of Android. You hear the polar opposite from those who worship at the Altar of Jobs.

The reason for the above statement, and said friend’s complete ambivalence to Apple products, is the reason why Apple products are so popular in the first place. Taking aside their “sexy” looks (never how I choose to describe technology) they tend to just work. They are as idiot-proof as idiot-proof can be.

But not everybody is an idiot and some people want more autonomy and flexibility in their gadgets. Android provides this to those who know what they are doing, Apple does not. The differences don’t end there but that’s a whole other post.

Which brings us to the point of this post – the other half. Her indoors. She who must be obeyed. Hereafter referred to as OH.

Now OH is not an idiot but does need idiot-proof technology. OH is also something of a penny pincher and not in the remotest bit interested in the latest gadgets. When it comes to mobile phones she just needs to be able to call people. And text. Oh, and use WhatsApp. And Facebook. And she needs to be able to take photos. Apart from that though…

OH’s frugality means that her mobile phone is always a hand-me-down. Handed down by me. The latest being my old HTC Desire. A good Android phone that was among the best on the market when I bought it. I had always had an Android smartphone but wanted to try an iPhone so crossed the dark divide and passed my HTC onto OH.

The big problem with the HTC is that it does not expand its core memory onto the SD card and is forever running out of storage space. This is easily fixed by installing a new OS but that means taking the phone out of action for a while and Facebook rests for nobody.

I had become tired of OH’s storage complaints so I promised to do the hack. In the meantime I got her an old unlocked iPhone 3GS and switched her SIM to it while I sorted the HTC.

Having used an iPhone myself for a while I was trying to convince OH that she should switch to the 3GS permanently. OH is also resistant to any kind of change so was predictably reluctant. “But they are idiot-proof” I told her without quite thinking the comment through.

She eventually agreed and I did the swap, setting her up with an iCloud account and everything that she needed to run her sexy new iPhone. Facebook went on, as did WhatsApp. I gave it back and everything just worked.

What I didn’t expect was for the hardware to fail. A wear & tear issue with the aerial connector and then the home button connector meant more frustration for OH and the phone going back to aforementioned friend for repairs. OH reverted back to the problematic HTC before I’d had chance to update the OS and immediately ran into storage problems again. “I’m full..!” it whined.

And then her text messages stopped working.

I had sent her a couple that never reached their destination and she’d had at least one friend who’s message never got through. An hour and half on the phone to Orange support failed to identify or fix the fault. It turns out it’s not really a fault, it’s a “feature” of iPhones. It’s all down to iMessages and the reason why some people hate Apple.

iMessages are an Apple thing, instant messages. I haven’t investigated exhaustively but the gist of it appears to be that iPhones use iMessages unless you specifically override them. Wikipedia says “Messages will check with Apple if the recipient has iMessage set up. If they do, it will seamlessly transition from SMS to iMessage.”

This is fine when you have an iPhone, you won’t know the difference providing you have a data connection. However, if you get rid of your iPhone you need to sign out of iMessages first otherwise your messages can get stuck in the ether. This is what happened to OH.

I sent her a text, Apple knew that both of our numbers were registered for iMessages and so routed the text via iMessages. And I’m assuming it is still out there somewhere dashing around and wondering why it can’t find OH’s iPhone. A quick Google search shows it to be a common issue.

There are two ways round it.

1) OH has to get the 3GS back (her SIM won’t fit in my 4S – another ongoing gripe with smartphones), put her SIM in and unregister for iMessages.
2) the sender of the text has to set their phone to send an SMS when iMessage is unavailable (Settings-Messages-Send as SMS).

Option 1 will sort the issue for everybody. Option 2 is only good when you know for sure that somebody’s texts aren’t coming through.

On my iPhone 4S this setting was not enabled so OFF appears to be the default. WHY? Surely it should be ON as standard? To avoid this mess we found ourselves in? If Orange were not able to figure it out what chance does Average Joe have?

Personally I don’t hate Apple (I think my iPhone is great) but after this episode I can see why many people do.

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