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Apple iOS 12 Has An Embarrassing Problem

On paper iOS 12 looked essential. A performance and stability focused update full of great secret features, which delivered. But as millions of iPhone and iPad owners are now upgrading, new problems are emergingand the latest impacts arguably Apple AAPL +0.3%’s most important iOS service…

The ever investigative PiunikaWeb has spotted iOS 12 is causing serious problems with iMessage across all Apple devices. And, bizarrely, the issue appears to be rooted in Apple’s attempt to make iMessage better.

What iOS 12 quietly introduces (it was left off the official features list), is a unified thread for iMessage contacts who have multiple phone numbers and emails. The theory is solid: a friend or family member with multiple numbers and/or devices will now find all messages to them exist neatly in a single thread.

The problem is iOS 12’s implementation of this feature is merging threads with different contacts, thereby creating potentially embarrassing situations where your message can go to several people unintentionally.

“Without question, this issue began when I “upgraded” to iOS12,” explainsone affected user. “This issue has been devastating and needs to be resolved ASAP. I depend upon iMessage and can no longer trust/depend on the tool to send messages to the proper person. In the same way, I cannot be sure from whom texts are actually being sent.”

Does anyone know how to fix this iOS 12 bug that merges two contacts together bc my mum & sister are now under the same text thread, saysother. “I gotta message my sister under Snapchat now.”

“Our text messages are all screwed up. My son’s are coming through as my husband and vice versa,” explains another. “My mom texts me and it goes to my husband or son’s phone. Also, we see each other’s phone call history. WTH is going on?!”

As always, it’s impossible to know the scale of the problem, but reports of affected users are escalating fast. On Apple Support Communities, one thread where the poster explains the problem to Apple mods has received over 300 votes stating “I have this question too”.

Other threads are appearing as well, many with significant numbers of upvotes, as well as complaints on social media.

So what’s going on?

One commonality PiunikaWeb spotted is many affected users have a shared Apple ID between members of their family. This would indicate Apple is now merging iMessage threads based solely Apple ID and ignoring names, emails and phone numbers. That said, even if this were the (less than helpful) approach, others are reporting the issue when the recipients don’t share an ID.

Consequently, the only way to get to the bottom of this is for Apple to front up about the changes it has silently made to iMessage and how to fix it.

For millions of iPad and iPhone owners, iMessage is the primary reason they remain loyal to Apple and you don’t retain that loyalty if you start sending their private messages to the wrong people. – Forbes

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