Previous 1 2 3 4 Next 50 Replies Latest reply: Jun 18, 2015 1:50 PM by WookaWooka
kittyflipping Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Here is my story:  I had an iPhone 4 with iOS 5, which I used with iMessage.  I sold my iPhone 4 to upgrade to a 4S, and before I sold it, I erased "all contents and settings" as described here:  I did not sync, restore from backup, or otherwise use the iPhone 4 after I erased it.  At this point it should have in no way been associated with my iMessage account, and after wiping the phone until when I received my 4S, I had been using my SIM in an Android phone. 


My wife started complaining that I was not responding to her texts.  They showed as being sent via iMessage and all showed as 'received'.  I blamed it on the Android phone, naturally, but the problem continued after I got the 4S, until I activated iMessage on that device.  After that I did finally start receiving her texts, but also texts sent to and from the person who bought my phone.  iMessage is also kind enough to sync messages he sent in response, so it looks as though I had sent them.


So, now I am quite sure this guy is receiving my iMessage texts, and seeing the ones I have sent via iMessage -- if I turn iMessage off on my new 4S, messages sent from my wife to me still go through iMessage, and are still marked as 'received'!  If I keep iMessage off, I don't get my messages.  If I leave it on, this guy can read all of my texts sent via iMessage. 


Here is what I suspect is the problem: after I erased the phone, it still had my SIM in it and 'activated' with that (so that I could prove that the phone was still in working order), and the purchaser may not have put a new SIM into the phone.  Even though I wiped the phone clean and did not set up iMessage, the phone still thinks it has my number, which iMessage must be identifying as me?


I called Apple support twice.  The first guy informed me that I would have to get ahold of the person I sold my phone to, then walk him through restoring iOS.  Great, so not only do I have to walk some stranger through restoring iOS, but then I have to explain to him that he can no longer use the phone until he gets a SIM, because of this restore that I made him do?  So I called again -- the second person was a senior support rep, but had never heard of this issue, so hence this thread.


Is anyone else having this issue -- getting someone else's texts after selling their iPhone?

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 Level 8 (38,860 points)

    I sold my iPhone 4 for a 4S too. Removed the SIM, though, and did a Restore and Set Up as new iPhone. If you had the Find my iPhone app installed on the old phone, see if it still shows up and you can do a remote wipe on it. Other than that, I would go with the Apple guy's suggestion and try to get ahold of the guy.

  • kittyflipping Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It's definately not associated with my iCloud account anymore, which is separate from iMessage, so no go on the remote wipe. 


    I do appreciate the help, but with this thread I am most interested in finding out if anyone else has had this problem.  If it is not a fluke, then putting someone else's SIM in your phone temporarily (long enough to make your phone think it has that number), could gain you access to said person's sent and received iMessages indefinately, which is pretty concerning.  Since my ticket is being escalated to engineering, I am more inclined to leave the situation as it is for now, so that they can diagnose and patch it, if it's a legitimate issue.  I honestly can't see how it's not a real issue, though, even if a factory reset worked.


    I think the solution in this case is to require a SIM when sending & receiving iMessages against your phone number (as opposed to your Apple ID, which does get cleared with the erase.)  Otherwise it seems like there is a lot of potential for abusing one's privacy, especially with the jailbreak / hacker community.

  • stevejobsfan0123 Level 8 Level 8 (38,860 points)

    I can tell you this much: No data is stored on the SIM.

  • kittyflipping Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Right, and I kept my SIM.  I was suggesting that, since iMessage identifies you with either (or both) your Apple ID or your number, it should require the SIM for that number to be present in the device when sending / receiving as that number.  When you activate iMessage under your phone number, AFAIK you are not asked for any other credentials, so activating / using a number that you no longer have the SIM for should not be allowed.  It appears to be allowed, in my case.

  • kittyflipping Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Update:  If you sell your iPhone, remove the SIM BEFORE you erase or restore factory settings on the device.  I can reproduce this using my iPhone 3GS, and I can confirm that it indeed is an issue.  If you restore iOS or erase all contents and settings, and your SIM card is in the device when it is activated (as you would need to do to demonstrate that the device is still working) it will by default enable iMessage under your phone number, which will continue to work long after your SIM is removed and after the phone is in someone else's posession.  This happens even without entering your Apple ID (during setup or otherwise), without making any calls with your SIM in the phone, without sending any text messages with your SIM in the phone, and it happens by default!


    My ticket was escalated to engineering and they informed me that it was a known issue that they were investigating.  They also said they had no way to stop this person from receiving my messages, and sending messages as me.  Since it is using my phone number and not my Apple ID, there are no passwords to change or anything that I can do aside from hunting this person down.  My only hope is that this person will eventually respond to my messages, but so far no luck.  I know my messages are still being sent to this person, because I can turn off iMessage on my new phone and iMessages still go through to "me" from my wife's phone.  I am also receiving messages sent to, and from this person.


    In addition to this, fairly common scenario (I found countless threads on other sites about this, since posting), I can imagine someone exploiting this by:


    1. Taking a spare iPhone with iOS 5 installed (e.g. an old 3GS) and do an 'erase all contents and settings' (only takes a few minutes)
    2. Borrow or otherwise get posession of someone's iPhone and activate your newly wiped iPhone with their SIM (again, it only takes a minute to do)
    3. Restart the device (not sure if this is nessesary)
    4. Replace the SIM into the original device, and return and/or replace the iPhone you "borrowed".  You will now receive all of that person's sent and received iMessages (as long as you are on WiFi), and even Apple (apparently) can do nothing to stop it.  If you never send any messages, they may never find out you are reading their messages!  Even if the person turns iMessage off on their device, iMessages sent to this number will still be successfully sent... to you!  The only way to stop it is to have all of your contacts disable iMessage as well. 


    Here's hoping for a fix, really soon...

  • Dxbsam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    im having the same issue, and cant find any solution but to change the phone number.....cant track the dude anymore and he is not even responding to my messages, he jsut writes from time to time to **** me off!

  • kittyflipping Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I highly recommend you contact iPhone support and get it escalated to engineering (1-800-MY-IPHONE).  Supposedly they cannot turn the other device off, but they say they are working on it, and in my case could tell me at what date the iMessage activation on that device expires (I think it was a little over 6 weeks in my case.)


    After that, to test if the other guy was still getting my messages I would periodically turn off iMessage on my phone, then send myself a message from another iPhone.  If the message is marked as "Received", then someone else is still gettting it.  For two days I bombarded this person with strongly worded messages telling them to turn off iMessage (I believe it verifies once you turn it back on, so I am hoping he cannot turn it back on), erase & restore, or install a SIM.  They never responded, but iMessages are no longer going through when iMessage is off on my device.  I must have annoyed them into submission...


    Other things you can do: change your 'Caller ID' in your message settings to your Apple ID.  That way when people respond to your iMessages, it won't go to this person (who is only receiving messages sent to your #).  I'm assuming your outgoing messages are not seen by this person when you send as your 'Apple ID', but I'm not 100% sure.  -- Don't do this if you are trying to message this person, though, as they will not get them.  Also, make sure when you 'test' to see if this guy is still getting your messages, that you are not sending messages to your AppleID from the other phone, but to your number...

  • Dxbsam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    i switched off my imessage and starting sending from my ipad to the phone number, at first they were being delivered no more.....but im not sure that accctualy means he wont be able to see it again......will keep testing for 24 hours.....but feel much better if i change my number

  • Dxbsam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    changed my number..hoped it works

  • hzr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, I would just like to tell you that I have experienced the exact same thing. This is probably the most riddiculous error Apple could make in this app...

  • dean249 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    I'm having a similiar issue!


    Can any help!


    Hello everyone!


    The is the first time for me but I think come across an almost jawdropping issue with iMessage!


    I work for one of the UK mobile companies and within my role I manage business accounts. As part of that role we have just upgraded 200 business users to the new iPhone 4S.


    So the users were not having to go through the 5 - 10 minute process of turning the device on and going through the boring initial activation process myself and a colluage manually activated each of the devices (when I say activated just skipping through the first few screen until it boots up the device. We didt put any apple user details in obviously (Neither the users, a dummy one nor are own) it was just an exersize in clicking the lanuguge settings, and the next few screens on the setup section for IOS 5 that you get with the Iphone 4S)


    Here is the massive issue we have come across!


    To activate the device away from itunes you need a live sim card, so we used my sim card litrially until the the device went through the basic set up and then we moved onto the next device.


    The day comes to hand out devices to the 200 business users. We put the users current sim card in the new device and away they go to enjoy the new iPhone 4S!


    Sounds perfect!




    A few hours in we starting getting people coming back advising they were getting messages from strange numbers. It turns out that these users......100's of them were getting messages that had been sent to me by my friends over what we assume is iMessanger!


    Not only was this personally very distressing for me, really unprofessional, me and my team were just totally at a loss and in the dark about how to fix this.


    In the end I had to send a message to every friend I have advising them to stop sending me messages! The issue is only via imessage but the idea that someone else can recieve my messages just because my sim card was in that device for a few seconds is just astonishing!


    Just to be clear at no point were any of my apple details ever logged onto any of these new devices. My sim card was maybe inserter for 30 second maybe on a few occasions upto 2-3 minutes.


    I've googled like crazy and this iMessage is known but I dont think its ever happen on the scale I'm expering!


    I'm desperate for some help and advise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • momfromthesouth Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I could probably be wrong...but I just want to add....aren't sim cards disabled when you are no longer using them?  When I got my new iphone, they gave me a new sim card.  When that sim was activated, the other one was deactivated.  This was so that some random stranger couldn't make calls with my sim card.


    A kid stole my sons phone from practice and it ended up in another state.  The responsible adult that took it called and asked if we wanted it back.  I told them no.  Now that I knew it was in someone elses hand, I went to ATT and just got another phone.  The other card was deactivated from using my number.


    So technically since you say that your number is still associated with the card, does that mean that they have the sim installed and are making phone calls using your sim card phone number as well?  I didn't think that was possible. 

  • TheMajor Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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