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NFH (Offline)
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Default iPhone incurs unnecessary charges for inserting SIM cards - please complain to Apple - 06-03-2014, 11:52

For those of us who travel and switch SIM cards very often, iPhones create recurrent problems:
  1. When activating iMessage and FaceTime, the iPhone communicates with Apple's servers via IP and SMS. Apple's servers send back an SMS message to the iPhone to confirm the registration for the two services and the iPhone hides the message from the user. The problem is that the iPhone communicates the SIM card's mobile number to Apple's servers, not via IP, but by unnecessarily sending a chargeable hidden SMS message to +44 7786 205094 and/or +44 7537 4102X1 (X can be any digit). This incurs an unnecessary and wasteful charge for the user every time the SIM card is changed, which results in plenty of charges for frequent travellers who often change SIM cards. Of course if the mobile number on the SIM card is incorrect or cannot be read, then the mobile number could be optionally communicated via outgoing SMS, but this should not be the first option.
  2. The chargeable hidden SMS message is unnecessarily sent even if the SIM card's mobile number has been verified in this way on a previous occasion but another SIM card has been used in the interim.
  3. Starting with iOS 7, this chargeable hidden SMS message is sent even if iMessage and FaceTime are turned off.
  4. iMessage and FaceTime often fail to activate on the first attempt because of intermittent problems connecting to some of Apple's servers outside the United States. One impact of this is that multiple chargeable hidden SMS messages are sent to activate iMessage and FaceTime. When this happens, a workaround is to change the wifi connection's DNS server temporarily to Google's US-based DNS server, 8.8.8.8, following which iMessage and FaceTime activate successfully via Apple's servers in the United States.
  5. When changing SIM cards in iOS 5, Apple's servers immediately deactivated iMessage and FaceTime for the previous SIM's number when a new SIM was activated for these services on the same device. With iOS 6, it became necessary to turn off iMessage and FaceTime before switching SIM cards in order to prevent messages sent to the previous SIM's number from being lost in a black hole. With iOS 7, there is no way to fully deactivate iMessage on the previous SIM's mobile number, in that iPhones that have previously sent iMessages to the previous SIM's number will continue to send messages as iMessage rather than SMS and these messages are lost in a black hole. There have been suggestions to log out of one's Apple ID on iMessage and FaceTime before turning off these services, but this makes no difference and still leaves iMessage active on the previous SIM's mobile number. The impact of this is both on frequent travellers who regularly change SIM cards and on users who move their main SIM card and/or mobile number to a non-iOS device (e.g. consumers who permanently switch to Android).
As well as advertising iMessage and FaceTime as features of the iPhone, Apple openly advertises that the iPhone is suitable for using local SIM cards when travelling. For example on its UK web site Apple states:
Quote:
Can I use my iPhone outside my home country?
Yes. iPhone is enabled to work on networks using GSM around the world. Because the iPhone sold by the Apple Online Store is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card and service from a local carrier at your destination. Or check with your home carrier regarding international roaming charges.
I first reported these bugs and design flaws to Apple two years ago, but Apple seems reluctant to rectify them because not enough people have complained. Therefore please complain to Apple about these issues at:

http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

While I'm on the subject of iMessage, I'll also mention two other problems with it that are not related to switching SIM cards:
  • There is an inconsistency in terminology between "Send as SMS" (within Settings->Messages) and "Send as Text Message" within the Messages app. Many users don't realise that “Send as Text Message” means that the message will be sent as chargeable SMS. "Text message" could be semantically understood to mean both SMS or iMessage, and so Apple should eliminate the ambiguity caused by this unnecessary use of two different terms and simply relabel "Send as Text Message" to "Send as SMS".
  • When users turn off the sending of read receipts, they continue to receive read receipts from other people. Read receipts should be mutual, as they are on Viber for example, otherwise users have no incentive to alter the default setting of not sending read receipts. Users should choose either to send and receive read receipts or not to send and receive them at all, i.e. all or nothing. Users who wish to hide whether they have read an incoming message should likewise not be able to see whether their own messages have been read by others, as with Viber. Although this is not a bug, it is arguably a design flaw which runs contrary to users' expectations.
Full list of numbers used to activate iMessage and FaceTime: +447786205094, +447537410201, +447537410211, +447537410221, +447537410231, +447537410241, +447537410251, +447537410261, +447537410271, +447537410281, +447537410291
   
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Default 06-03-2014, 23:52

I know this is not the primary point of your post, but as to the point below - I would hazard a guess that close to 90% of Americans are unfamiliar with the term SMS. While the term pops up in writing occasionally in the US, it is almost never used in speech. The term "text message" is used exclusively.

So while it is one thing to use the term "SMS" within the settings which most people look at rarely if at all, if the word SMS were an option within iMessage itself most Americans would have no idea what it was.

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Originally Posted by NFH View Post
While I'm on the subject of iMessage, I'll also mention two other problems with it that are not related to switching SIM cards:
  • There is an inconsistency in terminology between "Send as SMS" (within Settings->Messages) and "Send as Text Message" within the Messages app. Many users don't realise that “Send as Text Message” means that the message will be sent as chargeable SMS. "Text message" could be semantically understood to mean both SMS or iMessage, and so Apple should eliminate the ambiguity caused by this unnecessary use of two different terms and simply relabel "Send as Text Message" to "Send as SMS".
]
   
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NFH (Offline)
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Default 07-03-2014, 00:12

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Originally Posted by ronwi View Post
I would hazard a guess that close to 90% of Americans are unfamiliar with the term SMS. While the term pops up in writing occasionally in the US, it is almost never used in speech. The term "text message" is used exclusively.
The point is that the term "text message" can mean multiple protocols - SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber etc. All are forms of text message. "Send as text message" doesn't make it clear that the message will be sent by the only chargeable one of these protocols, i.e. SMS.
   
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Default 07-03-2014, 22:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by NFH View Post
The point is that the term "text message" can mean multiple protocols - SMS, iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber etc. All are forms of text message. "Send as text message" doesn't make it clear that the message will be sent by the only chargeable one of these protocols, i.e. SMS.
I agree - but what wording would you suggest that Apple use that would be universally understood given that the vast majority of people in the US are not familiar with the term SMS? I would say that most people here understand the words "text message" to refer to SMS. They would not take it to mean WhatsApp, Viber, etc. (which has a relatively small user base in the US due to domestic SMS generally being unlimited and free.) I suppose a solution would be to use the phrase "text message" in the US English version of IOS, and SMS in other English language versions.
   
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NFH (Offline)
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Default 08-03-2014, 12:10

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronwi View Post
I would say that most people here understand the words "text message" to refer to SMS. They would not take it to mean WhatsApp, Viber, etc. (which has a relatively small user base in the US due to domestic SMS generally being unlimited and free.)
I agree that "text message" would only very loosely cover WhatsApp and Viber. However, "text message" clearly refers to both SMS and iMessage, both of which function within iOS's Messages app. It is therefore necessary to distinguish between chargeable SMS via the GSM network and free-of-charge iMessage via IP. In the same way that the Settings menu refers to "Send as SMS", the Messages app should be consistent by using the same terminology. I understand that the marginal cost of sending SMS in the US is zero only on daily or monthly price plans and where the destination number is also a US number; many SMS messages are therefore chargeable from the US.
   
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