Q: How do I disassociate my phone number from iMessage? I recently broke my hand-me-down iPhone 4S mid-contract and I’ve had to revert back to using an old cell phone. Now when friends with iPhones (almost everyone I know) try to send me an SMS I never get the message. Using both my wife’s and daughter’s iPhones, we’ve confirmed that the only way I seem to be able to receive their text messages is if they turn off cellular data before sending it. Who would I need to talk to about fixing this problem, Apple or Verizon?
A: This ball is definitely in Apple’s court, as iMessage works through Apple’s network, and the problem here is that other people’s iPhones are looking up your phone number on Apple’s iMessage servers, and then deciding to send the messages out via the iMessage network, rather than Verizon’s SMS network. In short, there’s nothing Verizon can do about this, as they don’t technically “see” the iMessages as anything more than normal Internet traffic. While getting your iPhone number disassociated from iMessage used to be a somewhat complicated process, the good news is that you can now do this using Apple’s Deregister iMessage page.
Simply follow the instructions on the page, which basically involve entering and confirming your phone number via an SMS message, and your phone number should then be removed from Apple’s servers so that other iPhones and iOS devices will go back to sending you good old fashioned SMS messages. However, if you ever pop your SIM card into an iPhone with iMessage toggled on again, you’ll need to repeat this process if you want to go back to a non-iPhone device.