Over the years, I've seen several threads on Geekzone regarding iMessage activation issues. Sometimes, Apple has been at fault, but I think the majority of the threads relating to iMessage activation issues occur after a port.
A couple of years ago when I ported to 2Degrees from Spark, iMessage wouldn't activate, and thanks to Geekzone I was able to be in touch with engineers at 2Degrees who resolved the issue.
Last month, my partner ported her phone from 2Degrees to Vodafone to take advantage of their impressive roaming when in the US. iMessage wouldn't activate on her number either once it was ported, and John R came to the rescue as he so often graciously does here.
So I thank everyone who helps out here, who go well above and beyond.
Seeing the much wider availability of Vodafone 4G where we are, my daughter wanted her prepaid account ported from 2Degrees to Vodafone, which I did over the weekend, and yet again, iMessage didn't activate. John's on holiday at the moment, I suppose we have to give the man a break sometimes, so to make my daughter happy I decided to go the conventional call-centre route.
I could write a classic Geekzone rant about the time Vodafone had me waste talking to Apple. Apple concluded of course that everything was fine with the device and that they were sending out the SMS activation message so the ball was in Vodafone's court again. I called Vodafone back and they tried to transfer me back to Apple, and I was left with the distinct impression that Vodafone were going to do whatever it took not to take ownership of the problem, even when Apple issues were ruled out.
All I will say about that experience are two things. First, if I were Brooke Fraser, I'd be demanding Vodafone stop using "Something in the Water" at once, because all the time I spent on hold with them transformed it from a song I thought was really catchy to one that will give me nightmares if I ever hear it again.
Second, it made me realise that I have a lot further to go in my zen journey than I thought I did.
I too am about to travel to the US for a conference, and have been concerned by a slower 4G roll-out by 2Degrees than I would like, so with many mixed feelings, I have also ported. Sure enough, iMessage won't activate. The difference this time is that mine is an 021 number, the other two coming from 2Degrees are 022. I thought this may make a difference but it does not.
After my Vodafone experience from hell yesterday, I did stumble on the work-around. iTunes encrypted back-ups save some settings that no other form of back-up will capture. I don't know if the iMessage/FaceTime activation tokens are one of those things, but when we restored my daughters device from an encrypted back-up taken when iMessage was working, her iPhone didn't attempt to send an activation SMS after the restore, it just accepted that iMessage was activated.
That's also how I resolved my own issue today, which is just as well as I use iMessage and FaceTime heavily for my business.
However, I view this is a work-around, not a fix. It leaves me with a number of questions.
First, it's clear the SMS to activate iMessage is being sent to the UK number as we can see these on our accounts. Unlike 2Degrees, Vodafone doesn't 0-rate these texts. Based on my dialogue with Apple and the fact that John was able to resolve one of these recent incidents for me, it appears Apple is receiving the activation SMS from the affected devices and then sending the expected response. However, that response from Apple is not reaching the device. Why, and what needs to be done here in NZ to fix what would appear to be a fairly common systemic problem with iMessage after porting?
Does the issue pertain to international SMSs in general?
Is the problem the fact that the response messages from Apple are being routed to the wrong carrier after a port?
And finally, if this has happened to me three times in the space of a month, I imagine it's affecting a lot of people who may not realise they're not getting the full benefit of their iPhone, and could be missing FaceTime calls without realising it.
I would like to understand this issue further, perhaps with a view to taking it to TUANZ or some other organisation who can advocate for some proper attention to be paid to this.