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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iPhone, iPad & iPod > Does iMessage Suck?

Does iMessage Suck?
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Clinically Insane
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Sep 25, 2013, 01:04 AM
 
I hear a lot of people bitch about it, but I fail to see the suck vector.

Make no mistake, it used to be garbage, but I've felt they fixed most of the deal-breakers awhile back.

Free texts, which show up on all my iDevices and computers, with delivery confirmation. That's pretty not that bad.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 03:19 AM
 
I just wish the Messages OS X app would fall back to delivering SMS messages when iMessage is not available.
     
subego  (op)
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Sep 25, 2013, 03:45 AM
 
I think that's an option. At least in iOS 7.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 05:24 AM
 
OS X, not iOS.

And this can't be an option anywhere in the world outside of North America, because nobody else has implemented the idiotic idea that a RECIPIENT pays for SMS that somebody else sent him.

So here in Europe, iMessage can't default to sending SMS unless you're actually in a cellular network and can be billed for it.

(technically simplified version)
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 05:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
OS X, not iOS.

And this can't be an option anywhere in the world outside of North America, because nobody else has implemented the idiotic idea that a RECIPIENT pays for SMS that somebody else sent him.

So here in Europe, iMessage can't default to sending SMS unless you're actually in a cellular network and can be billed for it.

(technically simplified version)

No email to SMS gateway possibility?
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 06:10 AM
 
Sure it's possible, but Apple would be charged by operators for each SMS. One possible way is if they could somehow offer to send the SMS as if it came from your phone number, but I don't know if that's technically possible - seems like an invitation to abuse.
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Sep 25, 2013, 07:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
No email to SMS gateway possibility?
Services like GMX allow for this as part of their paid plans, which include e.g. 10 free SMS (any more than that are billed separately).
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 11:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Sure it's possible, but Apple would be charged by operators for each SMS. One possible way is if they could somehow offer to send the SMS as if it came from your phone number, but I don't know if that's technically possible - seems like an invitation to abuse.
Wait, if you send an SMS to someone via email (e.g. yournumber@txt.att.net or whatever), the carrier charges the email provider?
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 11:58 AM
 
You don't send an SMS via e-mail. What you describe above simply doesn't exist in countries where the person performing an action is responsible for its cost.

The service sends an SMS. You just tell it to send the SMS via a web portal. THEIR carrier bills them. The service bills you.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 12:15 PM
 
That sucks. Here in the United States every cell phone number has an email address through which you can send text messages. Makes it easy to send SMS even if you aren't paying for text messages on your cell phone plan.

Phones can send SMS to email addresses too.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 01:20 PM
 
OTOH, I find it...strange...that somebody else could decide to send me a message, and I have to pay for it, without even being asked.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 01:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
That sucks. Here in the United States every cell phone number has an email address through which you can send text messages. Makes it easy to send SMS even if you aren't paying for text messages on your cell phone plan.

Phones can send SMS to email addresses too.

I think somebody should create an "Non-American, but not Canadian or Australian denial" thread...
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 02:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I just wish the Messages OS X app would fall back to delivering SMS messages when iMessage is not available.
Oops... Misread that.
     
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Sep 25, 2013, 10:31 PM
 
iMessage is slow. I send a message, a simple message, and it sometimes gets delivered minutes later. AOL IM was much faster than this. Sending a simple picture takes a long time. Whatsapp is much faster.
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subego  (op)
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Sep 26, 2013, 04:59 AM
 
While not consistently so, I find iMessage faster than SMS.

Of course, the problem with any other app is getting other people on the platform.
     
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Sep 26, 2013, 05:58 AM
 
When comparing SMS services, it is important to note that SMS was enabled on the original GSM networks in Europe around 1992-93, while US operators only bothered by the end of the century. Between those two dates, the Internet arrived in the common consciousness. When SMS launched in Europe, few knew what email was, and SMS grew on its own - very slowly at first. When it launched in the US, email was already common, so an email gateway was an obvious thing to include in the launch to improve usability at a time when few used it.
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Sep 26, 2013, 09:16 AM
 
I find iMessages to be very quick, much faster than SMS. Though I live in an LTE city and consistently have near-maximum reception.

I think BBM, if it ever launches, could be a formidable opponent; I know most of my friends were using BBM before they had iPhones so the familiarity is there. and tying iOS and Android messaging together is quite the advantage. I would seriously consider BBM if both my iOS and Android contacts were open to moving to it as the primary messaging service.
     
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Sep 26, 2013, 09:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
OTOH, I find it...strange...that somebody else could decide to send me a message, and I have to pay for it, without even being asked.
As data becomes king, the days of paying per-text or having a text allotment are going away. I haven't had a limited number of texts since 2005.
     
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Sep 26, 2013, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
I find iMessages to be very quick, much faster than SMS. Though I live in an LTE city and consistently have near-maximum reception.

I think BBM, if it ever launches, could be a formidable opponent; I know most of my friends were using BBM before they had iPhones so the familiarity is there. and tying iOS and Android messaging together is quite the advantage. I would seriously consider BBM if both my iOS and Android contacts were open to moving to it as the primary messaging service.
I'd be cool with BBM as well.
     
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Sep 26, 2013, 02:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
When comparing SMS services, it is important to note that SMS was enabled on the original GSM networks in Europe around 1992-93, while US operators only bothered by the end of the century. Between those two dates, the Internet arrived in the common consciousness. When SMS launched in Europe, few knew what email was, and SMS grew on its own - very slowly at first. When it launched in the US, email was already common, so an email gateway was an obvious thing to include in the launch to improve usability at a time when few used it.
Up until just these past few years, it's also been a MASSIVE cash cow for mobile carriers.

That didn't change until WhatsApp (and iMessage), really.

It's only been this year that most plans include SMS flat-rates on T-Mobile Germany, for example.
     
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Sep 26, 2013, 09:51 PM
 
It works great for me and I imessage all over the US and some internationally. It doesn't help that Verizon doesn't support 2-way texting with nearly all major Russian cell providers. Lame. But at least imessage works well.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 12:31 AM
 
I love iMessage, have it set to use sms for non iUsers. It's so easy to have a daylong conversation without interrupting my work.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 02:53 AM
 
Doesn't the Messages app ALWAYS use SMS for non-iUsers?

The setting is to fall back to SMS when an iMessage user isn't online and the message times out.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 09:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I just wish the Messages OS X app would fall back to delivering SMS messages when iMessage is not available.
And how would that work technically? No Mac is connected to the cell phone network, and Apple for sure doesn't want to carry the cost of sending billions of SMS for their users.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 09:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
And how would that work technically? No Mac is connected to the cell phone network, and Apple for sure doesn't want to carry the cost of sending billions of SMS for their users.
You might want to read the rest of the thread first.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 02:16 PM
 
I like iMessage because it doesn't rely on your telephone number like Whatsapp, if you travel frequently and use disposable sim cards your number changes fairly often. iMessage as other posters have mentioned work on all Apple devices where as Whatsapp is limited to your phone because it relies on your phone number.

There are some minor improvements I'd make to iMessage, the ability to send read receipts for group chat and 1 click to send your location would be great when you're meeting up with friends instead of having to switch to Maps.
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Sep 27, 2013, 08:37 PM
 
As long as you have one consistent phone number in service, you don't have to change your WhatsApp phone number when you travel. I have a UK SIM, Canada SIM, and US SIM, all used often. I always use my UK number for WhatsApp. When I swap SIMs, and open WhatsApp it notices the network changed, and asks me if I want to change my WhatsApp number, I do not change it. People can always reach me on WhatsApp at the same number.

With iMessage when I swap SIMs, iMessage changes the phone number linked to my iMessage account, it doesn't give me the option to keep the same number, or use both numbers.

I use an email address as my primary contact for iMessage, so friends/family/colleagues don't have to keep track of what number is active for iMessage. For this reason, when travelling internationally I find WhatsApp more convenient.

The biggest complaint I had with iMessage is lack of time stamps for every message. However, you can now slide a message bubble to the left to see the timestamps for all messages.

My apologies if a bit off topic.

Originally Posted by bleee View Post
I like iMessage because it doesn't rely on your telephone number like Whatsapp, if you travel frequently and use disposable sim cards your number changes fairly often. iMessage as other posters have mentioned work on all Apple devices where as Whatsapp is limited to your phone because it relies on your phone number.

There are some minor improvements I'd make to iMessage, the ability to send read receipts for group chat and 1 click to send your location would be great when you're meeting up with friends instead of having to switch to Maps.
     
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Sep 27, 2013, 08:48 PM
 
Great first post, thanks for the info and welcome to macnn.
     
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Sep 28, 2013, 01:01 PM
 
My opinion: iMessage on iOS generally works well. But, a related aspect to why iMessage may suck is its poor sync capability to Messages on OS X. An ongoing discussion on Apple forums describes the issues that many users (including me) encounter with how individual iMessages appear in the OS X client:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0

If messages are sent with both the iOS and OS X clients running (i.e. network connected, machine on, etc.), then these sync well, and appear almost simultaneously at each interface (in my use). But in the common scenario of sending more messages with, e.g. an iPhone, while the Mac is sleeping, the messages can sync back to the Mac completely out of time-stamp order. You just find a jumble of messages, sorted by sender but scrambled within or across days. This breaks the paradigm, since conversations aren't consistent among devices.

So does it mean that iMessage sucks? Not entirely, but part of its promise is this direct sync to the Mac. The conversation in the forums regarding this issue has been ongoing for a year, and multiple users report submitting bug reports to Apple (only available under the old iChat category). There's no reliable fix yet, even with multiple 10.8.x updates.
     
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Sep 28, 2013, 02:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post
And how would that work technically? No Mac is connected to the cell phone network, and Apple for sure doesn't want to carry the cost of sending billions of SMS for their users.
Email -> SMS gateway, only I didn't realize that even this this costs money abroad.
     
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Sep 28, 2013, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by daharrin View Post
My opinion: iMessage on iOS generally works well. But, a related aspect to why iMessage may suck is its poor sync capability to Messages on OS X. An ongoing discussion on Apple forums describes the issues that many users (including me) encounter with how individual iMessages appear in the OS X client:

https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0

If messages are sent with both the iOS and OS X clients running (i.e. network connected, machine on, etc.), then these sync well, and appear almost simultaneously at each interface (in my use). But in the common scenario of sending more messages with, e.g. an iPhone, while the Mac is sleeping, the messages can sync back to the Mac completely out of time-stamp order. You just find a jumble of messages, sorted by sender but scrambled within or across days. This breaks the paradigm, since conversations aren't consistent among devices.

So does it mean that iMessage sucks? Not entirely, but part of its promise is this direct sync to the Mac. The conversation in the forums regarding this issue has been ongoing for a year, and multiple users report submitting bug reports to Apple (only available under the old iChat category). There's no reliable fix yet, even with multiple 10.8.x updates.


Yeah, I've noticed the messages sometimes being out of order too.
     
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Sep 28, 2013, 10:15 PM
 
I've sort of depended on iMessage for work communication for the past couple of years, connecting with iPhone and non-iPone users while on-the-go at work. I've never had a problem with it in that role, though I HAVE had issues between my phone and my wife's (both iPhone 4S's) with messages being slow to be delivered (usually when it's most inconvenient to have a delay). Much easier to call if I don't get an immediate reply.

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Sep 28, 2013, 10:30 PM
 
If anything, the worst thing about iMessage is if you use multiple devices you can't save battery on your phone by turning off cellular data.

Last time I tested that I got two days of battery life.
     
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Sep 29, 2013, 01:31 PM
 
If battery life is that important, turning off cell data is an easy decision and stops all apps and services, which seems more desirable for the user making that choice than imessage carving out an exception for itself.
     
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Sep 29, 2013, 08:59 PM
 
iMessage wouldn't need an exception, it would just need to be smart enough to know to send as an SMS if it can't reach a client with cellular voice capabilities.
     
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Sep 29, 2013, 09:17 PM
 
It sends as sms if it can't reach with iMessage.
     
subego  (op)
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Sep 29, 2013, 10:11 PM
 
AFAIK, only if you have no other iMessage clients.

This may have changed, but let's say I have an iPhone and an iPad with iMessage. The phone is with me (data off), the pad is at home.

If someone sends me an iMessage, it lands on my iPad. That's enough for iMessage to have considered it delivered. I never get it on my phone.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 10:04 AM
 
I never use iMessage. When it first came out, it was unreliable. I tried it again weeks later and it was still unreliable. Then I just shut it off for good. And then now comes iOS 7, and it's still unreliable.

OTOH, at least on my carrier, SMS and MMS are bulletproof. They also have the advantage of being cross-platform, and they don't even require a smartphone.

About the only thing I like about iMessage (and other instant messaging protocols) is that it forced the carriers to be reasonable with their plans with regards to SMS and MMS. Both my wife's plan and my plan include free unlimited domestic and international SMS and MMS, which means basically there is no reason at all anymore to use the less reliable iMessage.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 11:26 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
About the only thing I like about iMessage (and other instant messaging protocols) is that it forced the carriers to be reasonable with their plans with regards to SMS and MMS. Both my wife's plan and my plan include free unlimited domestic and international SMS and MMS, which means basically there is no reason at all anymore to use the less reliable iMessage.
No message length limit and better multiple-person conversations are why I use iMessage.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 05:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
It sends as sms if it can't reach with iMessage.
It fails (at least right now) do do that consistently.

-t
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 06:13 PM
 
That has worked fine here with the exception of two days early last week.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 06:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
It fails (at least right now) do do that consistently.
That was one of my issues with iMessage when it first was released.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
That has worked fine here with the exception of two days early last week.
It seems that iOS7 made it much worse. I have had on and off problems over the last 7 days.

I read somewhere that this will be fixed with iOS 7.0.3.

-t
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 08:23 PM
 
I seem to be one of the lucky ones in that regard. No problems I've noticed in the phone implementation, which is what matters to me.
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 08:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
No message length limit and better multiple-person conversations are why I use iMessage.
I think the best reason is that you can use it on non-phone devices... but since non-phone devices aren't linked by phone numbers, this is a big problem for some people (like me).
     
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Oct 5, 2013, 09:22 PM
 
In what way? I have non phone devices too. Works fine.
     
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Oct 6, 2013, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
In what way? I have non phone devices too. Works fine.
Your non-iPhone iDevices receive their iMessages using the email address, not the phone number. Fortunately, you can link a phone number to your Apple ID email so you can get iMessages to your phone number on your iPad. Unfortunately, if someone sends you an SMS (not iMessage) to your phone number, you won't get it on your iPad.

As far as I'm concerned, this makes iPad iMessaging pointless.
     
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Oct 6, 2013, 04:03 PM
 
Gotcha.

I always have my phone, so for me the iPad functionality is more to save me a trip to the pocket.
     
   
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