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I do not have an iPhone, and I don't have an Apple ID. I have an android. When any of my friends with an Android text me, it works perfect. But when any of my friends with an iPhone text me, it sends an iMessage to a grumpy stranger who used to have this number. He still has this phone number registered to send and receive iMessages.

I borrowed my friend's iPhone to have a chat with the stranger via iMessage. He says he still considers this to be his number, even though he canceled his phone plan. He still wants to use the number to send and receive iMessages. He suggests I go to my phone provider and get a different number for my Android. Which seems ridiculous to me. This is my phone number as assigned to me by the phone plan I bought.

Is there anything I can do to remove my phone number from his Apple ID so he can't send and receive iMessages with it?

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  • Is it not possible to de-register the phone number from iMessages? It reads as if they'll send you a text message for that: selfsolve.apple.com/deregister-imessage
    – Redarm
    Jun 15, 2023 at 8:08
  • @Redarm - if it was that easy, people would do it as a prank. "Enter the phone number you want to deregister from iMessage and we'll send you a confirmation code."
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 15, 2023 at 9:29
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    Does this imply that iMessage does not require a matching SIM phone no to be installed (leading to all sorts of spoofing issues from the start), or is it merely a legacy of the stranger's iPhone once having a valid SIM number which iMessages is now neglecting to check? Either way, sounds like a bit of an oversight by Apple! Jun 15, 2023 at 10:36
  • @Tetsujin Is that not what Apple's support article implies - enter phone number, then the code sent via text message? Have you tried and there are more obstacles? Pranks there are many (called spam).
    – Redarm
    Jun 15, 2023 at 10:59
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    @Redarm your comment with the link to deregister imessage ended up working. I gave him 48 hours to tell his friends the email for his AppleId so they can iMessage him that way, and then booted his iMessage off of my number using the deregister utility. Since that appears to be the best solution, we should make it the accepted answer if future people visit this question. If you make it an answer, you can claim the bounty!
    – Jared K
    Jun 20, 2023 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

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+50

One can de-register the phone number from iMessage with Apple's "selfsolve" form: https://selfsolve.apple.com/deregister-imessage/

Since the confirmation code required gets sent via SMS to the phone number itself, this seems to be the easiest solution.

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It’s not clear what solution you’re looking for from here because there’s no setting you or your friends can change on your devices to get around this. This is ultimately an issue with the man’s account having a dead (to him) number attached to his Apple ID/Account.

However, to try and give you a plan of action, I’ve outlined a couple strategies you can attempt to resolve this.

Reason with him

He says he still considers this to be his number, even though he canceled his phone plan. He still wants to use the number to send and receive iMessages.

He is wrong. The number (block) belongs to the carrier and was assigned to him at one point, but isn’t any longer. It is impractical for him to use a number not associated with him to send/receive messages. Ultimately, when he is searched for by phone number, the number ultimately will go to you. If iMessage goes down unexpectedly, it will send the message via SMS which means you’ll be the recipient, not him.

He suggests I go to my phone provider and get a different number for my Android.

That won’t solve anything. After the grace period the carrier give when disassociating numbers from customers, it will go back into rotation to be assigned and the problem will then move from you to someone else. He’ll be stuck with the issue except it will now be with someone else. Does he wan’t to deal with this in perpetuity?

This is also a security concern. If Apple has to send a validation code (for account recovery) to a trusted device like his phone, he won’t be able to receive the SMS because you will be the recipient. Could you imagine if a bad actor was to get that number and then (maliciously) use it for account recovery? All they would need is his Apple ID.

Contact Apple

Plead your case (in writing) to Apple that one of their customers disconnected a phone line but did not update their information. As such, you can’t create your Apple ID (they don’t need to know you switched to Android) and you’re stuck in this “limbo.” You’ll want to include the following info:

  • Billing statement from the carrier showing you’re the current “owner” of the phone number.
  • Chat logs asking the previous owner for assistance and his refusal

Final Thoughts

I can’t say with any certainty that any of this will work because you’re dealing with 3rd parties with their own motivations. However, it is a strategy. Just procede professionally and methodically to ensure you’re perceived as the reasonable party.

If all else fails and I were in your shoes, I might be tempted to do get a cheap iPhone and a pay-as-you go phone number, register for an Apple ID and spam the daylights out of him claiming you’re trying to reach “you.” If he blocks, let the number go, get a new one and do it again.

The bottom line is he is creating a problem for himself and for others. I would hope that a semi-reasonable person would see this, but if not, hopefully Apple will.

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  • Hmm, what would happen if the SIM (with the phone number) would be put into an actual iPhone and linked with an AppleID there?
    – nohillside
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:03
  • Interesting take. Does that phone immediately become a trusted device? If registration fails, Apple Support would have to get involved at some level and it would be obvious who would be in possession of the number.
    – Allan
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:07
  • That's what I would hope for in that case, yes. And if registration does work, the SIM owner would get access to all messages (which would make a very convincing argument). But I assume it will fail.
    – nohillside
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:09

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