Switching to Android: How to fix not receiving text messages from iPhone iOS users

After quite a few years of reliable use, my iPhone 5S finally broke down on me. There were some odd scratches or particles inside the camera mechanism in the phone that caused large blotches to appear in all of my pictures. It was really annoying because I love using my phone camera while I’m out.

A picture of my wall, showing the dark blotches from damage to the camera.
A picture of my wall, showing the dark blotches from damage to the camera.

I did some research online and the problem seems to be caused by dust or impact damage to the camera lens. My iPhone wasn’t new, by any means. It had suffered more than a few drops and it was out of warranty. Regardless, Apple won’t repair damage to the camera in-store. People who had this issue were given new phones instead if they were within the warranty period. Even if Apple did repair damaged camera mechanisms, I wonder if it would have been worth it? A brand new iPhone 5S is $99 on Virgin Mobile. The repair might have been as much or more.

Not quite ready to spend a lot of money on a new phone, I tried carrying around an actual camera with me for a while. Besides being extra weight, bulky, and more difficult to use (so many settings and stuff), it felt like I was whipping out and wielding a rotary phone. Mostly, it was just an awkward experience and the pictures the camera took weren’t that good anyway. Even the iPhone 5S did a better job. I wasn’t really surprised though. The camera I was trying to use as an alternative was a few years older than the 5S.

I finally caved and decided it was time to purchase a new phone. After much consideration, I decided to jump ship and switch to a Samsung Galaxy S7 running Android Nougat 7.0. I think what finally sold me on the device was the water and dust proofing (so I wouldn’t have the camera problem I had with the iPhone 5S) and the excellent camera. I’m also still butthurt about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I don’t think it was worth it to get a vibrating non-button home button. They’re giving less and asking for more than a viable competitor.

It took me about 10-12 hours to install and log into my favorite apps (or find alternatives in the Google Play Store), customize the launcher, set wallpapers, and just get comfortable with the device. But then I hit a snag. I realized I wasn’t receiving text messages that were sent to me by people using iPhones.

The Fix:

I did some research online to see how to get the problem fixed. I had a feeling it had something to do with iMessages, and I was right. The top search results recommended doing things like sending text messages to random numbers with a STOP command, but that didn’t seem to do anything. Also, the article was pretty old and dealt with a previous version of iOS.

I did some tinkering on my own and realized the solution in iOS 10 is pretty simple:

Simply toggle off iMessages in your Messages Settings menu.
Simply toggle off iMessages in your Messages Settings menu.

On your iPhone, open Settings < Messages, and toggle off iMessage. If you have an iPad like I do, toggle off iMessage there as well. Also, in the next menu down, toggle off FaceTime.

Then you just have to wait. I managed to get this far at around 2 AM. By 8:30 am, I was receiving text messages from iPhone users again.

If you have an iPad, make sure to turn off iMessage there as well. Also disable FaceTime.
If you have an iPad, make sure to turn off iMessage there as well. Also disable FaceTime.

As far as the Samsung Galaxy S7 goes, it was worth it. It’s an awesome phone, especially coming from an iPhone 5S. I’m happy with the camera too. I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to test it yet, but so far I’m happy with how it performs. There are no filters on the photos below:

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Late afternoon sunshine at City College.

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The iPad 3G is for sale in Manila, but WTF?

While we were out in Manila last night at Megamall we wandered into the electronics area to find some speakers for my laptop.  Some of the ‘specially priced’ movies we’ve been picking up have low volume so we needed something to give it a bit of a boost.  While we were there we saw this in the window:

IMG_0096

The iPad3G is a pretty neat item.  I personally have no desire to get one.  I still think of it as nothing more than a giant iPod Touch.  Plus, it doesn’t really match up with life in the Philippines.  Walking around with something like that in your hand would make you an impressive… target.  Ya.  People would see that and that incident where the guy got his fingers ripped off while his iPad was being stolen would seem tame by comparison.

Anyway, what prompted me to take the photo was the price tag.  The iPad isn’t being sold here officially, that I know of anyway, so the hand-imported ones are selling for higher than what they should.  The price on that iPad is 59,950 PHP, or approximately 1,290 USD.  Electronics in the Philippines typically carry a higher price tag.  I think they’re highly taxed by the government, but this is just over the top.

The next ‘toy’ that I shell out money for will probably be the iPhone 5 next year, if even that.  I’ve had to rearrange my priorities since coming here and I can think of plenty of other things I could spend that money on.  My trusty iPhone 3G will just have to keep chugging along for a few more years.

Finally Replaced My Dying Beast of A Laptop

It’s been a busy couple of days, filled with long talks with my wife about plans for the beginning of next month, when I’ll be moving to the Philippines, along with our cats.  It’s also been busy because I finally picked up a new laptop.

For those of you that have been keeping up with my blog for a while you’ll remember that about a year ago I started complaining about issues with my MacBook Pro.  I’d originally bought the thing in March of 2007.  I guess you could say it was a birthday present to myself, so I went all out and got the best specs and I wound up dropping about 3500 USD on it.  3 years on, I think it was a waste of money.

I first started noticing a problem with it about 5 months after I bought it, in August of 2007.  At the time I was still in the US military, on a deployment in Kuwait.  I was staying in a very quiet, nicely air conditioned barracks. It was an open bay barracks, meaning the whole thing was one big room, so noise was kept at a minimum out of respect for people who were working different shifts and may be asleep during the day.  I was able to hear a faint clicking noise coming from the left internal fan.  Being in Kuwait and locked down on an Army camp I had no way to do anything about it until I went on leave (vacation) in October.

As soon as I got to NYC I went to the 5th Avenue Apple store and dropped it off to be serviced.  Roughly 6 days later, I had to go up there and demand that it be returned because they’d kept it longer than they said they would and I had to leave to go back to Kuwait.  When the guy came back with it, he said that they’d found some dust inside the laptop, but there was nothing wrong with the fan.

The clicking noise continued and later research on the internet showed that it wasn’t an isolated problem.  Of course, by the time I got back from Kuwait, finished the mad rush of paperwork, picking up my car and household goods, and going through all the medical processing, my warranty was expired.  Not to mention that there was no Apple store around to take it to again anyway.

Additionally, during the last few months I was in Kuwait the DVD “Super” drive failed.  It no longer recognized discs and would make some ‘clack, clack’ noises and then spit the DVD (or CD) back out.  The only disc it seemed to accept properly was my Leopard installation disc.

A few months later, shortly after arriving in Singapore in February of 2008, the Express Card 34 slot broke.  I was trying to insert an eSATA adapter and instead of hearing the familiar sound of the card seating, I heard something snap and break and the adapter just sat there, loose in the socket.  The locking mechanism must have gotten stuck in the wrong position and been broken off when I inserted the card.

Thankfully, the thing held up well until May of last year.  The noise from the fan started to increase but that was all.

May was when it really started to go bad on me though.  The OS started to slow down considerably.  Fresh installs did nothing to help it.  Shortly after that the left fan finally gave out.  Whenever I started doing anything that would generate a high amount of heat, like using 3D programs or watching Flash videos, the left fan would spin up and make a sound like a lawn mower dying.

Since then I’ve been putting back money when I was able and I was finally able to afford and justify the purchase of a new laptop.

Given my past experience with my MacBook Pro, I decided to go with something far cheaper and hopefully far more reliable.  During that long ordeal with that beast of a machine I found out that Macs are plagued with hardware issues.  I guess I really should have coughed up the extra money for the Apple Care Extended Warranty, but I figured that having spent so much on a premium product it would be reliable.  That obviously wasn’t the case.

So, now I have a Lenovo Y450.  It’s got an HD screen, an nVidia GeForce 210M video card, a 2.13 ghz dual core processor, 2 GB of RAM and it even sounds good.  It has Dolby Home Theater software that’s supposed to make it kick ass.  It’s also running Windows 7, which is taking some getting used to.  I’ve primarily used OS X and Ubuntu for the last few years.  The whole thing has a nice, solid feel to it though and the only trouble I’m having so far is finding programs to replace the ones I’m accustomed to.  Oh, it came with freebies too: a shoulder bag and a wired mouse.  The mouse works well, even without a mouse pad, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with the bag.  It’s not a bright idea to walk around in Manila advertising that you’re carrying a laptop with you.

I also think that I’m done buying Apple products.  For a long while anyway.  I’ll use the iPods we have until they die and then maybe replace them.  There’s probably a cheaper alternative that’s just as nice and supports more formats.  I don’t think I’ll get another iPhone after this one either.  It’s nice and all, but I hardly use the majority of the apps on the thing, the camera is crap and it seems to stay behind in functionality compared to competitors.  That’s a story for another post though.

One last photo:

Dapper, The Great Investigator, examining the laptop box, perhaps to see if it’s suitable for use as a cat bed.