A new, previously unannounced iOS 12 feature is causing major headaches for some Apple users.
The feature, which Forbes points out was left off the official iOS 12 features list, was intended to merge chats you had with iOS device users who have multiple phone numbers and emails. A popular example of this is if you have multiple chat threads with a friend from work based on their personal number and work email.
In theory, this sounds like a great improvement that organizes and tidies up your Messenger app and keeps conversations organized in a single thread.
However, as first discovered by PiunikaWeb, iOS 12 device users are taking to Apple’s Support Communities forum to share reports that the newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system is mistakenly merging contacts that belong to completely separate individuals. Users on the forums are reporting that their messages intended for just one person are being sent to, for example, both their husband and child or their mother and sister thanks to the unintended merges.
Messages being sent to unintended third parties could very well be a disaster for those gossiping among co-workers or someone cheating on their significant other. If you’re one of the exemplars in those instances, you have a pretty good reason to worry about this issue.
In most, if not all, of the cases being reported online, the affected users all appear to be in an immediate family relationship. Mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, siblings, children — the reason for this is that the issue seems to be affecting those who share Apple IDs.
It doesn’t look like we’re dealing with a bug, but a consequence from Apple not accounting for its customers having utilized its features in unintended ways. It seems that the way Apple is determining which messages to merge is based on phone numbers and emails that share an Apple ID. Each individual is supposed to have their own Apple ID. So, again in theory, the contacts merged by Apple ID should all belong to one person.
Judging by many of the cases on Apple’s Support Communities, families seem to have been sharing Apple IDs to make App Store purchases or to monitor children’s activity. And while commentors are stating the solution would appear to be just to setup individual Apple IDs for everyone, according to reports on the forums, that doesn’t look to be working as a solution for those whose chats have already been merged.
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