How to Fix iCloud Message Problems Between iPhone, iPad and iTouch (Dec. 2013)

The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.
The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.

For the past month, adults everywhere have found their text messages going to their children’s iPads. And the kids, if they’re old enough, are sending messages to their friends, which in turn go to the parents’ iPhones. So guys like me are at the office getting bombarded with texts from kids, and our own texts aren’t going through.

These are the symptoms of Apple’s changes to iCloud synching, and I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs is turning in his grave. The tech folks at Cupertino should be glad he’s dead, but still fear his wrath in the afterlife.

Here’s how to fix your iCloud problem:

  1. This is not caused by the fact that your kids are using your me.com or mac.com account to buy apps on their iPads. Giving them their own account for the iTunes and App stores will not solve your problem.
  2. The beginning of both the problem and solution lies in the settings > iCloud menu. Your iPad and iPod devices are probably logged on to the same iCloud account you use for your iPhone. That means all your text messages go to them. And vice versa. This is something that changed in mid November 2013.
  3. Once you’ve deleted your iCloud account from the iPod/iPad, you will need to set up another if they still plan to message other devices. This requires a credit card.
  4. Next you need to grab their iPad/iPod and go to settings > message. Turn that off iMessage off. Good, now turn it on again. And off.
  5. Theoretically you should be fine. But the bug makes iCloud link these devices even when you delete the account on them. The iPods, iPads and iPhones remember the iCloud account even after you delete them entirely… So you need to delete it. Turn it off. Turn it on.
  6. Do you see the insanity? There’s no pattern here. You just need to keep turning iCloud and iMessage off and on and eventually you will get lucky. It’s a bug. Eventually you’ll do things in the correct sequence and it will resolve.
  7. Once it seems to work, test it by sending a message from each device to a different phone. Then start shopping for a Samsung. This isn’t the beginning or end of Apple’s decline.
i hate apple
i hate apple

While you’re experiencing this, it’s best to scream like a maniac. Threaten never to buy another Apple device again. Tell your kids if they ever login to your iCloud account you’ll take away their pad. Belt out that you will not spend an entire Sunday being the damned tech support desk for the entire family. Tell your wife and kids that if they have another problem with their iPhone, iPad or iPod that they are forbidden from even TELLING you about the problem much less asking for your help.

And here’s the dirty little secret. Apple knows damned well that families share many Apple devices. And families were getting by quite fine without needing synchronized messaging between devices. Apple has allowed this bug to exist, primarily to irritate us into establishing separate iCloud accounts for each device. When we’ve set up separate accounts, we’re more likely to buy songs more than once. We’ll likely buy apps more than once. It’s a conspiracy, man. This is a deliberate attempt to squeeze out “lazy money” from loyal Apple customers, and I’m sure it’s working. This reminds me of when Apple decided to make it impossible for me to shop Audible from my phone. Really, you greedy dick?

I was on the fence about jumping to Android, and the past few weeks have knocked me right over. Apple has been “pulling a Blackberry” in the past few years — it’s been absolutely lazy about feature upgrades since iPhone 3 and 4. Siri? A fingerprint reader? Please. Meanwhile, the Samsung has overtaken iPhone in 2013… it’s awkwardly large, but that’s a sacrifice I’ll need to make.

Who’s up for an Apple exodus? Did the company ever make you feel like it gives a shit if you switch?

apple eats bloody apple

AppleTV vs. iTV vs. Roku vs. TiVo vs. WTF?

The iPin is AppleTV's latest model, and it's smaller than a grain of rice but 32.5% larger than Plankton from Spongebob.

I’m a long-time advocate of the AppleTV, and intrigued enough by the iTV that I’ve got one on route. So what’s the difference, you ask? First check out Ryan/NewTeeVee’s coverage of AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Boxeee. Liz/NewTeeVee provides more in-depth coverage of the AppleTV/iTV.

So there’s no iTV. It’s just a new version of AppleTV, where the price of the unit was slashed in third. At $99 you won’t likely find a smoother interface to stream your content… assuming it’s as user-friendly and fast as AppleTV’s earlier model (around $300 with some room for storage).

We like the lower entry price making it an impulse buy, and the 99-cent rentals of television shows we miss — despite our best attempts via TiVo or the vintage DVR you’re using because you’re the cable company’s little bitch.

Until now we were buying assloads of missed television shows at twice that price ($1.99), and that’s a bit bloated for a 23-minute show (but certainly fair for an 45-minute show). We’re talking about decent HD, no stupid pre-rolls, an easy interface, and easy purchasing via the credit card Mac has on file. And for 95% of the shows we bought, a rental would be fine.While we’re not happy to see episodes costing $2.99 to own now, we’re hoping that our old AppleTV enjoys a software upgrade that makes it a new one. Otherwise we feel screwed. Except “The Office” and a few other shows, we don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word. Wait that’s a drop quote.

We don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word.

I find it perplexing that the unwashed masses are only beginning to adopt these things. We’ve got a Roku that’s not used often except for occasional Netflix viewing. The TiVo is the primary device because it plays live Verizon Fios without subjecting us to the horrible Verizon machines… TiVo also allows us to “subscribe” to YouTubers like “Obama Girl” and “Rhett & Link” and “The Onion” and “College Humor.”

Maybe I’ll do a little video demo when I get the new AppleTV because I read Scoble’s tweet that we can use our iPad as a remote to the new AppleTV, something that didn’t seem very easy with the old one.

Bottom line:

  • AppleTV is different in two ways. Cheaper unit ($99 not $300), and now you can rent all that television you missed or if you’re still not paying for access to premium channels because you’re a cheap bastard like me. Wait that made no sense. I’m probably paying more by buying these shows.
  • More choices (in hardware and vendor/price options) means a more confused marketplace but more attention by the mass market. Only one or two will survive, and you’re going to be getting lots of questions from your parents in the next few years. At least there’s no flashing 12:00 to worry about.
  • I’d predict that these will be mainstream by the fall, but I’m a bit gun shy making that prediction a 5th year in a row. I can’t even remember how I hedged this subject in my book, which is coming out in a week or so.
  • If I talk about my book too often, please tell me. I have seen authors do that, and it’s revolting. If I’m walking around with spinach in my teeth, you’d say something right?
  • How the heck did Netflix secure its space in this evolution? We thought they’d be Blockbustered.
  • It doesn’t bother me that only two people read my blog carefully.
  • Seriously- give me one good reason NOT to have a friggin’ Roku/Netflix/TiVo/AppleTV in your house? Sure it’s a few more devices and subscriptions, but we think this Onion spoof on Blockbusters is a reality now. When’s the last time you rented a DVD?
  • Is anyone else feeling like YouTube has gone WAY to far with the pre-rolls lately?

Mac’s New iPod Shuffle: My Social Media & Search-Engine Guinea Pig

Review of Mac’s new shuffle with remote-controlled headphones and voice control… this video explores this new device and gives it thumbs down.

 

The new shuffle can be controlled via the headphones if you know Morse Code.
The new shuffle can be controlled via the headphones if you know Morse Code.

I love my Macs, but I don’t care for the companies antiquated marketing style. Hush, hush and then mass marketing. Very 1980s/1990s, and not enough evidence it nurtures or rewards the enthusiastic fan base. Heck, the fact that Mac didn’t embrace HappySlip after her Mac Beautiful song made me think the company lacked basic marketing instincts. For the cost of a computer, Mac could have dazzled her and her audience. A relevant and permanent impression worth more than dozens of ad exposures.

 

So let’s backup, and see how Mac today became my guinea pig for a social media & marketing experiment: can social media stand between buyers and a new product.

Context: Last night I toiled in my day-job to help improve the way my employer monitors and engages in social-media. This morning I wrote a white paper (proprietary) that addresses the convergence of online-video and social media. And ironically I missed a social-media conference today in NYC. All of this at a time when social media is consuming more of our day than e-mail. (see previous post) That’s a really big deal.

hanna loves nalts but not his ipod nano shuffle reviewGoal: When the new Mac shuffle came out yesterday, I thought it was time for a test. Our mission: could little old ME rank higher on Google for basic terms related to the new Mac mini iPod Nano shuffle thing with autovoice? Could I possibly outrank Mac, CNet and Mac blogs on search terms people might use to find out of the device sucked or not? Remember Uncle Nalts says Google indexes well-viewed YouTube videos rather high. Certainly easier than buying Google ads perpetually or optimizing a website for 50K.

The Ditched Video Idea: My original plan was to make a skit about the Mac in hopes it would travel like my Mac Air parody (500K views and media pickup)…  Alas, none of my ideas struck me as particularly clever. At best, I’d play a frustrated PC designer launching a paperclip size MP3 player with a giant headphone device that allowed people to control it. And he’d be a day late. It just didn’t crack me up, and there was too much to cover and the clock was ticking.

Oh No You Din’t!
But my local Mac retailer didn’t even stock the new Shuffle today. Can Mac’s desire for launch secrecy prevent it from trusting distributors with the product immediately? Did Mac’s failure to stock for the impulse buys actually deprive me of my God-given right to buy more technology I don’t need despite debt?  

Results:
In a grumpy mood, I decided to vlog a bad review of the Mac Shuffle, and post it to YouTube. I then pretended to be a consumer searching Google for a review of the new device. Sure enough, below are the top three listings. To be fair, the search parameters are rather specific. But since Mac uses the same brand names (Shuffle, Nano) for each new release/generation, it’s hard to find the BRAND new one without adding a unique phrase like “autovoice.” You’ll otherwise get dated results (I’m talking 2005/2007), and I’m not impressed with Google blog search or anything Google is doing to sort with recency emphasis on basic searches.

Here’s something even more interesting (at least to me). Minutes later I couldn’t replicate the results depicted below, and I wonder if it was because my edits to the video’s keywords set it back temporarily?

mac shuffle autovoice review