Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on May 31st, 2015

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The iMessage bug bolsters the fact that we all need to better understand tech.

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Smartphones and tablets, text messages and iMessages. They have become go to devices and services. Many are depended on for business, as well as the go-to form of communication. They are all dependable, fun and must have's until someone out there finds a bug or way to trip up the system.

Take last week for example. What happened last week? Well, there was the fun and games of "effective power". It was rampant with the teenagers. If you missed it, "effective power" is a lovely exploit of the Apple iMessage system. One simple text can crash your iMessage and it will keep crashing it until you figure out how to get the offending message off your device. In our house, the winners of this annoying game were the kids who were into tech. I am not saying they necessarily had to know how to code, but they had to understand their devices more in-depth than the average kid.

This annoying little bug is a good example of why kids and adults alike need to have a deeper understanding of technology and the devices they use. Apple has since offered up a temporary fix for the bug while they work on deploying a permanent fix. But last week after the bug hit, there were several workarounds floating about. Some worked, and some didn't. And, sometimes what worked the first time you got the text didn't work the second or third time around.

How do I know all of this? Well, our kids got it over and over again. Our oldest who would die without texting decided to play it safe and disable iMessage and strictly SMS text to avoid it until it was fixed. Our son, on the other hand, refused to hide from it. He is more the tech-savvy of the two. He loves being a beta tester of new iOS updates that being Apple-approved developers provides us access to and is learning to code. He has a greater comfort level with devices and is interested in how and why things happen versus just using his devices for texting or web and music.

Well, his refusal got him hit with the bug multiple times. But, he didn't care, you see between him and Dave they figured out which fixes worked (prior to Apple's suggestion) and as a result, he spent the remainder of the last two days of middle school rescuing his less tech savvy friends and restoring iMessage on many phones. He enjoys this role, likes showing off a bit. But we told him he should've charged for his services. The less tech savvy kids sending the messages over and over thought it was funny to annoy people. But that all stopped once the fix got around.

The lesson in all this is don't just buy a device and only partially understand what it is capable of.  Be confident enough to understand your settings. Be smart enough to use the web to your advantage to find the information you lack. In our experience in raising kids in the tech world is that they learn better if they know how to use the computer to their advantage. Memorizing stuff is no longer the key to passing tests. Today passing a class and really learning is using the ability to research anything and everything online and teach yourself most anything. Technology can be your friend or it can be a giant Pain in the Butt! You choose.

So tell me did you get hit with the annoying bug? Which fix did you use? We found that by changing your device date 2 months forward and then subsequently going back to change the setting to delete messages over 30 days old to be the most reliable fix.  Apple's temporary fix is probably easier, although we haven't had to try it yet!