iMessages don’t always reach their intended target.

If you switch from an iPhone to another smartphone, you may get stuck in “iMessage purgatory.” That’s exactly what happened to Adam Pash, a former Lifehacker editor, who recently switched to an Android device. He now faces an issue where iPhone-touting friends try to text his new number, only to have their texts convert into iMessages, register as ‘Delivered’, and effectively disappear (without showing up on his new phone).

After calling Apple tech support from a friend’s iPhone — it costs $20 if you don’t have a device with an active support plan — Pash reached an Apple rep, who explained:

1. This is a problem a lot of people are facing.
2. The engineering team is working on it but is apparently clueless as to how to fix it.
3. There are no reliable solutions right now — for some people the standard fixes work immediately; many others are in the same boat as Pash.

Apple’s proposed solution is highly impractical: The rep suggested asking his contacts to delete and re-add his phone number to their address books, selecting ‘Mobile’ rather than ‘iPhone’ in the telephone number field. (She didn’t say Apple could or would manually deregister Pash’s phone number from Apple’s servers, which seems like an easy fix on Apple’s end.)

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This issue has frustrated old iPhone owners for at least a year. If you turn iMessages off before buying a new device, that should preemptively solve the problem.

Apple did not immediately respond to VentureBeat’s request for comment on the matter.

This isn’t the only time Apple has faced iMessage issues: When the tech giant released its iOS 7 operating system, a bug wreaked havoc on iPhone owners, piping iMessages to incorrect contacts or showing them as delivered when they remained unsent.

iMessage lets iOS and Mac users send free text chats to each other, and it converts those chats into texts for users on other mobile devices.

If you can’t reach a friend via iMessage, you can always disable the service while you wait for Apple’s official fix.