iOS 12’s unified Messages thread feature is sending private chats to the wrong people

iMessage issue in iOS 12 seems to be merging chats from different contacts

iOS 12 has addressed the long-standing iMessage split thread issue, but now reports have emerged that the fix has created an even bigger mess than the one it intended to resolve because people are seeing their chat threads erroneously merged with different contacts.

The issue was reported on Apple Support Communities (1,2,3,4), Reddit, Twitter and elsewhere.

1Password designer Robbie Pierce has found out that iOS 12 merges iMessage conversations with the same contact, but different email addresses and phone numbers. This was supposed to address the split thread problem that has plagued iMessage for years.

The split thread issue manifests itself when one of the people in your address book switches both their phone numbers and email addresses for iMessage, or uses multiple devices, or a contact switches SIM and so forth.

This used to result in multiple chat threads being created for a single contact.

As an example, a friend may send you an iMessage from the email address associated with their Apple ID. IF this is followed by, say, another message from their iMessage-enabled phone number and a third text from their Android phone number, each text would wind up in different chat thread before iOS 12.

iOS 12 was supposed to address that conundrum by enabling a much-needed unified thread functionality, but now two totally unrelated message threads from totally different people are being merged erroneously into a single thread, causing the Messages app to get confused and send your message to the last person you messaged.

One affected user wrote:

Without question, this issue began when I upgraded to iOS12. This issue has been devastating and needs to be resolved ASAP. I depend upon iMessage and can no longer trust/depend on the tool to send messages to the proper person. In the same way, I cannot be sure from whom texts are actually being sent.

The problem could create potentially very embarrassing situations where a user’s text may go to several people unintentionally. “When I try and text one separately, they all end up back in the same thread under the name of the person that texted me last,” according to one Twitter user.

“Does anyone know how to fix this iOS 12 bug that merges two contacts together because my Mom and sister are now under the same text thread thing so I gotta message my sister under Snapchat now,” another poster complained.

PunikaWeb speculated that because many affected users share a common Apple ID with some of their family members could mean iOS 12 is merging iMessage threads based solely on Apple ID and ignoring names, emails and phone numbers. But as Forbes pointed out, others are reporting the issue when the recipients don’t share the same Apple ID.

A user reported their mom and dad’s chat threads have merged

As a temporary fix, delete all the messages in the thread each time after sending any new messages to a contact. Sending private messages to the wrong people is quite a major problem that we expect to be fully addressed in a future software update.

Apple makes no mention of this feature in the iOS 12 release notes.

Are you seeing chats from different contacts merged after updating to iOS 12? Are you aware of potential other issues in iOS 12’s Messages app?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.