Be Careful When Deleting Conversations in Messages

Originally published at: Be Careful When Deleting Conversations in Messages - TidBITS

There are reports of iMessage access being restricted on some accounts after messages from them were inadvertently reported as spam. Always read Apple’s prompts carefully, and let us know if this has happened to you.

I regularly delete Messages and individual messages. Have not experienced this

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I don’t think the issue is with deleting messages but with accidentally reporting deleted messages as spam.

If you delete a bunch of messages and see a popup asking if the messages are spam, be careful to not click the wrong button.

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Umm, has Apple not actually considered the implications of this? Essentially this means anyone who has received a bunch of messages from you can target you. Think ex-husband, ex-boyfriend for example? So they go through, make a bunch of messages as spam and then the target can no longer use iMessages to communicate.

Fantastic technique for cutting a person off from their support network, and yet another example of what happens when tech folks don’t think through the consequences of who they give power to.


Any chance of seeing a screen grab of the prompt regarding spam?

Similarly, I’ve always been under the impression that entering your Apple ID password incorrectly several times in a row will break your password so that you have to make a new one. This naturally leads to the question of the possibility of vandalism by someone who is mad at you and knows your email address.

I tried to get one but it never appeared while I was deleting conversations. Anyone else?

Agreed Peter. When I read this, that was my first thought as well. Not possible to scale up for a monetized attack for a sophisticated actor, but for a jilted lover / business associate etc, well hello!

From reading the article, it doesn’t happen when you delete individual messages - it happens when you delete an entire conversation and then get a modal that asks if you want to mark the contact as spam. Since messages with one contact would have only one conversation thread, what you describe doesn’t seem like it would be a problem. It becomes a problem if many people do it to the same contact. (Unless I am reading that article wrong.)

Hard to know for sure, since we haven’t been able to reproduce the conditions necessary to get them spam reporting dialog. But it’s easy to imagine in a broken relationship that multiple people would have Messages conversations with one of the parties and could thus conspire to have their account disable.