How-To Unlink a Phone Number from Apple ID, iMessage and Facetime

I received a new iPhone with a new number so I wanted to cancel my previous iPhone and number. I wanted to remove this number from my Apple ID so that it was removed from being used in iMessage and Facetime on all of my devices.

After some google searching there were all kinds of “how tos” and forum posts from people who had different ways of doing it- none of which worked for me.

Finally I found this Apple KB article:
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5538

Scroll down under the section that says “How to Unlink a Phone Number“. I followed those steps and my “old” number was removed from iMessage and Facetime on all of my devices. I could now erase / factory reset the old phone and not worry that the phone number or device was still associated with my account.

Here’s the steps from the KB article above, that worked for me:

To remove a phone number from an Apple ID, sign out of FaceTime and Messages on your iPhone. Sign out in the following locations:

  • Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. Tap your Apple ID, then tap Sign Out.
  • Settings > FaceTime. Tap your Apple ID, then tap Sign Out.

This should remove your phone number from other devices using the same Apple ID with FaceTime and Messages.

If the phone number is still available on other devices after you sign out of FaceTime and iMessage on the iPhone, you may need to sign out of iMessage and FaceTime on all your devices, then sign in to FaceTime and Messages again on devices you want to use.

Note: If you no longer have access to the iPhone that is using the number you want to remove, reset your Apple ID password.

If this article has helped you, let me (and others) know by leaving a comment!

Also, check the comments below to see what else has worked for others! :-)

JANUARY 20th 2014 UPDATE!

A great blog post from our friends over at iMore: http://www.imore.com/text-issues-switching-iphone-android-heres-fix, copied below for reference:

If you’ve succumbed to the temptations of Android — or even Windows Phone orBlackBerry — there are some steps you need to take to make sure the iPhone friends you leave behind can still reach you. iMessage works by routing iPhone to iPhone messages through Apple’s servers instead of sending them as actual text messages. Unfortunately, unless you tell it to stop doing this, iMessage has no way of knowing you’ve left, at least until it times out after a couple weeks, and that’s beyond frustrating. Luckily, deactivating it is easy. Here’s how!

How to deactivate iMessage and before switching from iPhone to Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone

Complete these steps from your iPhone before starting to use your new smartphone:

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen of your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Messages.
  3. At the top, turn iMessage to Off.
  4. Now hop into the Messages app and send some messages to people you know have iPhones to make sure they can message you back. You want green messages bubbles for everything.

That’s all there is to it. Once you’ve done this, iMessage should hopefully deactivate from Apple’s servers and you shouldn’t have any issues, nor should you have to go any further into this guide. As a side note, the sooner you do this, the better off you are. If you know you’re going out to purchase an Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone in 3 days, do this process right now. That way you have turned off iMessage and it gives the servers a few days to actually process the request completely and boot you off.

Once you’ve switched to your new smartphone, verify you can send and receive text messages to someone else using an iPhone. If you aren’t receiving anything back, continue on to remedy the problem…

How to fully deactivate iMessage from Apple’s servers

Unfortunately, there isn’t a list of steps you can perform on your own. Instead, you need to call 1-800-MY-APPLE in order to have Apple manually de-register your phone number from the Apple servers. In order to do this, make sure you have your Apple ID on hand as well as the phone number in question.

To expedite the process of your call, be sure to ask for technical support when calling in. Then just tell them you’re switching to a smartphone that isn’t an iPhone and you can’t receive messages so you need them to manually unregister you from the iMessage servers.

Still having issues?

If you’re still having issues with iMessage deactivating after completing both of the following, let us know what they are in the comments. Our iMore forums are also a great place to get help since many of our members have run into similar issues. So check them out and let us know if you found a different solution we haven’t covered.

29 thoughts on “How-To Unlink a Phone Number from Apple ID, iMessage and Facetime

    • Thanks for the comment. I’d retry as I’ve done this a couple of times now and it’s worked every time. So perhaps a step was missed? Or there might be something else going on..

  1. The method works! I had the same problem, but after checking again, I realised that I hadn’t signed out of everything. Try signing out of both iMessage and FaceTime on all devices where your Apple ID has been used – and that includes Macs. In my case I was still signed in to FaceTime on my Mac.

  2. It initially didn’t work for me. My wife iphone was using the same apple ID than me on my iPad.
    I disconnected from all devices imessage+facetime, but the phone number still reappeared when I was logging again on my ipad.

    In order to have it working, I had to disconnect from all devices, reconnect on my wofe’s iPhone with another appleID, and then reconnect on my ipad with my own apple ID. Then the phone number of my whife’s iphone did not appear anymore.

    Thanks a lot to Memoo and Carsten for their help !!

  3. I just switched from an iPhone 4s to a Note 3 and I could not get iMessage to release my cell phone number. My wife and kids also share the same Apple ID with their devices. I tried logging out of the other devices completely, signing in as an alternate ID on my old iPhone, nothing would release the number. The iPhone was purchased through my company so it did not appear as a device of mine when I would log in to the Apple support site.

    To get iMessage to release my phone number, I made sure that my phone old iPhone was logged in to iMessage as my account and then did a factory reset on the iPhone. When I did this, the number was release from iMessage. I was running iOS 7.0.2 on the device. I did not want to factory reset the device yet but it was the only thing I could get to release my number from iMessage.

  4. Not working for me. Don’t have the iphone any more, so I changed my apple ID password. I’ve also removed my number from there on the apple id site as well as imessage and facetime on my mac. Oh boy. Thanks for posting, though. Hope it helps others.

  5. I have a personal iPhone and a work iPhone. Initially I had installed my personal Apple ID on my work phone and then decided that I should have a work related account. I did the above and the number was released…however, facetime calls still come to my work phone from my personal apple ID account. I have signed out of my personal apple ID on the work phone and even reset the phone to factory settings. Thoughts on how to fix that?

  6. I dont have the iphone anymore and destroyed the old sim card because my new phone uses a mini sim. Change my appleID password and unregistered all my old products on my apple support profile. I dont think anything worked. PLEASE HELP!

    • Sounds like you’ve done everything that you should, especially since you no longer have the phone and changed your password.. Did you sign out of all devices and then sign back into the devices you want active? That’s the only thing from the article that you didn’t mention.. Hope it helps!

  7. Resetting the password worked PERFECTLY!! Even called Apple to deactivated the number but they said that had already been completed… SMS wasn’t working thought.

    Reset the password and BOOM!!! it works!!

  8. I am able to deregister my phone number and get text messages to come through to my Samsung Galaxy S5 from iPhone users, but group messages are not coming through from everyone. I set up a test with my kids and some of them get it to go through as a green text message automatically and I get it and some don’t and it shows blue like it is going through as an iMessage. How do I fix the group messaging issue when moving from iPhone to Android so they come through like text messages do?

  9. might be a great article and advice…however, most people (like myself) don’t know this is going to be an issue in switching from Iphone to Android (or other), until it happens. the sales people don’t mention it and should be the ones telling the buyer of the new phone what to do. we’ve already switched…noticed we were still getting messages on the iphone from iphone users but no messages to the new phone…called Verizon and asked what the heck that was about. of course they knew. glad we’re out of the Iphone borg. will be happier when we can get texts on our new phone from iphone contacts. Thanks for the post…explains well what was happening and would have been great to know in advance…but of course, that isn’t your fault. went ahead and did all the steps you listed, but after the fact. now will try calling apple and hoping that’ll work.

  10. I changed my phone numbers in Apple Support on apple.com, and then signed out of apple id on my phone in both iMessage and Facetime. When I signed back in it was fixed. Thank you for the article.

  11. If you don’t have your iphone anymore then you must call 1-800-MY-APPLE, When the automated voice asks say “Technical Support”. When you are asked what device press “0” then wait through the menu options and press “5”. When a real person answers tell the them you’re switching to a smartphone that isn’t an iPhone and you can’t receive messages so you need them to manually unregister your number from the iMessage servers. They will transfer you to a tech that probably has done this dozens of times and will unregister your phone number from the iMessage servers. Getting through to the right person is the hardest part. It took me about 4 tries to figure it out. Good Luck!!

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