Update (October 09):

Here’s what Apple Support suggested to a complainant, who shared the workaround resolved the problem for them.

Update (October 09):

At least one user has confirmed that the problem continues to persist even in the newest iOS 12.0.1.

iOS 12.0.1 is out. Still no fix nor an effective and repeatable workaround for this issue. Apple needs to give this issue the attention it deserves…and soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a users shared workaround that you can try hands on.

Update (October 01):

An affected user reached out to us sharing that Apple says this is an expected behavior.

There is, however, still no clarity on why users who haven’t shared their Apple ID are facing the problem.

Original story follows:

The iOS 12 update as been out for nearly a couple of weeks now. Apart from a display problem and some other minor issues, we didn’t come across any other widespread problem reported by users of iOS 12-powered Apple devices.

However, that was until now, as a new major issue has come to light.

The problem is being reported by a significant number of iMessage users ever since the update started rolling out, and of late, the number of complaints have swelled up.

The issue is related to a feature that addresses the split thread problem in iMessages.

Looks like Apple has introduced a unified thread functionality in iOS 12 to cater to scenarios wherein multiple chat threads get created for a single contact.

These scenarios include when a contact switches SIM, uses multiple Apple devices or uses both email and phone number to chat on iMessage, and more.

Fair enough, it was about time Apple introduced such a streamlining feature in the iMessage app. However, complaints from iOS 12 users indicate the feature has created an even bigger mess than the one it intended to resolve.

There are a large number of reports that this functionality has resulted in chats from different contacts being merged. Here are couple of reports that should give you a good idea on what users are complaining:

I have this issue also and it started after the iOS 12 update. I’m using an iPhone 6+. I have one message thread where I receive messages from both my daughter and my husband. When I reply it goes to the last person that sent me a message in that thread and not the other person (so not to be confused for a ‘group message’). To get a message to the intended recipient, I create a new message with the correct contact. Once the message is sent, it joins up with the combined message thread. I’ve tried a full shut down and restart, but it didn’t fix it.

Is there a way to turn off the streamlining of imessages in ios 12? My ex-wife and our 2 teenage daughters share an apple ID. With the new “benefit” of streamlining in ios 12, all of their messages to and from me are lumped (streamlined) together. I can only send a text to the last one of them that texted me. This is not a benefit, not safe, and not conducive to being able to communicate quickly and easily

Here’s a screenshot shared by an affected user which clearly shows that their mum and dad’s chat threads have merged.


Look at this Apple Support page here. It now has close to 10 pages full of this complaint and nearly 200 taps/clicks on the ‘I have this question too’ button. And, for sure, it is not the only thread where the problem is being discussed.

Here are a few more threads: 1, 2,3,4. And following are some tweets:


If you take a thorough look at all these complaints, you’ll see majority of users facing this issue share a common Apple ID with some of their family members, which may lead to speculation that the new streamlining feature in iMessage treats Apple ID as the basis for merging/combining threads.

So, having separate Apple IDs could be a possible way out. In fact, it has even worked for some. But the general consensus is that users are reluctant to shake up the setup that they have had in place for years now.

With a separate ID for each family member being the fix, how does Apple suggest we limit our teens App Store downloads since they have their own ID?

It’s worth mentioning that separate Apple IDs workaround hasn’t worked for all. Plus, some users have explicitly confirmed that they aren’t sharing their Apple ID with anyone else.

My 2 contacts do not share an apple account / i’d and i am still getting this issue

if IOS12 is working how it’s supposed to and not a bug, what about those of us who have 5 iPhones, all 5 on separate Apple ID’s, yet it’s happening to us too? I’ve talked with Apple too and wiping phones did NOT help the issue

So clearly, there’s a problem with this newly introduced iMessage chats/threads streamline functionality. We’re not sure how widespread the problem is, but there are enough reports that the issue warrants Apple’s attention. We hope that happens sooner than later.

Needless to say, we’re keeping a tab on this matter, and will update the story as and when any news-worthy developments take place. Meanwhile, let us know your iMessage experience after the iOS 12 update.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma
1227 Posts

Currently, I am pursuing Ph.D (Psychology), and have been teaching the same for past four years. Coming to PiunikaWeb, I know it was a complete switch over, but the idea was appealing enough to put in all the effort it called for. My work primarily involves research. Oh, and yes, some of the photographs you see here are clicked by me. Overall, I am enjoying whatever I am doing, and hoping you’ll also feel the same reading all my articles. You can find me on LinkedIN.

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