Text messages, by their very nature, capture a very specific moment in time. They likely won’t be relevant in 48 hours, let alone months later. And yet a mysterious bug across the United States seems to have resulted in messages from February arriving in inboxes across the country.
Not just February 2019, either. A reddit post on the topic has people reporting old messages from past years too – all around February.
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The messages in question seem to be those that didn’t send at the time, so they’re not even appearing as duplicates. As you might imagine, given many of the text messages appear from around Valentine’s Day, this has led to a lot of misunderstandings, as people receive romantic messages from partners from another time in their life.
Even those still in the same relationships aren’t immune from the butterfly effect of this mistake. As one redditor wrote: “I sent one of those ‘what do you do in your free time’ back when we met. So you can expect she was confused when this message got sent to her now. She was probably suspecting I meant to send it to someone else.”
But while things like this can (hopefully) be laughed off as an embarrassing misunderstanding, some of the reports have a more tragic edge, as people receive text messages from deceased friends and relatives.
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The bug seems network agnostic, affecting all four major networks in the United States, and it’s happening on both iPhone and Android. So what’s going on, exactly? The Verge has heard from both Sprint (“maintenance update” error) and T-Mobile (“third party vendor” issue).
Both claim the issue is now resolved, so there shouldn’t be any more phantom text messages from the past. But until the exact reasoning behind the bug is revealed, we can’t have a great deal of confidence that this won’t happen again.