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Man sues Apple for accidentally exposing his infidelity

Messages can be deleted, but be thorough in checking it’s gone from all your devices.

A British man is ridiculously attempting to sue Apple following a divorce, caused by his wife finding messages to a prostitute he deleted from his iPhone that were still accessible on an iMac.

In the last years of his marriage, a man referred to as “Richard” started to use the services of prostitutes, without his wife’s knowledge. To try and keep the communications secret, he used iMessages on his iPhone, but then deleted the messages.

Despite being careful on his iPhone to cover his tracks, he didn’t count on Apple’s ecosystem automatically synchronizing his messaging history with the family iMac. Apparently, he wasn’t careful enough to use Family Sharing for iCloud, or discrete user accounts on the Mac.

The Times reports the wife saw the message when she opened iMessage on the iMac. She also saw years of messages to prostitutes, revealing a long period of infidelity by her husband.

The messages led to her filing for divorce within a month. According to the report, the man lost more than 5 million pounds ($6.37 million) in the divorce presumably because of his prostitute visits.

For some logic-defying reason, he wants to get this money back from Apple. Worse yet, he wants other men in the same situation to go in with him on the suit.

He believes that Apple doesn’t make it clear enough to customers that messages can be synchronized between other Apple devices on the same account, even if they have been deleted on the iPhone.

This is a user knowledge error, not an Apple issue. The man going after Apple for compensation for his own behavior defies comprehension.

Apple’s support

According to Apple’s support pages, users of Messages in iCloud can delete messages or conversations from one device, and affect others. This occurs on devices that are similarly configured to work with Messages in iCloud.

Unsending messages is also a possibility, which removes them from the recipient’s phone. However, the timeframe to do that is extremely short, and therefore is meant for correcting mistakes.

Class-action intentions

“If you are told a message is deleted you are entitled to believe it’s deleted,” the man told the report. Declaring it a “very brutal way” for his wife to find out, he believes that there could’ve been a chance of the marriage continuing had he been able to “talk to her rationally.”

Sure. There is no rational way to blame Apple for this, but here we are anyway.

Aside from the financial implications of divorce, Richard says that his health has been affected. To reduce panic attacks, he has been taking “really strong beta blockers,” and feared he was going to have a heart attack.

“If the message had said These messages are deleted on this device,’ that would have been a clue,” Richard added. “These messages are deleted on this device only” would have been a much clearer indicator, he continued.

The middle-aged businessman has called upon London-based law firm Rosenblatt to arrange legal action against Apple. For some reason, the firm believes that it can turn it into a class-action lawsuit against Apple.

There would have to be massive changes in UK law for Apple to get blamed or held liable for the inciting incident — meaning the prostitute visits that the man undertook that led to the wife seeking divorce.

He also claims that he has heard of others encountering their own difficulties caused by syncing messages. One story allegedly had a man’s messages from his iPhone appearing on an Apple TV watched by his wife.

This too is unsurprising, given how iCloud Messages syncing works.

“Richard told us what had happened and when we looked into it, we saw that Apple had not been clear with users as to what happens to messages they send and receive and, importantly, delete,” said Simon Walton of Rosenblatt, who clearly hasn’t read one sentence of Apple documentation, read any site like AppleInsider, or even done a single Google search about it.

“In many cases, the iPhone informs the user that messages have been deleted but, as we have seen, that isn’t true and is misleading because they are still found on other linked devices — something Apple doesn’t tell its users,” Walton added, demonstrating a lack of five minutes of research, or even taking less time and asking an intern how it works before opening his mouth.

Walten added that Rosenblatt has contacted Apple “and the magic circle international firm of solicitors who we have reason to believe represents them” but the attempts were ignored.

It’s not hard to find Apple’s legal team. Why Rosenblatt had trouble with this step is hard to comprehend.

And, even if they found the right people, we’re not surprised that Apple ignored the attempt. We, and the lawyers we spoke with before we published this story, are surprised that a reputable law firm would even consider taking this up.

We’re anxiously awaiting the unintentional comedy that the filings will bring.