Sometimes I’m the blue bubble and sometimes I’m the green bubble

iOS SMS vs iMessage

As an iOS user, I understand quite acutely how people can tell if I’m using my real phone number or my Google Voice number. The difference comes into play most obviously when I’m texting friends or co-workers. Currently I have 3 different phone numbers that I use at any given moment. 2 of them will provide the blue bubbles since my personal and work phones are both iPhone 7’s. However, I do use my Google Voice number quite a bit as well. When I was with my former employer, I tried going to one phone but I realized that I didn’t want people at work calling me at all hours of the night using my personal number. If I don’t recognize the number I generally don’t answer it on my personal phone and let them leave a message. As a work around I started to give out my Google Voice number which I use with Google Hangouts. That meant that sometimes I was the dreaded green bubble when texting people that had iPhones which turned out to be quite a few co-workers.

For most things, I still try and not give out my real cell number, I don’t like getting robo calls or spam calls on it (even though I still get spam and robo calls on it). I like to give out my Google Voice number. The Hangouts app doesn’t make management of phone numbers that I can block easy, I need to manage it using the website but its a good alternative to giving out my real number. The Hangouts app lets me send text messages and make phone calls as long as I have a data connection so that masks the number that I’m calling from. It’s not as good as a burner number but I can at least see when someone is calling me on my Google Voice number.

Where I think people start getting confused is if I’ve used a blue bubble and a green bubble when texting them. There are a few people that I’ve done that to but then I get confused when they respond to me and I have to react to it. Where it gets really complicated is if I start using other messaging apps with people and then I have to start answering them on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, or some other messenger that I have installed or have used in the past with that person. One of the things that I’ve found amusing are some articles and YouTube videos on how people have said “I don’t want to message you because you don’t have a blue bubble” or some study they did at a company where most people chose an iPhone because they didn’t want to be the “green bubble” when texting co-workers. I’ll admit that its nice to see the blue bubble when texting but its not a deal breaker for me. As long as I can communicate, thats enough for me.

There is an added benefit I think of using my Google Voice number, I can use any web browser, log into Hangouts, and send text messages to people. Technically you can do the same thing on WhatsApp but my current job doesn’t allow that so instead of reaching for my phone, I just use my computer sometimes. What would be cool is if Apple let you use iMessage with just an iCloud account and be able to send messages through the web and sync it all up on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac (whatever flavor you have). I doubt they will do that since it won’t lock you into the ecosystem of buying all of their devices but I think it would make communication that much easier for those of us that have to use a PC for work and don’t have a choice in using a Mac. I personally have been trying to find a way to use a Mac for work and I think I almost have found a way to do it but the thing about email is what is preventing me from pulling the trigger.

So there you have it, some days I’ll be the blue bubble, and other days I’ll be the green one. It just depends on who you are and if I want you in my inner circle of knowing what my real phone number is.i

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Multi-Profiles in iOS please Apple?

WWDC is upon us tomorrow and I’ve watched all the leak videos on YouTube from most major Apple followers showing off the neat new things like dark mode, new emoji’s, and other blah blah blah that really doesn’t have a lot of impact on my use of iOS. I’ll admit that if some of the leaks are true for iPad, it will make it a ton more useful for me when I’m just surfing around and doing stuff like writing or taking notes for work. I know that they always say during the keynote, they’re not going to merge iOS and MacOS and thats fine, I don’t care about that stuff either. What I want is multi-user support.

This is not a hard concept, user profiles have existed since the 90’s when Windows 95 and even before was out. Granted you could just hit ESC on your keyboard without putting in a password and get into the computer but if you did it would load up your settings. Computers are more advanced now and they segregate data and all that jazz when you use a new user profile. I think this is something that could definitely be done on an iOS. The base of the OS is Unix which already supports multi-user profiles (hello MacOS!). There is security built in to protect the data of each user unless you’re the admin and therefore have God power on the machine and the OS.

Having multi-user profiles would be awesome to have in iOS. Even if it was just an iPad feature that would be the step in the right direction. A lot of schools share devices and admin’s are always looking to lock things down so having an admin account and a user account would make sense in education and in business. Personally I use my iPad sometimes for work and I really don’t like mixing my personal life with business but the ipad is really convenient sometimes when you’re running a presentation on your computer but still have to take notes during the meeting. There’s also the question of MDM profiles that corporations load onto the device which limits your options which totally sucks! If you had a work profile, the MDM could be loaded on it and keep the work apps and info segregated from the personal. Then the personal aspect would give the user full control over everything like it should. This would reduce the number of devices that need to be carried around and you could reduce the number of devices needed since there could be work and personal segregation.

Thats my wishful thinking though, I don’t think its ever going to come to iOS but I can always imagine the possibilities. For a phone it would be so awesome! Especially now that the iPhone’s support dual sim. One profile for your personal number and apps, the other profile for your work number and MDM restrictions. No more bringing along 2 phones (well I do this since I don’t want to be bothered by work during weekends). This would be true innovation on Apple’s part and differentiate it form Android phones. But I’m sure this idea has been kicked around already and its been decided that having multiple users for an iOS device doesn’t make sense. Although when you think about families, having a profile for the kids and another for the adults would be so awesome. You wouldn’t have to worry about the kids looking at your bank account and asking why you can’t afford that Nintendo switch they wanted for their birthday or something weird like that.

WWDC is tomorrow at 1PM. I’ve blocked time off on my calendar for work so that I can watch it. I’ve shifted my lunch break to that time too just to be on the safe side. Let’s see how many of the tech bloggers on YouTube are right.