Back in the days of iOS 5, there was a rarely-encountered but somewhat severe bug regarding iMessages on stolen iPhones, and it was widely reported as being a major flaw in the iMessage system. Basically, the problem was that an iPhone could be stolen, have the SIM card deactivated, and even have the device wiped by the Find My iPhone service, and it could still receive iMessages. Not a great arrangement, to say the least.
It looks like that issue has been fixed in iOS 6, though, as reported by The Next Web. If you lose your iOS 6 device and want to stop it from receiving iMessages, you’ll now be able to just change your Apple ID password. Once the password is changed, your missing iPhone will ask for that password before using any Apple services, including iMessages.
Other methods of iMessage prevention exist now, too. Wiping your phone with Find My iPhone will disable iMessages entirely, as will activating your SIM card in a different phone and keeping the same phone number.
It’s a much-needed fix that will hopefully improve the overall security of iOS and iMessages. Apple faced some serious criticism for the initial inclusion of this bug in iOS 5, and even had to compensate a customer who’s privacy was compromised by her iPhone continuing to receive her iMessages for week after she lost it. Scrutiny directed towards the issue has died down a lot in recent months, but it looks like Apple has quietly repaired the iMessage system with the release of iOS 6. Those worried about iMessage privacy can breathe a sigh of release – assuming they’ve update to iOS 6.