Elderly mother and iPhone issue - resolving remotely, need some advice please!


Active Member
Hi I'm based in Scotland and we have a full scale lockdown and my elderly mother lives 4 hours away and she is telling me she needs a new phone due to texting issues(!)

So in August last year she changed contracts. So new sim. I sent the PUK code so that her old number would be ported. I couldn't stay over due to covid so told her to follow the instructions she'd receive via text.

Her WhatsApp is fine for me. But when she sends a WhatsApp to my in law's in usa it comes up as an unknown number.

When she sends me an iMessage it comes up as an unknown number.

I'm guessing this unknown number was the number that came with her contract. So I wasn't sure if her number was ported. I asked her to call her mobile (dialling her original number) from a land line and her iPhone rings. So I asked her to go to settings and her contact details. There is has her apple ID email and the new number that was on her sim.

What should I get her to do? Manually change that number to her original number she had ported over?

Any help appreciated... As currently I have to get my dad on face time to hold his old iPhone over hers so I can see what's on screen.

One of the best tests of self-control is helping elderly family members with technology over the phone!

Thanks for reading


Active Member
PUK is not used to port a phone number ( Personal Unblocking Key is used to unblock a SIM that has had the wrong PIN entered too many times)

So what did you send and who did you send it too?

It’s also a bit unclear what troubleshooting you asked her to do as it relies on her dialling the correct number. The best test would be for her to call you. The caller ID will then show you the actual number associated with her account.

There’s several possibilities with different causes.

She (re) registered WhatsApp and or iMessage with the temporary number but didn’t then re-register with the correct number when the Original number was ported in (assuming you did use the PAC not the PUK)

A partial or incomplete port - this is unlikely in my opinion.

User error

The number showing in Settings is nothing to worry about. SIMs have a text field that shows the number or blank when the SIM was programmed. It’s for information purposes only. Most operators don’t send a SIM update when you port a number (because it requires the user to do things which would confuse your parents) and so the text field never gets updated. That said, in your situation it would be less confusing for them to change it to the actual number


Don’t forget there’s a screen recorder on iPhones now, as long as her phone isn’t too old then it should have the latest software, which means it’ll have the recorder, then it’s possible to record and send to you then, if that helps.


Active Member
Thanks for the replies... it was a case of her phone number was ported over, but her iphone hadnt updated the number in settings. talked her through that and her imessage number updated and so when she sends me an sms it comes up as 'mum' and her whatsapp fine etc.

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