The MacRumors Show: Should Apple Allow iMessage for Android?

On this week's episode of The MacRumors Show, we discuss the recent controversy around Android apps that seek to enable iMessage functionality.

Several companies have been vying to offer solutions for Android users who wish to send and receive iMessages for some time. Most recently, "Beeper Mini" offered a way to do so with no need to sign in with an Apple ID.

The app's developers used reverse-engineered iMessage protocols to register Android phone numbers with Apple's servers, allowing Android users to send blue bubble messages to iPhone users with support for all iMessage functionality, including read receipts, typing indicators, and reactions.

Apple ended up blocking Beeper Mini last week, with the company confirming that it took steps to shut down the app since it apparently posed risks to the security and privacy of iMessage users.

In a blog post, the Beeper Mini team said that the app had the "fastest growing paid Android application in history," with more than 100,000 downloads. This was said to be evidence that Android and ‌iPhone‌ customers "desperately want to be able to chat together" with all of the features available on iMessage. Earlier this week, the app's functionality returned, but now with the requirement to sign in with an ‌Apple ID‌ and receive messages via an email address rather than a phone number.

Beeper Mini's developers say that despite reaching out to Apple, they have not heard back. It is unlikely that Apple will give in and allow Beeper Mini to function as it did, and Apple may shut down further functionality as well if it can.

Apple does have plans to bring a range of iMessage-like features to chats between ‌iPhone‌ users and Android users through RCS, a protocol that Apple will add to iPhones next year. ‌RCS‌ will bring support for high quality video and images, emoji reactions, typing indicators, read receipts, and more, all features that Beeper Mini says that Android and ‌iPhone‌ users are desperate to have in cross-platform chats.

What do you think about Android apps that enable iMessage functionality? Let us know in the comments. The MacRumors Show is now on its own YouTube channel, so head over and subscribe to keep up with new episodes and clips going forward:

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If you haven't already listened to the previous episode of The MacRumors Show, catch up for our in-depth discussion about the Apple One subscription bundle and each of the services within it.

Subscribe to ‌The MacRumors Show‌ for new episodes every week, where we discuss some of the topical news breaking here on MacRumors, often joined by interesting guests like Kevin Nether, Jared Nelson, Eli Hodapp, Luke Miani, Mike Bell, Sara Dietschy, iJustine, Jon Rettinger, Andru Edwards, Arnold Kim, Ben Sullins, Marcus Kane, Christopher Lawley, Frank McShan, David Lewis, Tyler Stalman, Jon Prosser, Sam Kohl, Quinn Nelson, John Gruber, Federico Viticci, Thomas Frank, Jonathan Morrison, Ross Young, Ian Zelbo, and Rene Ritchie.

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Top Rated Comments

Sorinut Avatar
26 weeks ago
Yes. Anything that encrypts messages should be encouraged. Unencrypted messaging should be a thing of the past, regardless of platform.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jameslmoser Avatar
26 weeks ago
I don't use android but occasionally use windows. It would be nice to be able to use it on other platforms. Its not like Apple isn't getting money from me. The whole thing is coming across as just petty from Apple. They need to start being more open and playing nice with others.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
26 weeks ago
Yes. If they want iMessage to stay relevant outside the US.

Or *become* relevant.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacDaddyPanda Avatar
26 weeks ago
If anything Apple could just sell it on the Google Play store for like $.99 and make it on par in usability as if it's on iphone. Lets face it. If those people are sticking with android, making iMessage not function as well or making the experience messaging Apple users less than stellar isn't going to drive them over, lol.

They could make a new tier called iMessage pro and add a bunch of extra features and sell it to all mobile platforms, lol. While keeping the current iteration free for iphone users of course.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MNGR Avatar
26 weeks ago

Suppose you owned and operated a server, and operated a service from that server. Many people don’t realize this costs time (man hours) and money. Now suppose a third-party found access into your server and is charging thousands of other people money to also access your server on a daily basis. Would you want to continue to maintain and pay for that server to allow access to a growing number of unauthorized users. Eventually those unauthorized users are going to raise the cost of running your server. So, do you block the unauthorized users.. or do you cancel the service because it’s too expensive to maintain?

One of the reasons that Apple products are so expensive is that part of that cost goes to help pay for the many services that Apple users enjoy, including iMessage and its associated servers.
It seems to me that Beeper is violating DCMA regulations.
Why is that people feel that any company is required to provide their apps/services on all platforms? XBOX? PlayStation? All flavors of Android? Windows? Ubuntu???
It should be up to the company that owns/develops the product...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
einsteinbqat Avatar
26 weeks ago
What is it with Android people wanting a blue bubble so much that they are ready to pay a 3rd-party to piggy back on an Apple Service the 3rd-party, no doubt, does not pay for?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)