A new app called Beeper Mini promises to let Android phone owners seamlessly access Apple’s iMessage platform without compromising security or privacy.
The app comes from Beeper, a startup focused on bridging the gap between messaging platforms. Beeper Mini connects directly to Apple’s servers to send and receive iMessages, rather than relying on a middleman server. This allows Android users to have their messages show up as blue bubbles on friends’ iPhones, with full support for iMessage features like tapbacks, high-quality photo sharing, read receipts, and encrypted group chats.
Remarkably, Beeper Mini was made possible because a high school student recently reverse-engineered how the iMessage protocol works. James Gill, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, developed a proof of concept showing how non-Apple devices could interface with iMessage. Beeper was so impressed, they brought Gill on as a contractor to help integrate his work into their Android app.
Unlike some other attempts at iMessage for Android, Beeper claims their approach is secure and private. Messages are end-to-end encrypted between the user’s device and the recipient – neither Beeper nor Apple can access them. Encryption keys stay locally on the user’s device. The app also does not require handing over your Apple ID or passwords. Beeper has published details on their methodology to GitHub for public scrutiny.
The launch of Beeper Mini comes shortly after the failure of Sunbird, another iMessage for Android service that was quickly abandoned over serious security flaws that compromised users’ Apple credentials. Beeper stresses that they do not have the same issues, as their reverse-engineering method allows authenticating with iMessage without Apple IDs.
Beeper Mini is currently focused solely on iMessage support, with plans down the road to incorporate other chat apps and protocols like WhatsApp, Messenger, SMS, and RCS messaging. The founders say they want to create a unified messaging experience across mobile operating systems.
For Android users frustrated over “green bubble” exclusion, Beeper Mini offers a way to seamlessly chat with iPhone friends using iMessage – while maintaining privacy. The app is available now for $1.99 per month after a free 7-day trial. Whether Apple takes action against this method of accessing iMessage remains to be seen.