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Beeper finally brings RCS messaging to iPhone, but of course there’s a catch

Published Aug 18th, 2023 10:56AM EDT
Beeper working on a Mac and a smartphone.
Image: Beeper

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Google is still dying for Apple to bring RCS support to iMessage, something that probably won’t happen without regulators getting in the way. I already explained why I don’t want to worry about RCS-iMessage compatibility on iPhone at any point in the future, and why separate apps are the way to go. However, I also get that some people might want that sort of compatibility.

While we wait, there’s an app that lets you run iMessage on Android without worrying about also owning an iPhone. That’s Beeper, the universal chat app that’s available on all platforms, regardless of operating system. But Beeper is still a closed beta, so you’ll need an invite to get in.

Beeper also supports RCS in Google Messages, a feature that wasn’t available last time we discussed it. Even better, you can use RCS on iPhone thanks to Beeper, but there’s a big caveat. You’ll also need an Android phone in order to use RCS on your iPhone.

Let me answer the first question you’re going to ask: no, RCS still doesn’t work with iMessage. A third-party app like Beeper can’t make that possible. It would be up to Google and Apple to bring that sort of interoperability to their chat apps.

The problem with running iMessage on Android via Beeper is that you’ll still have to trust Beeper with the security and privacy of your data. Your messages will pass through a Mac mini from Beeper’s service, where your iMessages are decrypted and re-encrypted. It goes without saying that there are significant security risks with a solution like this.

The downside of using RCS on Beeper for iPhone is that you need to configure it on an Android phone. This might be a bigger annoyance than running iMessage on Android. But if you plan on getting your RCS messages on an iPad and use an Android phone as your main handset, this is actually a decent solution.

RCS support on iPhone and Android via the Beeper universal chat app.
RCS support on iPhone and Android via the Beeper universal chat app. Image source: Beeper

The main point here is that Beeper finally supports RCS in Google Messages, regardless of whether you use an iPhone, iPad, or anything else. The announcement just dropped from Beeper founder Eric Migicovsky, via 9to5Google:

We’re pleased to announce that Beeper now supports Google Messages – for all your SMS and RCS needs. It’s still in beta – there are a few known issues but it is ready for daily use.

Beeper also has a support page at this link to help you get RCS working in the app. This assumes you have access to Beeper’s closed beta, of course.

As 9to5Google explains, Beeper uses Google Messages’ desktop linking. That’s why you need an Android phone with a SIM card in it for the service to run. It’s similar to how WhatsApp works on a PC.

Still, if the Android/iPad scenario above is to your liking, you might want to use Beeper to get RCS going on an iOS (or iPadOS) device. Then again, you could just use a browser on your computer.

To start using Beeper, you’ll have to sign up for an invite on the company’s website. Once you get it, you’ll be able to get your iPhone or Android app going and install all the other chat apps you want, in addition to iMessage and RCS.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.