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Beeper Mini now says you need an iPhone to get iMessage working on Android

Published Dec 22nd, 2023 6:41AM EST
Beeper Mini brings iMessage's blue bubbles to Android devices
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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You should get an iPhone if you want an iMessage chatting experience and are on Android. That’s what I and many others have told you, especially since the Beeper Mini saga started. That’s the only way to get iMessage. Expecting any workarounds from Beeper is akin to stealing access to Apple’s chat service.

It turns out that Beeper is now advising you to somehow get a Mac or iPhone to have iMessage working on your Android device. It’s beyond silly at this point.

Imagine this scenario: Your hatred of Apple is so big that you won’t buy an iPhone, yet you’re dying to get iMessage working on your Android device that you might consider actually buying an old iPhone only to jailbreak it and then get Beeper Mini working on your Android phone again.

Because that’s what you have to do now, according to Beeper’s own instructions. Yes, jailbreaking iPhones is still a thing, especially for old devices. But that’s also a security issue.

The easier way to get an iMessage-like experience on Android is to use a third-party chat app. WhatsApp is one of the various instant messengers for talking to your iPhone friends.

The problem that Beeper is trying to solve to get Beeper Mini working on Android again is registering your phone number with iMessage. Beeper devised a clever workaround for that, one that Apple blocked. Yes, a third-party app getting access to an end-to-end encrypted chat app is a security issue.

Before that, Beeper Cloud got you iMessage on Android via a Mac-in-the-cloud trick. But Apple has also figured out a way to stop it. Given all the interest, I said a few days ago that iMessage for Android should be a priority for Apple. And I joked at the time that Beeper Mini would soon ask Android users to get an iPhone to have iMessage working for them.

In a blog post on Thursday, Beeper mentions the use of an iPhone to get Beeper Mini working again. That’s only one of the options that Beeper gives users. The other involves access to Beeper Cloud or someone’s Mac.

The iPhone solution involves either jailbreaking the handset yourself or renting an iPhone to get iMessage for Android working:

📱 Have an old iPhone (6/6s/SE1/7/8/X) and a Mac or Linux computer (Raspberry Pi works) – you’re in luck! Follow our instructions (takes only 10-15 minutes) to jailbreak your iPhone, install a Beeper tool to generate iMessage registration code, then update to the latest Beeper Mini app and enter your code. Phone number registration will now work! Leave the iPhone plugged into power, at home, connected to wifi.

💲 Do not have an old iPhone – sign up here to rent (few dollars per month) or buy (~$30-50) an old iPhone preloaded with the app. This service will be available in the new year, if there is enough interest.

Here’s another idea, though. If you have a spare old iPhone like the models Beeper recommends, don’t jailbreak it. Instead, just use iMessage on it with a new number. Carrying two phones might be annoying, yes. But you’ll never run out of iMessage service.

Whether Apple will block these workarounds, it looks like this is Beeper’s final effort. “Long story short – after today’s release, we will not be continuing to fight a cat-and-mouse game,” Beeper says in the same blog post, pointing to a second blog that explains Beeper’s strategy moving forward.

“In the new year, we’re shifting focus back to our long-term goal of building the best chat app on earth,” Beeper says. And that’s actually great.

Beeper might be best served building an actual iMessage competitor that users might want to try rather than stealing access to iMessage. Beeper might not be charging you for Beeper Mini anymore, but if iMessage on Android works, it still relies on Apple’s entire iMessage infrastructure.

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.

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