When we left you on Friday, Beeper Mini, the iMessage-on-android client that launched earlier in the week, had seemingly been shutdown by apple on the backend. The Beeper team certainly believed at the time that Apple had made a change and got to work trying to find a solution.
Now that the weekend has finished, it's time for an update as additional details have continued to trickle out.
UPDATE 12/11: Shortly after we provided an update this morning on Beeper Mini losing its iMessage access, the company pushed out a blog post and update through google Play to say that it is back and working again.
Here's what you need to know, as there are some changes. To get Beeper Mini working again, phone number registration no longer works. If you want to use the service, you will need to login with your Apple ID instead of simply signing up with your phone number as you did before. Beeper still maintains that this is only stored locally on your device, but as we always like to remind you, using your Apple ID credentials in any non-Apple service carries risk. Do so with that in mind.
The Beeper Mini team made the app free to use for now because they aren't “comfortable subjecting paying users to this,” they said. Should things ever stabilize, they'll then ask you to pay for the service again.
Their entire blog post is worth a read if you care that much about any of this. In short, the service works again for now, only without the ease of use from simply providing a phone number. You decide if you still want to use a service that Apple may not be a big fan of and could shutdown again at any moment.
For those still using it, head over to Google Play (here) and update to get started again.
Original story — Apple Blocks Beeper Mini: First off, Apple essentially confirmed that it blocked the method Beeper was using to act as an iMessage client. In a statement that appears to have been sent to several press outlets, Apple said they “took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage.” Further, they suggested the techniques used by Beeper “posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks.” And the last part of the statement is where Beeper should be worried – Apple said, “We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users.”
Apple apparently did not mention Beeper by name in any of its statements, but I think it's obvious with the timing who they were shutting down here. It's wild too to think that when Beeper Mini launched, it's founders seemed to truly believe that Apple might leave them alone and let their client operate.
Beeper works on fix: Even with Apple breaking their iMessage-to-Android work-around, Beeper has continued to try and provide updates to its users, suggesting that a fix could arrive one day. Their Beeper Cloud (the original Beeper client that wasn't as slick as Beeper Mini) app is back up and running, yet Beeper Mini remains down as of this morning. The Beeper team says they are “feeling good” about a potential fix, though.
They haven't provided any recent updates on that fix and are now reposting folks who have kind things to say about Beeper Mini and those few days of iMessage-on-Android bliss that some experienced. They even found an ally in Senator Elizabeth Warren who looks at the issue as one where Big Tech execs are putting profits over being able to chat easily between platforms.
Green bubble texts are less secure. So why would Apple block a new app allowing Android users to chat with iPhone users on iMessage? Big Tech executives are protecting profits by squashing competitors.
Chatting between different platforms should be easy and secure. https://t.co/fHAS5ckaEA
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) December 10, 2023
So what's the future for Beeper Mini? I certainly have my doubts that they'll ever get it back up and running. And even if they do, what's to stop Apple from continually blocking their work-arounds. Apple hasn't released iMessage on Android for a reason – I can't see them letting a 3rd party do it instead.