As you probably already know, iMessage is Apple’s instant messaging platform. It was introduced in 2011, and Apple never made it available for Android or Windows. This has frustrated many users, especially those who want to switch from iOS to Android but don’t want to lose access to iMessage. With Beeper, Android users can finally use iMessage on other platforms, but that comes with a price.
What is beeper?
Pieper isn’t exactly new. It was even announced in January 2021. Created by the founder of Pebble smartwatches, Eric Migicovsky, the app basically acts as a hub for multiple messaging platforms, including Telegram, WhatsApp, Slack, Messenger, and iMessage.
The Beeper app is available on all major platforms: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. This means that you can access iMessage on any of these platforms via Beeper, and this makes the app even more interesting. After all, Beeper is neither the first nor the only hub for messaging apps. But how does it work?
When Beeper was announced, it relied on a real Apple device to work with iMessage. Users had the option to set up a jailbroken iPhone or a Mac as an iMessage server. In this way, the device synchronized the messages with Beeper so that the user could access them from anywhere.
But now things are a little different. Beeper ditched the old method in favor of a new cloud-hosted server. This means that Beeper now has its own Mac servers to log into users’ Apple ID and integrate iMessage with the app. As a result, users no longer need an Apple device to use iMessage with Beeper – the company takes care of everything.
How to use?
At this time, Beeper remains available as a private beta. Anyone who wants to try out Beeper can sign up to receive an invite. I’ve asked the developers when the platform will be available to everyone, but there’s no estimate yet. What I’ve been told is that every week a new group of users are invited to join Beeper.
Once you’ve been accepted to join Beeper, you’ll need to set up your account. At least during the beta period, the installation is done manually with the help of someone who works at Beeper. I had to schedule a call with a rep from the app who helped me get everything set up. According to Migicovsky, this helps the team “find and immediately resolve problems that arise.”
After I set up the Beeper app on my Mac, I was able to log into the Android app. iMessage was there and worked as expected. Beeper uses iCloud to download messages from your Apple devices so you can access all conversations. However, previous chats will not be downloaded to the app.
Since the app has access to your Apple ID, it also downloads your iCloud contacts to make it even easier to communicate with your friends and family through Beeper. And surprisingly, everything works as expected. I was able to send and receive iMessages from a Galaxy S22 Ultra. You can also send and receive media, voice messages, and even responses.
It has a price
Yes, Beeper works as promised. But the app has a price. First, Beeper costs $10 per month. To set up your account, you need to add your credit card to pay for the monthly subscription. However, the developers told me that, at least during the beta period, users can request a refund if they have any issues with the platform.
But using Beeper comes at an even higher price than the $10 monthly plan, which is sharing your Apple ID with a third party. Beeper assures the company only uses your Apple ID to access iMessage, but in theory they could do whatever they want with your data.
According to Beeper, each user has created their own account on a Mac mini server, so that the data is not accessible to others. The company also says it limits which employees have access to these computers. Still, it’s a risk you take by using the app.
And even considering all this, there’s also the fact that sending messages through a third-party app compromises end-to-end encryption. Beeper himself admits that using the app is “less secure than using encrypted chat apps on their own”. In the company’s words, the business model is “built on this trust.”
Is it worth it?
With all this in mind, I’m not so sure Beeper is worth it. The developers have certainly done an exceptional job of providing people with a way to use iMessage on Android. However, it comes with many compromises. Worse than having your messages leaked by someone else is having other data related to your Apple ID, such as documents and photos.
I’m not saying that Beeper will do this on purpose, but they can’t guarantee it never will. For Android users who don’t have an iPhone or other device, creating an Apple ID specifically for iMessage can be a good solution, but you’re still prone to seeing your messages by someone else.
I also asked Beeper if Apple could shut down the platform, but Migicovsky seems pretty confident the Cupertino-based company won’t.
You can find more information about Beeper on the official website. Would you like to try the app? Let us know in the comments below.
FTC: We use auto affiliate links that generate revenue. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: