What you need to know
- Just days after Beeper Mini was launched, it seems that Apple has pulled the plug.
- Beeper Mini users have reported being unable to send messages, with the company stating it's "investigating reports."
- In a statement to TechCrunch, CEO Eric Migicovsky surmises that Apple was able to "cut off Beeper Mini's ability to function."
For the time being, it appears as though the dream of being able to use iMessage on Android with Beeper Mini is dead. Late Friday afternoon, reports of errors when trying to send messages via Beeper Mini began cropping up. This was followed up by a post on X corroborating that there were issues, as the official Beeper account stated it was "investigating reports."
When asked by TechCrunch about whether "Apple found a way to cut off Beeper Mini's ability to function," Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky stated, "Yes, all data indicates that."
Thankfully, the problem doesn't seem to be related to security, as was the case with Sunbird and Nothing Chats. All we can do is speculate, but this time around, Apple "fixed" whatever was "broken" with how iMessage communicates with Apple servers.
As has been covered extensively over the past few days, a 16-year-old developer managed to reverse-engineer the way that iMessage works. Without getting too in the weeds, when you signed up for Beeper Mini, Apple's servers would "think" that your Android phone was an iPhone. This includes providing end-to-end encryption for your messages, in addition to sending and receiving high-res images and videos, along with many of the other benefits offered by iMessage.
The end-to-end encryption part is rather important, not because Beeper Mini was doing anything nefarious but because Apple repeatedly beats the drum of the iPhone being more privacy-focused than anything else, as pointed out by Migicovsky.
"If it's Apple, then I think the biggest question is... if Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their own users to now send encrypted messages to Android users, rather than using unsecure SMS?" Migicovsky says in a statement to The Verge.
"With their announcement of RCS support, it's clear that Apple knows they have a gaping hole here. Beeper Mini is here today and works great. Why force iPhone users back to sending unencrypted SMS when they chat with friends on Android?"
If what Migicovsky posits is correct, then this whole charade proves what many of us already know — Apple cares more about ecosystem lock-in than anything else.
At the time of this writing, Apple has not provided a statement regarding Beeper Mini. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, as the company remained quiet while the Sunbird and Nothing Chats situation deteriorated. In that situation, messages were found to be stored in plain text files on Sunbird's servers, which, again, is not the case with Beeper Mini.
Unless Beeper's team can discover another workaround or manages to reverse-engineer what Apple just "fixed," it looks like we're right back where we started.
Be an expert in 5 minutes
Get the latest news from Android Central, your trusted companion in the world of Android
Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
I'm not at all surprised by this. I was wondering how long it would take for Apple to respond with a "fix".Reply
Gee, guess its time to buy my Mom an iPhone..thanks Tim Apple! ....like I needed more reasons to dislike the corporate arrogance.Reply
"If it's Apple, then I think the biggest question is... if Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they stop a service that enables their own users to now send encrypted messages to Android users, rather than using unsecure SMS?" Migicovsky says in a statement to The Verge.Reply
Of course Apple truly cares about security and privacy, as long as it's on their terms. And consider this, Eric, the fact that you reverse-engineered iMessage to gain access to, then get shut down only to complain about it, puts you in a hypocritical position. If it was Apple that shut down Beeper Mini, they were within their purview to protect their network.
Guys the beeper cloud is working as it should. Imessage works just not on the mini app. Support these guys they are working their ass off to make this work. I'm Imessaging away on my s23 ultra.Reply
Well it was fun while it lasted but it appears they have given up the fight.Reply