What you need to know
- Depositions and emails from Apple executives have revealed the reason why the company hasn't brought iMessage to Android.
- Apple executives decided not to port iMessage to Android as it would make it easier for users to switch to Google's mobile operating system.
- Apple could have released an iMessage version on Android that worked with iOS as early as 2013.
A court filing by Fortnite maker Epic Games has revealed that Apple decided against porting iMessage to Android as it "recognized the power that iMessage has to attract and keep users within its ecosystem."
The filing includes depositions and emails by several top Apple executives and employees, including Eddy Cue, the Senior VP of Internet Software and Services at the company. As per a deposition by Cue, Apple "could have made a version on Android that worked with iOS." However, Craig Federighi, Senior VP of Software Engineering, responded saying, "iMessage on Android would simply serve to remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones."
In an email sent in 2016, an unnamed Apple employee commented that "the number one most difficult reason to leave the Apple universe app is iMessage … iMessage amounts to serious lock-in." Apple Fellow Phil Schiller supported the argument by saying, "moving iMessage to Android will hurt us more than help us, this email illustrates why."
While there are a few workarounds available to get iMessage working on Android, none of them are as convenient as you'd expect. The closest thing to iMessage for Android is a universal chat app called Beeper, which was announced earlier this year. However, Beeper is a subscription service that costs $10 a month. In addition to iMessage, Beeper also gives you access to all the best Android messaging apps currently available.