iMessage was reverse-engineered by a 16-year-old, Android users rejoice!

Plus what I've been up to over the last few weeks.

iMessage was reverse-engineered by a 16-year-old, Android users rejoice!

In the last issue of Cip’s Clips, I talked about Apple’s announcement that it would add support for RCS messaging to iOS in an update next year. It’s a welcome step towards improving messaging between iPhone and Android, particularly here in the US (outside of the US, most people use WhatsApp and iMessage is an afterthought), but a 16-year-old kid and Beeper Co-Founder Eric Migicovsky are taking matters into their own hands.

This week, Beeper announced Beeper Mini, an app that brings iMessage to Android. Now, there have been many apps and services that have attempted to do the same, but they all have required a Mac server running in a remote location (or at your home) that you log into using your Apple ID, acting as a relay. It’s terribly insecure, but it’s what some people are willing to do to chase that blue bubble acceptance.

Beeper Mini, however, is different. That teenager I mentioned? He reverse-engineered iMessage and how Apple authenticates iPhones with its messaging platform, and the result of that work is an app that tricks Apple’s servers into thinking your Android phone and its associated phone number are in fact an iPhone, registering it with iMessage without requiring users to sign in with an Apple ID.

I wrote about the app, how it works, and how to get started with it for Pocket-lint this week. TL;DR of it? Beeper Mini really is iMessage, but on Android, with most of the core features (save for iMessage apps and effects) available in the app.

It remains a mystery how long Apple will allow Beeper Mini to work, or if there’s even anything the iPhone maker can do to stop it. One thing is clear, however, and that’s the fact that there’s a pent-up demand from Android users to use iMessage, and people are willing to take huge security risks with third-party servers, or pay $2 a month for Beeper Mini that, by all accounts, looks to be the most secure option to bring iMessage to Android.

At some point, Apple’s going to have to address it, one way or another.

Where to find me on the socials

As much as I‘d love to walk away from all social networks, I’ve come to terms with the fact they’re a necessary evil. The general rule of thumb is I’m usually @MrCippy on all the things, but to make your life easier, here are direct links to where you can follow me:

If you follow me, please say hello!

(The Raspberry Pi server that was running my personal Mastodon instance crashed last night. If my direct link isn’t working for you, give me a day or two to get it back up and running and try again.)

What I had published recently:

It’s a slow time of the year for tech news and reviews as companies ramp up for CES in early January where there will be more announcements than you know what to do with, so I didn’t have a ton of work published over the last few weeks. Well, that and I took some time off due to a surgery and the following recovery.

  • I reviewed the Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4, which supports nearly all smart home platforms, including Apple’s HomeKit. It’s a good video doorbell that has its fair share of quirks.
  • Amazon’s Fire tablets are still around, and still something the company feels is worth its time and money to develop. I spent some time using the latest Fire HD 10, and, well it’s more of the same. Solid tablet for the price point, but the lack of Google apps and services is beyond annoying.
  • The new TwelveSouth Butterfly 2-in-1 MagSafe charger is what Apple’s MagSafe Duo should have been. After using it for a bit, it became abundantly clear it’s now my go-to travel charger. You’ll have to read the story to find out why.
  • My final story that came out of my time in Fiji in October for the GoPro Creator Summit is an interview with three kick-ass women who could beat me up any day of the week. I talked with Lakey Peterson, Elena Hight, and Coco Ho about their journey with GoPro, their favorite types of shots and which accessories are a must-have for their respective professions. I love meeting cool people.
  • Abode’s entry-level security system does a lot of things right without emptying your wallet. It’s a little bare bones, but that’s exactly what it’s designed to be. I tested it for a few weeks in my office, and wrote up my thoughts.

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