Goodbye, green bubbles: How to send blue iMessages from Android with Beeper Mini

Posted:
in iPhone

It's highly unlikely we'll ever see Apple bring its beloved iMessage app to Android users in full, but thanks to Beeper Mini, it's now possible with only minor caveats. Here's how.

Use iMessage on Android
Use iMessage on Android



Beeper Mini feels almost magical. It's dead-simple to set up and start using with a high level of security and privacy to get all the benefits of iMessage -- on Android.

Texting with Android has always been somewhat of a struggle. Those green bubbles are standard SMS text messages which come with many limitations.

Gifs, images, and videos are downscaled to much lower resolutions. Group messages seemingly don't work at times.

You can't use Tapback responses, thread replies, read receipts, typing indicators, or iMessage apps. Plus, they aren't encrypted at all.

Green bubbles have plenty of issues
Green bubbles have plenty of issues



Apple has promised to fix some of these issues with the adoption of RCS in the future, but it won't absolve green bubbles of all of their issues.

Fortunately, there is now a way around it and get those coveted blue bubbles.

How to get iMessage blue bubbles on Android



To start, you must first download Beeper Mini from the Play Store to your compatible Android device. It's free to download but carries a monthly fee after the initial trial.

When you open the app, it will ask for you to grant two permissions. It will ask for permission for your SMS history to import your existing conversation and for access to your contacts.

Then you must log in with your Google account. This is merely used to verify subscription status.

Beeper Mini getting set up
Beeper Mini getting set up



That's it. You're good to go and you now have blue bubbles and the litany of other iMessage-specific features on your Android device.

Security is tight and there is no server farm Mac running relaying messages, all your messages are end-to-end encrypted, your contact list is never shared, and an Apple ID is not required.

What iMessage features work



Almost all of the features iMessage touts are available for Android with Beeper Mini. The most basic of which is getting the blue bubbles.

Our first iMessage sent with Android
Our first iMessage sent with Android



As soon as we set up the app, the very next text we went turned blue. We were able to send a blue bubble iMessage from our Nothing Phone (2) to our iPhone 15 Pro Max and the same in reverse.

After that first message delivered, we noticed that read receipts worked -- just as on iPhone natively. When we started sending a message back to the Android phone, we saw the typing indicator also appear.

Typing indicator in Beeper Mini
Typing indicator in Beeper Mini



Threaded replies are supported, just by either holding on a message or swiping it to the side. These present the same as in the Apple Messages app.

All of these benefits apply to group messages too, which has been a longstanding issue. Plus, you can mute conversations.

After sending a message, if you long-hold on the bubble, you could undo sending it or edit it. There's even a countdown letting you know how long before a message is permanently sent.

Tapback effects work, replying with a heart, thumbs up, or other emojis to a specific message. Of course, gifs are sent in high resolution as are photos and videos.

Tapback, undo send, and editing messages is supported
Tapback, undo send, and editing messages is supported



Finally, if you opt to signing in with your Apple ID, messages can sync with all of your Apple devices. This login is sent directly to Apple and not visible or stored by Beeper Mini.

When you log in with your Apple ID you're able to send messages from an email address and from other Apple devices like an iPad or Mac.

Sign in with Apple ID for email and message sync
Sign in with Apple ID for email and message sync



As robust as Beeper Mini is, we've found a few things that aren't working -- at least not yet. Sending your location for example isn't currently implemented.

Full screen message effects are no-go at the moment, such as filling the screen with fireworks, lasers, or balloons.

iMessage effects aren't supported
iMessage effects aren't supported



Similarly, iMessage apps won't ever be supported on Android since they are mini iOS apps. That means you won't be able to play games, answer polls, or send Apple Pay Cash.

During our testing we also noted that FaceTime isn't supported, but this isn't out of the cards. Apple does allow FaceTime calls on Android via a web interface so this could show up down the line.

Finally, when we tried to place a sticker directly on a message, we got some sort of error in Beeper Mini. Sending them just as an image or gif worked fine, but in-line placement seemed to fail.

How does Beeper Mini work



The bones behind Beeper Mini originated with a small project by a 16-year old security researcher. The app, then called PyPush, reverse engineered iMessage to allow it work on other platforms. PyPush was quickly acquired and became the groundwork for the all-new Beeper Mini.

We can't state this enough -- there is no Mac relay required or even an Apple ID and everything is done on your phone locally.

When you first use the app it generates encryption keys. The public keys are then uploaded to Apple's servers to authenticate your device and the private keys are stored locally on your Android device.

These encryption keys are used when sending messages. When you send a message, they are encrypted on-device before being sent so Beeper, Apple, nor anyone else will have access to them.

Beeper Mini back end setup
Beeper Mini back end setup



One of the difficult problems Beeper needed to solve, was notifications of new messages. On an Apple device, iMessage is built into the Apple Push Notification (APN) service which runs directly within the OS.

On Android, there is no APN within the OS so to stay connected, the app must be perpetually open. This isn't feasible.

Instead, Beeper has created a Beeper Push Notification (BPN) service that runs on its servers. This connects to Apple's servers and detects when a message has been sent to you and alerts you in the app.

This is able to maintain privacy as Apple separates the credentials for sending and actually encrypting/decrypting the messages. It will detect an encrypted message that it is unable to read before alerting you where the message is decrypted on your device.

If you're a developer and want to verify any of this for yourself, they've published an open source Python project that you can compile and run for yourself.

Apple's won't be able to kill it -- easily



One of the most oft-asked questions surrounding Beeper Mini is if Apple will simply make a back-end change to cut off its access. Technically, Apple could do this, but not easily. Because of how iMessage is built, Apple would have to rebuild its entire authentication processor for both iMessage and Apple IDs as a whole.

Blue bubbles on Android
Blue bubbles on Android



This would be a massive undertaking and not something that would be pulled off quickly. If Apple were dead-set on killing Beeper Mini, it will be a long project that probably wouldn't debut until iOS 18 at the earliest.

Available now



If you'd like to try Beeper Mini for yourself, it is available on the Play Store as a free download with a 7-day free trial.

After the trial period, Beeper Mini will run you $1.99 a month. For iPhone users, you can share the app with Android users for an extended 30-day free trial.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Apple, please kill this Frankenstein monster ASAP
    Anilu_777radarthekatJaiOh81watto_cobradanoxdarkvadersdw2001
  • Reply 2 of 24
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 243member
    Who needs RCS?

    Also, the EU should regulate Beeper Mini . . . /s
    JaiOh81watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 24
    So - a random third party is able to access Apple servers? You better believe Apple will find a way to block it. That’s a security problem. 
    radarthekatJaiOh81watto_cobradarkvader
  • Reply 4 of 24
    TomETomE Posts: 172member
    I have never had a problem with iMessage until I put the latest public beta on my Apple M1 Max 64g/2T Mac.  I know about Betas, but have never had a Beta problem either.  Message will without warning completely abort on its own.  It might be after 3-4 lines, sometimes 1 line, sometimes a few paragraphs to my friends.  Works fine on M1 Air that has beta.  If this is any indication of What is To Come, I have just about had it friends.  Message, Calendar, and Safari have been my go to apps for as long as I can remember.  Works fine on iOS beta.  But not on my Mac OS.  No help from Apple either. which I was aware of beore I tried the Public Beta.  I am sick of sending them crash reports on their FeedBack Assistant.  Which they will never repond to either.  

    If you have A SIMILAR problem , I think it would be good for someone to post here.  Otherwise, please do not respond.  Take the Chance , Pay the Price.  And you know how decked out a 64g/2T M1 Max Mac is.  Way over kill.   Mac User since 1984 and Apple User since before. 


    edited December 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 24
    Are people so vapid that a green or blue bubble is a life altering event in their existence? God, having first world problems must be great. 
    darkvader
  • Reply 6 of 24
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 576member
    This will be shut down as the software is trespassing on Apple servers. No different than using (stealing) electricity from the neighbor without permission. Masquerading as blue is fraudulent on some level as blue tells users who they are messaging.

    You cannot use someone else’s assets without their permission and there are no exceptions to this. 
  • Reply 7 of 24
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 1,232member
    Skeptical said:
    Are people so vapid that a green or blue bubble is a life altering event in their existence? God, having first world problems must be great. 
    Yes. Yes they are. 
    darkvader
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Skeptical said:
    Are people so vapid that a green or blue bubble is a life altering event in their existence? God, having first world problems must be great. 
    I think it is all silly but apparently it makes Apple money.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    jimh2 said:
    This will be shut down as the software is trespassing on Apple servers. No different than using (stealing) electricity from the neighbor without permission. Masquerading as blue is fraudulent on some level as blue tells users who they are messaging.

    You cannot use someone else’s assets without their permission and there are no exceptions to this. 
    There are plenty of examples in US economic history where companies are forced to provide access to their assets to competitors.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 1,146member
    Anilu_777 said:
    So - a random third party is able to access Apple servers? You better believe Apple will find a way to block it. That’s a security problem. 
    Meh.  If Android users are stupid enough to give some rando their Apple ID password, they get what they deserve.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,994member
    darkvader said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    So - a random third party is able to access Apple servers? You better believe Apple will find a way to block it. That’s a security problem. 
    Meh.  If Android users are stupid enough to give some rando their Apple ID password, they get what they deserve.
    I think someone didn’t fully read the article…


    no appleID is required it said. You don’t have to log in to make this work as a phone number based system.  You can log in and get additional benefits.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 24
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,011member
    TomE said:
    I have never had a problem with iMessage until I put the latest public beta on my Apple M1 Max 64g/2T Mac.  I know about Betas, but have never had a Beta problem either.  Message will without warning completely abort on its own.  It might be after 3-4 lines, sometimes 1 line, sometimes a few paragraphs to my friends.  Works fine on M1 Air that has beta.  If this is any indication of What is To Come, I have just about had it friends.  Message, Calendar, and Safari have been my go to apps for as long as I can remember.  Works fine on iOS beta.  But not on my Mac OS.  No help from Apple either. which I was aware of beore I tried the Public Beta.  I am sick of sending them crash reports on their FeedBack Assistant.  Which they will never repond to either.  

    If you have A SIMILAR problem , I think it would be good for someone to post here.  Otherwise, please do not respond.  Take the Chance , Pay the Price.  And you know how decked out a 64g/2T M1 Max Mac is.  Way over kill.   Mac User since 1984 and Apple User since before. 


    Oh, I’m going to respond all right. You came into this thread to complain about a beta release?  This should end well for you.
    coolfactorTomE
  • Reply 13 of 24
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,011member

    jimh2 said:
    This will be shut down as the software is trespassing on Apple servers. No different than using (stealing) electricity from the neighbor without permission. Masquerading as blue is fraudulent on some level as blue tells users who they are messaging.

    You cannot use someone else’s assets without their permission and there are no exceptions to this. 

    I haven’t considered that. I was more focused on the fact that I think it’s going to get shut down because they are mimicking Apple’s iMessage service, which is a proprietary technology.  The interface, the blue bubble, the entire way it works, it’s all legally protected.  They openly admit that it’s reverse engineered. Did Apple even have this kind of evidence against Samsung? Unless this makes Apple a ton of cash, I think they have no choice but to file a nuclear-level lawsuit.  A company just openly copied their product so it would work on a competing platform.  That isn’t going to fly.
    coolfactor
  • Reply 14 of 24
    TomE said:
    I have never had a problem with iMessage until I put the latest public beta on my Apple M1 Max 64g/2T Mac.  I know about Betas, but have never had a Beta problem either.  Message will without warning completely abort on its own.  It might be after 3-4 lines, sometimes 1 line, sometimes a few paragraphs to my friends.  Works fine on M1 Air that has beta.  If this is any indication of What is To Come, I have just about had it friends.  Message, Calendar, and Safari have been my go to apps for as long as I can remember.  Works fine on iOS beta.  But not on my Mac OS.  No help from Apple either. which I was aware of beore I tried the Public Beta.  I am sick of sending them crash reports on their FeedBack Assistant.  Which they will never repond to either.  

    If you have A SIMILAR problem , I think it would be good for someone to post here.  Otherwise, please do not respond.  Take the Chance , Pay the Price.  And you know how decked out a 64g/2T M1 Max Mac is.  Way over kill.   Mac User since 1984 and Apple User since before. 



    I'm thoroughly confused. You consciously chose to install a Beta, but then expect a perfect experience? Why create your own frustration and then publicly complain about it?

    If being a Beta user isn't meeting your expectations, then don't be one. Simple.

    This topic is not about Public Betas, so not the right place to continue this conversation.

    Its about Beeper Mini.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,259member
    That’s one small blue bubble for man, one giant blue bubble for mankind.”

    Whew. Now we can refocus the greatest minds on the planet to solving a few lesser ancillary challenges, like sustainable nuclear fusion. Piece of cake by comparison. 
    Skepticalmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 24
    Dead_Pool said:
    Apple, please kill this Frankenstein monster ASAP
    Why?  What are you afraid of?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Anilu_777 said:
    So - a random third party is able to access Apple servers? You better believe Apple will find a way to block it. That’s a security problem. 
    How is it a security problem?  You don't know what you're talking about.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 24
    Skeptical said:
    Are people so vapid that a green or blue bubble is a life altering event in their existence? God, having first world problems must be great. 
    Just improves the messaging experience.  Not hard to understand.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 24
    jimh2 said:
    This will be shut down as the software is trespassing on Apple servers. No different than using (stealing) electricity from the neighbor without permission. Masquerading as blue is fraudulent on some level as blue tells users who they are messaging.

    You cannot use someone else’s assets without their permission and there are no exceptions to this. 
    You are wrong.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 24
    darkvader said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    So - a random third party is able to access Apple servers? You better believe Apple will find a way to block it. That’s a security problem. 
    Meh.  If Android users are stupid enough to give some rando their Apple ID password, they get what they deserve.
    Read and comprehend the article before commenting.
    williamlondon
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