Beeper says it’s done trying to bring iMessage to Android after month-long ‘cat and mouse’ game with Apple

Beeper is giving up on its mission to bring iMessage to Android after implementing a series of fixes that Apple has knocked down one by one over the past month. Although the company has issued a complex workaround, it says it has no plans to roll out another one if this one is knocked down by Apple.

“Each time that Beeper Mini goes ‘down’ or is made to be unreliable due to interference by Apple, Beeper’s credibility takes a hit,” the company wrote in a blog post. “It’s unsustainable. As much as we want to fight for what we believe is a fantastic product that really should exist, the truth is that we can’t win a cat-and-mouse game with the largest company on earth. With our latest software release, we believe we’ve created something that Apple can tolerate existing. We do not have any current plans to respond if this solution is knocked offline.”

When Beeper launched, all users had to do was download an app to bring iMessage to Android. Each time Apple has blocked the service since then, Beeper has had to issue workarounds that have become more and more complicated each time. The latest workaround requires users to own or rent a jailbroken iPhone to get iMessage working via Beeper. The new workaround comes two days after Beeper announced that users needed to have access to a Mac computer or have a friend on Beeper with a Mac.

To get the app working now, you need to have an old jailbroken iPhone (6/6s/SE1/7/8/X) and a Mac or Linux computer. You then need to install a Beeper tool to generate an iMessage registration code, then update to the latest Beeper Mini app and enter your code. You need to leave the iPhone plugged into power and connected to Wi-Fi at all times.

If users don’t have an old iPhone and don’t want to buy one, Beeper says they can rent one and that it may even offer its own rental service if there is enough interest among users.

Apple did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

The process is quite complicated and significantly takes away from the original appeal of Beeper, which was supposed to provide an easy way to bring iMessage to Android. Some users had already given up with the previous workarounds, and this latest one will likely turn away many more users from the service. However, Beeper does believe that this latest fix is something that Apple will “tolerate.” Given Apple’s continued efforts to knock Beeper down, it’s possible that the tech giant may want to shut down the service once and for all.

“At this stage, Apple’s actions to block Beeper Mini look increasingly hard for them to defend,” Beeper wrote in its blog post. “The only potential reason they have left is that they might make less money selling iPhones if iMessage were available on Android.”

Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Apple’s “potential anticompetitive treatment” of Beeper, noting that “interoperability and interconnections have long been key drivers of competition and consumer choice in communications services.” Given the latest developments in the saga, it’s unknown if anything will come of this.

Beeper says it has made the software open source for other developers looking to give it a go. Although Beeper is done trying to bring iMessage to Android, the company says it’s “shifting focus back to our long-term goal of building the best chat app on earth” in the new year.


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