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Friday, December 8, 2023

Apple has seemingly discovered a method to block Android’s new iMessage app

It seems that Beeper Mini, a straightforward iMessage resolution for Android, was just too good to be true — or a short-lived dream, a minimum of. On Friday, lower than every week after its launch, the app began experiencing technical points when customers have been all of the sudden unable to ship and obtain blue bubble messages. The issues grew worse over the course of the day, with stories piling up on the Beeper subreddit. A number of individuals at The Verge have been unable to activate their Android telephone numbers with Beeper Mini as of Friday afternoon, a transparent indication that Apple has plugged up no matter holes allowed the app to function to start with.

Beeper Mini was the results of a complete try and reverse engineer Apple’s messaging protocol. A 16-year-old highschool pupil managed to efficiently pull it off, and for some time, every thing labored with no hitch. That effort turned the idea for the brand new app, which requires a $2 / month subscription. Right here’s what my colleague Jake wrote days in the past:

Its builders found out how you can register a telephone quantity with iMessage, ship messages on to Apple’s servers, and have messages despatched again to your telephone natively contained in the app. It was a tough course of that concerned deconstructing Apple’s messaging pipeline from begin to end. Beeper’s crew had to determine the place to ship the messages, what the messages wanted to appear like, and how you can pull them again down from the cloud. The toughest half, Migicovsky stated, was cracking what is basically Apple’s padlock on the entire system: a examine to see whether or not the linked system is a real Apple product.

Quinn Nelson, of Snazzy Labs, additionally made a wonderful video that covers the technical particulars. The idea — or I suppose the hope — amongst Beeper’s builders and customers was that it will be such an ordeal for Apple to dam the Android app that doing so wouldn’t be well worth the problem. Apparently, it was simpler than anybody anticipated.

This throws an enormous wrench into Beeper’s plans; the corporate hoped to evolve Beeper Mini into an all-in-one messaging app that might ultimately wrap in RCS and SMS.

Reached for remark, Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky didn’t deny that Apple has efficiently blocked Beeper Mini. “If it’s Apple, then I believe the most important query is… if Apple actually cares concerning the privateness and safety of their very own iPhone customers, why would they cease a service that allows their very own customers to now ship encrypted messages to Android customers, fairly than utilizing unsecure SMS? With their announcement of RCS help, it’s clear that Apple is aware of they’ve a gaping gap right here. Beeper Mini is right here as we speak and works nice. Why pressure iPhone customers again to sending unencrypted SMS after they chat with mates on Android?”

Earlier makes an attempt to get iMessage engaged on Android — like Beeper’s authentic app — have concerned advanced techniques with distant Macs logged right into a consumer’s Apple ID. Nothing, the startup from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, not too long ago sought to deliver iMessage to its newest telephone, however that plan was shortly derailed by safety and privateness considerations. The Beeper Mini strategy, which truly communicated with Apple’s personal servers, was probably the most spectacular attempt but. However until the corporate can one way or the other get round Apple’s blockade, it’ll go down as a really fleeting one.

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