Beeper: Multi-Service Multi-Platform Messaging App That Supports iMessage

Beeper is a new $10/month app/service that aims to provide a unified chat app for 15 messaging platforms (and counting) — including iMessage. From their FAQ:

How in the world did you get iMessage to work on Android and Windows?

This was a tough one to figure out! Beeper has two ways of enabling Android, Windows and Linux users to use iMessage: we send each user a Jailbroken iPhone with the Beeper app installed which bridges to iMessage, or if they have a Mac that is always connected to the internet, they can install the Beeper Mac app which acts as a bridge. This is not a joke, it really works!

The idea of a single app with support for multiple messaging services harks back to Adium — and even Apple’s own iChat, which supported several services back in the day (AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, ICQ, and more). One of Beeper’s founders is Eric Migicovsky, who created the Pebble smartwatch back in 2013. When Beeper was announced two weeks ago, he tweeted to confirm that the jailbroken old iPhone trick was no joke, with photos.

Running the Beeper app on an always-on Mac as a bridge for iMessage is reasonable — and is how AirMessage, an unofficial (needless to say) iMessage client for Android works. Sending users old iPhones running old jailbroken versions of iOS is delightfully clever, but — scaling issues aside (what happens if Beeper gets hundreds of thousands of users, let alone millions?) — is a security nightmare. It strikes me as utterly irresponsible.

Friday, 5 February 2021