Apple Blocks Beeper Mini Access to iMessage Citing ‘Significant Risks to User Security’

Apple Blocks Beeper Mini Access to iMessage Citing ‘Significant Risks to User Security’

A few days after messaging service Beeper launched Beeper Mini, an Android app that very explicitly promoted itself as a way to chat using Apple’s iMessage platform… it’s been blocked by Apple.

While there are near countless ways to actually send messages online, Apple’s iMessage is incredibly popular but also entirely restricted to Apple devices, leading to the whole “green bubble/blue bubble” business if SMS messages are flying to an iPhone from an Android device. There have been plenty of attempts before Beeper Mini to either build substitutes for iMessage, or to work out ways Android phones could get in on the iMessage party.

Late last week, it appeared Beeper had done just that, launching Beeper Mini with the suffix “Chat with iPhones” making its use case rather explicit.

Apple didn’t like that, and within 24 hours Beeper Mini’s access to iMessage was revoked, making the app functionally useless, though (at the time of writing) it’s still on the Google Play store with the promise that for a monthly fee you’ll be able to send iMessage compliant messages to iPhone users.

According to a statement sent to The Verge, Apple’s pitch for why has to do with end user security:

At Apple, we build our products and services with industry-leading privacy and security technologies designed to give users control of their data and keep personal information safe. We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks. We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users.

Beeper Mini’s methodology had to work from some level of fooling Apple’s servers that the messages it was sending were actually coming from a legit Apple device, though the company states that its implementation does not impinge upon encryption standards or pose a security risk.

Given Beeper Mini would have to handle the final part of delivery to your Android device, that’s a trust claim – and Apple clearly doesn’t trust Beeper to speak of.

This was always likely to end this way. Apple is notoriously protective of its walled garden approach, as anyone who’s tried to play Fortnite on an iPhone might be able to tell you, only releasing select services such as Apple Music or Apple TV+ out to wider platforms as suits its needs.

That being said, I don’t expect that this will be the last salvo for Android devs trying to get iMessage access, although Apple’s move towards RCS might just quell that desire a little.

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