The short-lived saga of Beeper Mini — a bold attempt to get iMessage compatibility with Android — appears to finally be truly over.
The last time we wrote about Beeper Mini just before Christmas, the app was dead for all but the most committed of Android users wanting to replicate the iMessage experience. The workaround was a convoluted process involving an old jailbroken iPhone (permanently connected to Wi-Fi) with a Mac or Linux computer for setup purposes.
With relatively few users willing to jump through these hoops, it appeared Apple might let it lie, but apparently not. A number of Beeper users who had taken the steps have found their Macs blocked from using iMessage, as they were flagged as “spam.”
While a number of the banned accounts were unbanned following a New York Times comment request, Beeper has now “disabled the ability for users to start new iMessage connections from Beeper Cloud at this time.”
Full detailsWe’ve received and authenticated reports from 30 Beeper users who’ve had their personal Mac computers banned from using iMessage. These users configured Beeper (Cloud or Mini) iMessage connection to use their Mac, as per our December 21 update.We are taking this…January 26, 2024
Accounts currently connected aren’t automatically disconnected, but you can manually do so if you wish. Just open Beeper Desktop and click the Gear icon, followed by “Chat Networks”, “iMessage” and finally “Delete”.
The company doesn’t think this will be a necessary step, however. “Just to be ultra clear - this is not a widespread problem, and affected 30 users,” it wrote on X. “Apple reversed course quickly, and we don't think they are going to try this b******* again.”
Indeed, 30 out of the 3,500 customers reportedly using the bridge represents just 0.85%, so it’s not exactly widespread at the time of writing.
Still, removing the Beeper Cloud iMessage bridge for new users feels like the final nail in a coffin that was already pretty comprehensively sealed. The Beeper Mini app had already been removed from the Google Play Store earlier this month and Beeper made it clear at the time that the December workaround would be its last attempt to solve the problem.
Nonetheless, the company is still clearly unhappy with Apple over this — perhaps unsurprisingly given the iMessage bridge reportedly cost $750,000 to build.
“Regardless of what happened before, there is only question [sic.] at issue right now,” the company wrote in another X post. “Is a hardware ban (with no warning) an acceptable action for Apple to take against paid customers who chose to use a 3rd party client (Beeper) to access iMessage on their own Mac computer?”
The company will now continue with its original mission to make "the best chat app on earth".
As for Apple, the company has pledged to finally support RCS messaging later this year, but it’s not yet clear how comprehensive it will be. We already know it won’t close the green/blue chat bubble divide.
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Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.