iMessage is never coming to Android, so please stop asking

Ask any Android user to name an Apple app that they’d like to have on their Galaxy or Pixel phone and the answer will almost universally be the same: iMessage. And the likely reason behind that answer? Green bubbles.

While Android users have no idea whether the person they’re texting with has an iPhone, Android, or a Windows Phone, Apple makes it very clear what device you and your friends are using. Messages from iPhone users are wrapped in serene blue bubbles while everyone else’s bubbles are colored in a garish green hue.

And we Android users would love for that to change. Not only are we tired of our iPhone-loving friends chiding us for ruining group messages, but we’d also like to see what all of the fuss is about. We’re still waiting for a do-it-all messaging app on Android, and an Apple client is certainly intriguing, especially for those of use still lamenting the loss of Allo. I’m willing to bet that if Apple were to release an iMessage Android client in the Play Store, it would quickly become one of the most downloaded messaging apps, challenging Google’s own Messages, WhatsApp and Signal, at least at launch.

It’s a nice dream, but it’s never going to happen. It doesn’t matter how many tweets, Medium posts, or op-eds are written about it, Apple is never going to release iMessage for anything that isn’t an Apple device.

Blue with envy

When Apple launched iMessage as part of iOS 5 in 2011, it was something like BlackBerry Messenger for iOS users. Apple described at as “a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5 users,” and it really was that simple: Turn it on and you could chat with your friends over Wi-Fi or cellular without going through your carrier. Messages arrived instantly, indicators showed when people were responding, and Read Receipts let you know when someone viewed your message.

Leif Johnson/IDG

iMessages aren’t just in a nice color—they also mean you can use all of Messages features.

Some eight years later, iMessage is arguably the most widely used messaging service in the world. It’s on Macs and Apple Watches, as well as hundreds of millions of iOS devices. Stickers and screen effects can spice up any conversation. And you can send audio messages as an animated pile of poo.

What hasn’t changed are those bright green bubbles. As iMessage has grown in popularity, the green bubbles have become more and more of a nuisance, so when an Android user joins a group conversation, it spoils the party for everyone, turning the whole group green and sullying the iMessage experience.

Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin shared an anecdote last week about a 16-year-old switcher who said he gave up his Pixel 2 specifically because of the green bubbles. As he explained, he was tired of being left out of group messages due to his green status. And it’s not just high-schoolers: According to the New York Post, it’s gotten so bad that some iPhone users won’t even consider dating someone that doesn’t text on blue bubbles.