Beeper’s desperate effort to revive its Android iMessage service: Use a Mac

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Beeper these past few weeks. Having boasted at the start of December that its intriguing iMessage for Android service was completely legit, the company discovered two days later that Apple disagreed and had closed the loophole Beeper Mini relied on. Since then the priority has been finding a workaround to keep the service going.

The first fix did appear to re-enable iMessage functionality on the Android app, but added a new caveat: you had to sign in with an Apple ID and send and receive messages via that address, which wasn’t quite what people had signed up for. (In recognition of this fact, the service became temporarily free.) Worse still, this method reportedly failed for well over half of users. But now, Beeper thinks it’s found a more satisfying solution.

The issue, according to Beeper, was that Apple was able to identify and block iMessages sent via the app because lots of them used matching registration data from Beeper’s fleet of Mac servers. To get around this, the company is encouraging users to get their own unique registration data… and that means getting access to their own Mac.

To be clear, you don’t need to send and receive iMessages via the Mac, which would be completely pointless. Rather, you turn on the Mac from time to time to “regenerate” the data, and Beeper Mini uses that data to do the messaging work on your Android device. This means it doesn’t even need to be your Mac, but could belong to a friend: as Beeper explains, “Registration data is used only to indicate that a Mac is available during registration. The Mac in no way is given any access to your account or your messages.”

(If you’re wondering how often you’ll need to turn on the Mac, you’re not alone, because Beeper’s best guess is “roughly once per week or month.” If you’re also wondering how many Mac users will be willing to allow their computer to be a willing participant in Beeper’s workaround that may or may not work, we’re guessing it’s pretty close to zero.)

This is getting more and more complicated; before long, presumably, Beeper Mini will work flawlessly provided you have access to the Messages app on an up-to-date iPhone. It’s tempting to wonder if all of this hassle is really worth it when you could just buy an iPhone or wait for the benefits of Apple’s imminent RCS move to pay off. But iMessage remains the great battleground state in the ongoing presidential election that is iPhone vs Android, and nobody wants to back down.

One thing is certain, though: none of this is Apple’s fault.

Source : Macworld