Beeper reverse-engineered iMessage to bring blue bubble texts to Android users

newarkhiphop

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Someone please explain to me like I'm 5 the whole blue text green text thing. I use an app called textra and text with iPhone / android people all day (I'm on android) and I never see an colored bubbles. Are there added features or something?
 

xXOGLEGENDXx

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Someone please explain to me like I'm 5 the whole blue text green text thing. I use an app called textra and text with iPhone / android people all day (I'm on android) and I never see an colored bubbles. Are there added features or something?

The blue and green bubbles relates to what iPhone users see when you text them.
The reason why your android bubbles are green to an iPhone user, is because Android uses 'SMS' which is a dated and unsecure way of sending messages

iPhone does not use SMS, so when iPhone users text each other, their messages are blue. Apple has their own proprietary messaging service. iMessage.

Also they get encryption between messages, they can send hi-resolution photos and videos, read receipts, live typing, reactions and more. SMS cannot do any of those.





So when you, an Android user, texts another android user, there isn't a bubble color change or anything. It's just SMS to SMS.

When you, an android user, texts an iPhone user, nothing happens on your phone. However the iPhone user sees a green bubble. And any image or video you text gets compressed and looks very low quality to them.




Now since 2012, Google has integrated RCS for its messaging app which is intended to replace SMS. It offers everything iMessage does, but it is for Android. iPhone was forced to adopt RCS as well and will start in 2024. This will allow Androids and iPhones to text each other similar to how iPhones text other iPhones.
However this will only be for Google's Messages app. Apps like Textra will still be using the old SMS unless Google allows access to its RCS servers.
 
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bnew

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Apple blocked Beeper Mini’s iMessage Android app, but Beeper will keep pushing

Co-founder denies Apple's claims of security and privacy concerns for its users.

KEVIN PURDY - UPDATED 12/10/2023, 12:35 PM

Beeper mini promotional splash image

Enlarge / Beeper Mini's promises of "Blue bubbles" on Android have been halted, at least temporarily, by Apple's countermeasures.

Beeper

266

Beeper Mini, the Android app born from a reverse-engineering of Apple's iMessage service, is currently broken, after Apple took measures to block it.

Beeper desktop users received a message from co-founder Eric Migicovsky late on Friday afternoon, noting an "iMessage outage" and that "messages are failing to send and receive." Reports had started piling up on Reddit around 2:30 pm Eastern. As of 5:30 pm, both Beeper Cloud on desktop and the Beeper Mini app were reporting errors in sending and receiving messages, with "Failed to lookup on sever: lookup request timed out."

Migicovsky suggested to The Verge and TechCrunch Friday that Beeper's data indicated action on Apple's side to block the service. Late on Saturday, Apple offered a statement to The Verge stating that it had indeed done so. Apple "took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage," the statement read. Citing "metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks," Apple stated it would "continue to make updates in the future to protect our users." (Ars has reached out to Apple for comment on the specifics of this message and will update this post with new information).

Migicovsky, reached by phone Sunday, took exception to Apple's statement, particularly the claims of security concerns. "In fact, [Beeper Mini] has increased security and decreased exposure for Apple's users," Migicovsky said, especially compared to standard SMS. Migicovsky said Beeper did not allow for unwelcome messages, spam, or phishing, and also said that Beeper does not use "fake credentials." Migicovsky said that Beeper's core iMessage technology has its source code available on GitHub, and that, with escrow provided by a third-party research firm, his company would offer its Android source code to Apple or other involved parties.

Migicovsky also questioned why Apple, which typically provides few public statements about such matters to the press or public, would seem to go out of its way to comment on its attempts to counteract Beeper.

Beeper Cloud, the multi-service desktop chat app which recently switched to use the same tools as Beeper Mini for iMessage service, was working as of Sunday morning. Migicovsky said that work continued Sunday to bring Beeper Mini for Android back online.

Responding to a post on X (formerly Twitter) Saturday asking if restoring Beeper Mini's function would be an "endless cat and mouse game," Migicovsky wrote: "Beeper Cloud and Mini are apps that need to exist. We have built it. We will keep it working. We will share it widely." He added that such an attitude, "especially from people in the tech world," surprised him. "Why do hard things at all? Why keep working on anything that doesn't work the first time?"

Beeper, as it worked shortly before launch on Dec. 5, sending iMessages from a Google Pixel 3 Android phone.

Beeper, as it worked shortly before launch on Dec. 5, sending iMessages from a Google Pixel 3 Android phone.

Kevin Purdy

Beeper's ability to send encrypted iMessages from Android phones grew from a teenager's reverse-engineering of the iMessage protocol, as Ars detailed at launch. The app could not read message contents (nor could Apple), kept encryption keys and contacts on your device, and did not require an Apple ID to authenticate.

The app did, however, send a text message from a device to an Apple server, and the response was used to generate an encryption key pair, one for Apple and one for your device. A Beeper service kept itself connected to Apple's servers to notify it and you about new messages. Reddit user moptop and others suggested that Beeper's service used encryption algorithms whose keys were spoofed to look like they came from a Mac Mini running OS X Mountain Lion, perhaps providing Apple a means of pinpointing and block them. Beeper employees have stated on Reddit and elsewhere that an explanation of what was blocked, and how it was worked around, should be forthcoming.

Beeper Mini's iMessage capabilities, for which the company was planning to charge $1.99 per month after a seven-day trial, were more than a feature. The company had planned to build additional secure messaging into Beeper Mini, including Signal and WhatsApp messaging, and make it the primary focus of its efforts. Its prior app Beeper, temporarily renamed Beeper Cloud, was marked to be deprecated at some point in favor of the new iMessage-touting Mini app.

This post was updated at 12:50 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, to reflect restored function to Beeper Cloud (desktop), and Migicovsky's social media response after the outage. It was updated again at 12:35 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, with Apple's statement on its efforts to counteract Beeper, and Migicovsky's comment on the same.
 

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Senator Warren calls out Apple for shutting down Beeper’s ‘iMessage to Android’ solution​

Sarah Perez@sarahpereztc / 5:49 PM EST•December 10, 2023


Beeper screens

Image Credits: Beeper

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is throwing her weight behind Beeper, the app that allowed Android users to message iPhone users via iMessage, until Apple shut it down. Warren, an advocate for stricter antitrust enforcement, postedher support for Beeper on X (formerly Twitter) and questioned why Apple would restrict a competitor. The post indicates Apple’s move has now caught the attention of legislators, who are in a position to regulate Big Tech through policymaking.

“Green bubble texts are less secure. So why would Apple block a new app allowing Android users to chat with iPhone users on iMessage?,” Warren’s post read, citing The Verge’s report noting that Apple had blocked Beeper from operating, as TechCrunch also reported. “Big Tech executives are protecting profits by squashing competitors. Chatting between different platforms should be easy and secure,” she said.



Apple on Friday had taken action against Beeper, a startup that had reverse engineered the iMessage protocol to allow Android users to have blue bubble conversations with Apple device owners on iMessage.

In explaining its decision to cut off Beeper’s access to its servers, Apple said that it took “steps to steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage.” It also suggested that Beeper’s techniques “posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks.”

In addition, Cupertino-based tech giant argued against Beeper’s security, saying it was not able to verify that messages sent through unauthorized means were able to maintain the end-to-end encryption iMessage offers.

Beeper, however, claims it was able to offer the same level of encryption as iMessage uses, but did not put its app through a third-party security audit prior to its launch, which would have strengthened its argument.

Over the weekend, Beeper’s team has been working to enable its app, Beeper Mini, to continue to operate. As of its most recent update on Sunday, the startup posted that work continues on the outage and it hopes to “have good news to share soon.”



Founded a few years ago by Pebble smartwatch founder, now Beeper CEO Eric Migicovsky, Beeper had employed a technical solution discovered by a teenager that involved reverse engineering the iMessage protocol. Prior to this, Beeper had been developing a broader solution that aggregated all users’ chat apps into a single interface — a software solution that’s since been renamed Beeper Cloud. Beeper Mini, then, became an app that focused solely on bringing iMessage to Android for $1.99/month, with the intention of expanding its capabilities over time.

But before Beeper Mini had a chance to get off the ground, Apple put it out of operation. It’s unclear what, if any, future Beeper Mini may now have, given that Apple has figured out how to identify Beeper users.
 

mag357

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Muthafukkaz ain't got a pot to piss in
But be worrying but what type phone they texting from
 

Black Mamba

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Elizabeth warren can shut her stupid c*nt mouth the fukk up.
Hopefully Apple obliterates that company
 

bnew

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Beeper is giving up on its iMessage dream​

Beeper has yet another new solution in place, but if Apple finds a way to shut it down, Beeper says that it doesn’t have plans to respond.​


By Emma Roth, a news writer who covers the streaming wars, consumer tech, crypto, social media, and much more. Previously, she was a writer and editor at MUO.

Dec 21, 2023, 11:27 AM EST|235 Comments / 235 New

Photo of green bubbles in Apple’s Messages app.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Beeper is throwing in the towel in its fight to bring iMessage to Android — mostly. Although it just announced yet another fix to let Android users send iMessages from its messaging apps, Beeper announced that it’s going to stop finding workarounds and instead focus on its “long-term goal of building the best chat app on earth.”

“Each time that Beeper Mini goes ‘down’ or is made to be unreliable due to interference by Apple, Beeper’s credibility takes a hit. It’s unsustainable,” Beeper writes. “As much as we want to fight for what we believe is a fantastic product that really should exist, the truth is that we can’t win a cat-and-mouse game with the largest company on earth.”

What started as a simple app download in Beeper Mini has become an increasingly complex process for Beeper users, and its latest fix seems like its most desperate attempt yet: Beeper wants users to own or rent a jailbroken iPhone, along with having a Mac or Linux computer. Users can start using the app once they follow Beeper’s steps to receive their iMessage registration code — the only problem is that they’ll need to leave the iPhone plugged into power and connected to Wi-Fi at all times.

If users don’t own an old iPhone or don’t want to purchase one, Beeper suggests renting one for a “few dollars per month.” The company says that it will offer its own rental service to do so next year “if there is enough interest.”

But if Apple responds with a way to block Beeper’s latest method, Beeper says it does “not have any current plans to respond if this solution is knocked offline.” Beeper is also responding to criticism about the app being “insecure” by open-sourcing its iMessage bridge, allowing users to inspect the code or build something with it. It’s releasing the Mac and iPhone app it uses to generate iMessage registration codes as well.

Beeper says it believes Apple can “tolerate” this most recent update, but given Apple’s previous intolerance for Beeper, we’ll have to wait and see if that’s actually true. Apple didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Beeper still believes it has the moral high ground. “At this stage, Apple’s actions to block Beeper Mini look increasingly hard for them to defend,” Beeper writes. “The only potential reason they have left is that they might make less money selling iPhones if iMessage were available on Android.”

Update December 21st, 11:34AM ET: Added that Beeper open-sourced its iMessage bridge.
[/SIZE]
 

Black Mamba

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Beeper is giving up on its iMessage dream​

Beeper has yet another new solution in place, but if Apple finds a way to shut it down, Beeper says that it doesn’t have plans to respond.​


By Emma Roth, a news writer who covers the streaming wars, consumer tech, crypto, social media, and much more. Previously, she was a writer and editor at MUO.

Dec 21, 2023, 11:27 AM EST|235 Comments / 235 New

Photo of green bubbles in Apple’s Messages app.

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Beeper is throwing in the towel in its fight to bring iMessage to Android — mostly. Although it just announced yet another fix to let Android users send iMessages from its messaging apps, Beeper announced that it’s going to stop finding workarounds and instead focus on its “long-term goal of building the best chat app on earth.”

“Each time that Beeper Mini goes ‘down’ or is made to be unreliable due to interference by Apple, Beeper’s credibility takes a hit. It’s unsustainable,” Beeper writes. “As much as we want to fight for what we believe is a fantastic product that really should exist, the truth is that we can’t win a cat-and-mouse game with the largest company on earth.”

What started as a simple app download in Beeper Mini has become an increasingly complex process for Beeper users, and its latest fix seems like its most desperate attempt yet: Beeper wants users to own or rent a jailbroken iPhone, along with having a Mac or Linux computer. Users can start using the app once they follow Beeper’s steps to receive their iMessage registration code — the only problem is that they’ll need to leave the iPhone plugged into power and connected to Wi-Fi at all times.

If users don’t own an old iPhone or don’t want to purchase one, Beeper suggests renting one for a “few dollars per month.” The company says that it will offer its own rental service to do so next year “if there is enough interest.”

But if Apple responds with a way to block Beeper’s latest method, Beeper says it does “not have any current plans to respond if this solution is knocked offline.” Beeper is also responding to criticism about the app being “insecure” by open-sourcing its iMessage bridge, allowing users to inspect the code or build something with it. It’s releasing the Mac and iPhone app it uses to generate iMessage registration codes as well.

Beeper says it believes Apple can “tolerate” this most recent update, but given Apple’s previous intolerance for Beeper, we’ll have to wait and see if that’s actually true. Apple didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.

Beeper still believes it has the moral high ground. “At this stage, Apple’s actions to block Beeper Mini look increasingly hard for them to defend,” Beeper writes. “The only potential reason they have left is that they might make less money selling iPhones if iMessage were available on Android.”

Update December 21st, 11:34AM ET: Added that Beeper open-sourced its iMessage bridge.
[/SIZE]
Good fukk these bytches
 

bnew

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Apple’s Newest Headache: An App That Upended Its Control Over Messaging

Beeper Mini, which offers iPhone messaging on Android phones, has grown fast and its duel with the tech giant has gotten the attention of antitrust regulators.


A man in a white sweater stands in a yard before a wooden fence.

Eric Migicovsky created Beeper to build a single messaging app that could send texts across multiple services.Credit...Helynn Ospina for The New York Times


By Tripp Mickle and Mike Isaac

Reporting from San Francisco

Published Dec. 22, 2023Updated Dec. 25, 2023

For years, Ben Black’s phone annoyed his family. It was the only Android device in a family message group with eight iPhones. Because of him, videos and photos would arrive in low resolution and there would be green bubbles of text amid bubbles of blue.

But a new app called Beeper Mini gave him the ability to change that.

Mr. Black, 25, used the app to create an account for Apple’s messaging service, iMessage, with his Google Pixel phone number. For the first time, every message the family exchanged had a blue bubble and members were able to use perks like emojis and animations.

Since it was introduced on Dec. 5, Beeper Mini has quickly become a headache and potential antitrust problem for Apple. It has poked a hole in Apple’s messaging system, while critics say it has demonstrated how Apple bullies potential competitors.

Apple was caught by surprise when Beeper Mini gave Android devices access to its modern, iPhone-only service. Less than a week after Beeper Mini’s launch, Apple blocked the app by changing its iMessage system. It said the app created a security and privacy risk.

Apple’s reaction set off a game of Whac-a-Mole, with Beeper Mini finding alternative ways to operate and Apple finding new ways to block the app in response.

The duel has raised questions in Washington about whether Apple has used its market dominance over iMessage to block competition and force consumers to spend more on iPhones than lower-priced alternatives.

The Justice Department has taken interest in the case. Beeper Mini met with the department’s antitrust lawyers on Dec. 12, two people familiar with the meeting said. Eric Migicovsky, a co-founder of the app’s parent company, Beeper, declined to comment on the meeting, but the department is in the middle of a four-year-old investigation into Apple’s anticompetitive behavior.

The Federal Trade Commission said in a blog post on Thursday that it would scrutinize “dominant” players that “use privacy and security as a justification to disallow interoperability” between services. The post did not name any companies.

The battle also caught the attention of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. The committee’s leadership — Senators Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah — wrote a letter to the Justice Department expressing concern that Apple was snuffing out competition.

Apple declined to comment on the letter.

The questions coming from Washington cut to the heart of today’s smartphone competition. Rival smartphone makers credit iMessage with helping Apple expand its smartphone market share in the United States to more than 50 percent of smartphones sold, up from 41 percent in 2018, according to Counterpoint Research, a technology firm.



Inside the World of Tech​



Messaging has been a key part of Apple’s strategy to sell more iPhones. For years, it has made exchanges between iPhones and Android devices as basic as the texts between decades-old flip phones. Texts between iPhone users appear in blue and can be tapped to give a thumbs up, but texts with Android users appear in green and have no simple perks.

Android companies have tried to fight back. An Android smartphone maker, Nothing, has collaborated with an app called Sunbird to offer iMessage. Google, which created the Android operating system, has pressured Apple to adopt a technology called rich communication services, which would make it possible to send high-resolution video and images between competing smartphones.

But their efforts have not made much of a dent. Last month, Apple said it would adopt the technology in the coming year. The move means Android users will enjoy benefits like sharing higher-resolution videos but be stuck with the green bubbles for text messages, which have become stigmatized and associated with less wealth.

“Everyone is watching to see what kind of response Apple is going to have to Beeper Mini,” said Cory Doctorow, a special adviser to the digital rights advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation who has written a book about interoperability across different technologies. “We can’t tell how worried they are internally, but their response could have a huge impact on how messaging works.”

Protecting iMessage is a decade-old strategy at Apple. In 2013, Craig Federighi, Apple’s head of software, opposed making iMessage workable on competitors’ devices because it would “remove an obstacle to iPhone families giving their kids Android phones,” according to emails released during the company’s courtroom fight with Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite.

Image

An image of text messages.

Beeper Mini is a bridge between Apple devices and its competitors.Credit...Beeper Mini

An image of text messages.

Image

An image of text messages.

Beeper users are able to use perks like emojis and animations.Credit...Beeper Mini

An image of text messages.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has resisted calls to change that position. He told an iPhone owner at a conference last year that the solution to green text messages was to buy iPhones for friends and family members.

Beeper brought a different approach to messaging. Mr. Migicovsky created the company in 2020 to build a single messaging app that could send texts across multiple services, including WhatsApp and Signal.

Mr. Migicovsky managed to integrate most messaging services, except iMessage. Unlike its peers, Apple did not offer a web app, making it difficult to connect with its service. The only way Beeper could integrate iMessage was to route messages through Mac computers and then to an iPhone. The process delayed messages and made them less secure.

As Beeper struggled with iMessage, a teenager in Bethlehem, Pa., found an alternative solution. James Gill, a 16-year-old computer hobbyist, made it his personal goal to figure out how iMessage worked. He used software to decrypt his iMessages and determined that Apple used its push notification system — the same one that delivers news alerts — to ferry messages between devices.

“It wasn’t genius insight,” said Mr. Gill, a junior at Saucon Valley High School. “I was just poking at it for a long time.”

In June, Mr. Gill published his findings on GitHub, a software platform where programmers share code. When Mr. Migicovsky saw the post, he thought it could help Beeper solve its iMessage problem. He offered Mr. Gill a job making $100 an hour, a major increase from the $11 an hour the high schooler was making as a cashier at McDonald’s.

The job has been more involved than Mr. Migicovsky or Mr. Gill expected. Since Beeper Mini’s release this month, Apple has changed iMessage about three times, Mr. Migicovsky said.

Each change by Apple required an adjustment by Beeper. Its latest solution involves routing registration information to Beeper Mini users through their personal Mac computers.

“To block it entirely, they’ll have to come up with a way to require an iPhone serial number,” Mr. Gill said. “Beeper will still come up with a workaround.”

An Apple spokeswoman said it would continue to update iMessage because it could not verify that Beeper kept its messages encrypted. “These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Migicovsky disagrees. Instead of allowing Android customers to send encrypted messages to iPhone customers, he said, Apple is trying to force them to exchange unencrypted text messages. He has posted Beeper’s software code on the web and encouraged Apple and cybersecurity experts to review it.

Matthew Green, an associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, said Apple had some legitimate security concerns and warned that an extended fight between the two companies could potentially introduce vulnerabilities that criminals could exploit.

“A world where Apple works with third-party clients in a supported way is a good one,” Mr. Green said. “A world where Beeper and Apple try to fight each other in a tit-for-tat arms race is a bad one.”

In an attempt to end the standoff, Mr. Migicovsky said, he emailed Mr. Cook, but Apple’s chief has not responded.

“This wasn’t our intention,” Mr. Migicovsky said. “We’re trying to make it work, within our control, for the good of the chat world.”
 
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