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A 16-year-old cracked iMessage and helped create Beeper Mini, an app that lets Android phones send iMessages

By Kenny Yeo - on 6 Dec 2023, 10:24am

A 16-year-old cracked iMessage and helped create Beeper Mini, an app that lets Android phones send iMessages

(Image source: Beeper)

Beeper Mini is the latest app that purports to allow Android users to send iMessages. That's not new. What's new, however, is that it supposedly does this without the usual security and privacy risks.

A quick primer: most Android services that claim to send iMessages have been doing so by relaying messages to a Mac hosted in the cloud, which then sends the message on as a legitimate iMessage. This requires users to give up their iCloud logins, which is a huge security risk. Not only that, messages are being relayed and this isn't safe either. Needless to say, most of these services never took off – just look at Nothing's Chats app.

Beeper Mini, however, is different because it has supposedly "reverse engineered" Apple's iMessage. Unlike other services, Beeper Mini has found a way to register a phone number to Apple's servers and then send messages directly to Apple's servers natively using their app.

According to the report, the team "had to figure out where to send the messages, what the messages needed to look like, and how to pull them back down from the cloud."

The wildest part of the story is probably the fact that this app was created largely with the help of a 16-year-old high school student. Said student slid into the DMs of Beeper's CEO,  Eric Migicovsky (yes, of Pebble smartwatch fame), claiming to have reverse engineered Apple's iMessage.

According to Migicovsky, the hardest part was tricking Apple's checks to see if the connected device was a genuine Apple device.

But the end result appears to be quite impressive. When you launch Beeper Mini, it scans all your text messages, figures out which ones are sent from iPhone users, converts them to blue bubbles, and you can have conversations with them as if you were another iPhone user. 

Everything reportedly just works: group chats, reactions, threads, photos, and videos, all came through like they were supposed to and no one could tell messages were being sent from an Android phone pretending to be an iPhone. 

Beeper Mini is available to download now and is free to try for seven days. After that, it'll cost US$1.99 (~S$2.67) a month.

Source: The Verge, Beeper

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