Image Credit: Beeper
Was it too good to be true? BeeperThe startup that reverse-engineered iMessage to bring blue bubble texts to Android users is facing a crash. Informed by a post on Friday X. And Apple is to blame, it seems. Users at TechCrunch started seeing error messages when trying to send texts via the newly released Beeper Mini with access to the app, and messages not going through.
The error message reads: “Failed to lookup server: Lookup request timed out” written in red letters.
In answer to the question Reddit As for whether the app is broken or not, a Beeper team member replied, “Report an issue with the app and give us a chance to look into it.”
However, Beeper is the CEO Eric Mickikowski Pepper responded to TechCrunch’s inquiry into the Mini’s status by pointing us in the right direction X post acknowledging the crash, providing more details. Asked if Apple had found a way to disable the Beeper Mini’s functionality, he replied, “Yes, all the data points to that.”
Unless Beeper’s engineers can somehow work around the issue, we don’t know what this means for future attempts at Beeper Mini.
Migicovsky, who previously founded the smartwatch Pebble, argued that the Beeper Mini not only benefited Android users who finally wanted to join group chats with their iMessage friends, but also increased security for iPhone users.
In an interview ahead of Peeper Mini’s launch, the founder explained that green bubble texts are not encrypted.
“That means anytime you send a text message to your Android friends, anyone can read that message. Apple can read the message. Your phone carrier can read the message. Google… Actually, it’s like a postcard. Anyone can read it. So Beeper Mini really enhances the security of iPhones,” he had told TechCrunch.
On the other hand, Apple sees iMessage as one of the main tools to lock users into its ecosystem, which is why it won’t launch an iMessage app for Android. Despite some hopes that EU regulations would make iMessage more interoperable, this week’s news indicates that iMessage will be exempt from those rules because it is not popular enough among business users. That means Apple has no reason to shut down the Beeper Mini.
Michikowski was not too pleased with those developments.
“I’m very interested to hear why they think it makes sense to make security worse for iPhone users,” he said.
“If it’s Apple, the bigger question is – if Apple really cares about the privacy and security of its own iPhone users, why are they trying to destroy a service that lets iPhones send encrypted chats to Android users? With their announcement of RCS support, Apple knows they have a gap here. Clear. Beeper Mini is here today and works great. Why force iPhone users to send unencrypted SMS while chatting with friends on Android?” he asked.
Founded in 2020, Beeper’s team was originally working on a multi-platform messaging aggregator, renamed Beeper Cloud this week as Beeper Mini went on to launch. The latter uses a new Technology It allows Android users to text iMessage users as if they were texting from an iPhone for $1.99 per month. That means blue bubbles in group chat, not green bubbles. Because the startup doesn’t use intermediaries — like other iMessage-to-Android apps, where Mac servers send messages — it essentially makes it appear to Apple’s servers that Beeper Mini’s messages are coming from the device running iMessage. If so, it’s not clear how Apple cut off Beeper Mini’s access.
What the future holds for the Beeper Mini is uncertain.
“We will evaluate the options,” Mickikowski said.
Stay close to your phones https://t.co/WjwNRvkzW5
— Eric Mikikowski (@ericmigi) December 9, 2023