Now you can send and receive blue bubble texts from your phone number. As soon as you install Beeper Mini, your Android phone number will be blue instead of green when your iPhone friends text you. It’s easy to join iPhone-only group chats, since people can add your phone number instead of your email address. All chat features like typing status, read receipts, full resolution images/video, emoji reactions, voice messages, editing, un-sending, and more are supported.
Unlike every other attempt to build an Android app like this (including our first generation Beeper app), Beeper Mini does not use a Mac relay server in a data center. Instead, the app connects directly to Apple servers to send and receive end-to-end encrypted messages. Encryption keys never leave your device. No Apple ID is required. Beeper does not have access to your Apple account. Learn more about how Beeper Mini works.
Jacob Kastrenakes at The Verge has more:
Other services — including Beeper’s previous iMessage implementation — would relay messages through a Mac hosted in the cloud. That poses real security problems, as recently exemplified by Sunbird and its Nothing-branded spinoff, Nothing Chats. Nothing’s app was launched and pulled in just four days after serious security issues were discovered; Sunbird pulled its app shortly thereafter.
Beeper Mini avoids some of those problems because it’s operating in a fundamentally different way. Its developers figured out how to register a phone number with iMessage, send messages directly to Apple’s servers, and have messages sent back to your phone natively inside the app. It was a tricky process that involved deconstructing Apple’s messaging pipeline from start to finish. Beeper’s 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 hardest part, Migicovsky said, was cracking what is essentially Apple’s padlock on the whole system: a check to see whether the connected device is a genuine Apple product.
Quinn Nelson has a video up about the app and the open-source project that is powering most of it. He shows it running on a laptop running Linux, which is wild:
Reverse engineering is protected in the United States, but Apple may still make moves to shut this down. One could argue that this project isn’t worth the company risking the bad PR that would come with squashing Beeper Mini, but time will tell. The fact that Beeper charges $1.99/mo for the app may end being a liability in the long run.