I had, what I thought was a horrible dream the other night. Some might even call it a nightmare, but I’m not sure that I would go that far. Here’s the dream – I am trapped in a universe where I am forced to use a – gasp – Android device. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but I have used an iPhone for several years now. I think it would be hard to switch. There are a lot of reasons why, but I am specifically going to talk to you today about the iMessage capability. If you’re an iPhone user, you will know what I’m talking about. Not in terms of its functionality, but the fact that it exists. Could you switch to an Android device that doesn’t have iMessage, after using it for so long?
Well, that might have changed. A developer has created an app, known as weMessage. What does weMessage do exactly? It’s an app that brings Apple’s closed messaging system – iMessage – to Android. If you’re unsure, it actually works surprisingly well. The bad news is that this app might not work for much longer. Why? We will get into that in a moment. The app itself has been developed by a 16-year-old developer, Roman Scott. He posted about the new messaging system on Reddit over this past weekend. Which got a lot of attention. Here is what he had to say:
My name is Roman, and I am a 16 year-old app developer. I have recently published my first app to the Play Store, called weMessage. weMessage is an app that allows you to use iMessage on your Android phones or tablets. I created weMessage due to the inability of people on Android to use iMessage’s ecosystem. Although it is allows you to use iMessage on your Android device, I cannot close the gap between Android and Apple completely because weMessage is reliant on an Apple computer, which I will explain below.
weMessage is composed of two pieces of software: the Android app itself and a messaging server that I called the weServer. In order to use weMessage, you need to install the weServer on a Mac computer. The weServer acts as a “bridge” between the Mac computer and your Android device. The weServer is a messaging server that processes and relays iMessages to and from the Android device. The reason why an Apple computer is needed is because the iMessages need to be sent through an Apple device in order to be delivered. The iMessages need to be sent through Apple’s servers, and the only way to do this legitimately is to use an Apple device. If the weServer supported Windows or Linux, I would not only be violating several EULAs but would be relying on an exploitation that would likely be fixed in the future.
I should point out a couple of things. This isn’t a new thing. Using an app running on a Mac computer as a server that relays messages to an Android device is a really smart way to make this work. Especially since this isn’t technically supported. But the problem is that developers who have done this in the past have seen their solutions blocked by software updates from Apple. Which isn’t a surprise, is it? Scott says that he will continue to support his app and update it if Apple blocks it. Which is all fine and well, but he’s going up against Apple so we will see how this plays out.