If you’re on Android but cannot possibly be bothered to live your life as a green bubble, you may want to try out AirMessage, a new app that allows Mac users to participate in iMessage conversations on Android—with some caveats.
We’ll talk about those caveats a bit later but first, let’s see what this app is all about. As first noted by iPhon.fr, AirMessage is basically a two-part solution that involves a macOS client and a mobile app.
Blue bubble messaging on Android
The Mac client uses automation and a few other things to relay incoming and outgoing iMessages to the mobile app running on your Android phone.
After downloading the server app onto your Mac, put it in the Applications folder. If you’re on Mojave, you will need to grant some privileges to the app so that it can read your messages.
Jumping through hoops
First, go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy → Full Disk Access and add AirMessage. Developers claim AirMessage won’t read any data other than your Messages data.
Also, macOS Mojave or above users will need to ensure that the system allows AirMessage to send messages: go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy → Automation, then enable AirMessage.
You will also need to configure port forwarding on your router and set up a dynamic DNS provider that will track any IP address changes to ensure that the app is always able to connect.
Thankfully, developers have provided detailed instructions on their website, along with a FAQ. What you should know is that setting up AirMessage isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s really not that complicated either.
The AirMessage server for macOS, available through the AirMessage website, is a crucial part of the experience, which obviously means you need to leave the app running on your computer all the time to be able to use iMessage on Android on the go, no matter where you are.
The mobile client supports many, but not all iMessage features (more on that further below). It’s nice that AirMessage for Android supports a dark theme for messaging late at night, as well as basic customizations like per-contact and per-chat color options.
AirMessage does not alter your iMessage setup in any way
Security & missing features
The iMessage protocol uses end-to-end encryption to protect against eavesdropping. If you’re wondering how secure AirMessage is, check out what its developers wrote on Reddit:
Your messages are yours and not accessible to the developers. The server runs on your computer and the data remains on your systems. All communication between the client and the server is encrypted and the server is password-protected.
The following core iMessage features are supported:
- Sending and receiving messages
- Sending and receiving attachments
- Group chat
- Displaying read receipts
- Receiving bubble and screen effects
- Receiving Tapback responses
AirMessage also does not support sending Tapback responses, messages with bubble or screen effects, read receipts, stickers, nor does it handle chat modification, carrier messaging (SMS), location sharing or iMessage apps.
It’s unclear if the developers plan on bringing some of the missing features to AirMessage, provided there are no technical obstacles.
Here’s a quick list of the key features:
- Attachments: Send and receive attachments of any kind, such as images, videos and audio messages.
- Theming; Make it your own with per-contact and per-chat color options, as well as a dark theme for messaging late at night.
- iMessage integration: Don’t leave behind the iMessage features you know and love. Take advantage of read receipts, message effects, tapbacks and stickers.
- Security: Your data is encrypted in transit, and is kept private between your devices only. Even your encrypted data is never passed through any other servers.
Pricing & availability
AirMessage contains no ads. The app is free to download and use without restorations. The solution requires a smartphone or tablet running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or higher and a Mac computer running OS X 10.10 Yosemite or higher.
What do you think of this app?
Let us know in the comments down below.