What you need to know
- Beeper says that it has been using Mac registration data for iMessage activation on Android phones, but this method was easy for Apple to spot.
- Now, it will ask users to use their own Mac’s registration data with Beeper Cloud and Mini so the Android clients are harder to spot.
- Users can share their Mac’s registration data with about 10-20 other users, who won’t see any of their messages, according to Beeper.
Beeper, the company fighting for its Android client for iMessage, has a fix that will be released tomorrow for Beeper Cloud and Beeper Mini. There’s just one catch: it requires you to own, or at least have access to, a Mac.
That puts Beeper right where it started, in the same cohort with all the other iMessage clients for Android that need a Mac in order to work. While Beeper’s solution is a bit different — for one, it says that Macs do not have access to user accounts or messages — this iteration of Beeper Mini is far from the simple and easy solution that was originally offered.
Beeper announced the fix in a Reddit post on Tuesday, explaining that the fix will come tomorrow. The company says that it has been using Mac identifiers to authorize Beeper activations for iMessage. However, Beeper thinks this is the reason Apple is able to spot and block Beeper Cloud & Mini accounts. With hundreds of Apple IDs having the registration information of a single Mac, these accounts stand out compared to valid iMessage activations.
This would also explain why some Beeper users have reported seeing a message from Apple that their Apple ID has been used to log in to iMessage on a Mac. According to Beeper, this doesn’t mean a user’s Apple ID has actually been used to sign into a Mac mini in a server farm somewhere. Instead, it simply refers to the Mac registration information being used to get iMessage activation.
“Registration data is used only to indicate that a Mac is available during registration,” Beeper explains in the post. “The Mac in no way is given any access to your account, or your messages.”
Tomorrow (Wednesday), an update to Beeper Cloud for Mac will allow users to generate registration information from their computers. Since this will be unique to their system, it will be harder for Apple to spot, in theory.
The fix will work for Beeper Mini as well, but users will only be able to use their Apple ID email to send and receive iMessages. Sending iMessages with just phone numbers through Beeper Mini still isn’t fixed and may be gone for good.
Since Apple checks for new registration data periodically, Macs set up with Beeper Cloud will need to be powered on and connected to a network to ensure Beeper service isn’t interrupted. For users that don’t have a Mac, Beeper says they can ask friends for their Mac’s registration data, which can be reliably shared with between 10 and 20 users.
While Beeper expects service to be restored on Wednesday for Beeper Cloud and Mini through this method, it’s hard to see this fix as anything but a loss for Beeper. Its calling card was that you didn’t need a Mac or an Apple ID to use iMessage on Android. Now, you need both a Mac and an Apple ID to use Beeper.
The same is true of existing options, like AirMessage and Bluebubbles, that have used at-home Mac servers to reliably send iMessages for years without widespread interruptions.
We’ll have to see whether this fix stabilizes Beeper and whether users are willing to make these compromises.