What you need to know
- Beeper released a final fix for Beeper Mini that it hopes will both restore functionality and get Apple to back off.
- If it doesn’t work out, Beeper said it will no longer fight to keep Beeper Mini alive.
- Beeper’s plan will shift to focusing on its main app, Beeper Cloud, which aggregates chats from multiple messaging services.
Beeper today simultaneously announced a new attempt at fixing Beeper Mini and an acknowledgment that this one would be its last. The moves were announced in a pair of blog posts, one from the company and another attributed to Beeper’s CEO, Eric Migicovsky.
Beeper believes that authenticating iMessage activations with unique product identifiers is the solution to keeping Beeper Mini alive long-term. That’s why its latest solution asks users to grab registration data from a Mac that they, or their friends, own.
The company previously used registration data from Macs that it owned but suspected that hundreds of accounts using the same registration data made it easy for Apple to spot Beeper’s clients.
“As much as we want to fight for what we believe is a fantastic product that really should exist, the truth is that we can’t win a cat-and-mouse game with the largest company on earth,” said Migicovsky. “We do not have any current plans to respond if this solution is knocked offline.”
Migicovsky’s statement represents the first time that Beeper has publicly acknowledged what many have said all along. Not many companies can go toe-to-toe with Apple, a trillion-dollar company with nearly infinite resources. Beeper, a small startup, definitely isn’t one of them.
However, that doesn’t mean Beeper Mini is dead. Migicovsky says that the latest Beeper Mini update turns it into something that Apple “can tolerate existing.”
Beeper may be right. The latest update requires a Mac’s registration data for iMessage activation and an older iPhone’s registration data for phone number activation. Then, that Mac must be periodically online for when Apple’s servers try to re-activate iMessage with the given registration data.
This puts Beeper Mini much closer to Bluebubbles in functionality than ever before, which has operated for years without Apple’s intervention. Apps like AirMessage also exist but use a different method than Beeper Mini. Beeper’s new update gives it a chance, but given how much public effort Apple has put into destroying Beeper Mini, it’s also hard to see the company stopping now.
Today’s release includes the fix we reported on earlier this week. It uses either the Beeper Cloud desktop app or the macOS Terminal to generate registration data for your Mac. Then, this data is used to activate Beeper Mini on an Android device. The data is simply used as an identifier — meaning that no messages or account data is actually shared with the Mac you’re using for registration.
What’s new is phone number activation, which returns in a limited form. In order for it to work, you need to jailbreak an iPhone 6/6s/SE1/7/8/X and go through a process that Beeper says takes 10-15 minutes. You can also either rent a jailbroken iPhone or buy one from Beeper. Of course, we advise you to exercise caution if going this route.
Even if this version of Beeper Mini survives, it’s far from the simple and easy iMessage for Android clients that was initially touted. However, Beeper Mini could have achieved its main goal, which may have been to make a point. Here’s how Migicovsky closed his blog post:
Though Beeper Mini isn’t going to be fixed by Beeper any longer, it could be kept alive by indie developers. Beeper fully open-sourced the code, meaning that individuals could work to fix issues that might arise on their own, continuing the development of Beeper Mini.