What you need to know
- Beeper said it is looking into reports that iMessage is unavailable on Beeper Mini and Cloud as of Wednesday night.
- The development came after Apple vowed to continue fighting against Beeper’s unauthorized access to iMessage.
- It’s unclear how long Beeper can survive with its one-step forward, two-steps-back approach to reverse-engineering iMessage.
Beeper, the iMessage client that figured out how to reverse-engineer iMessage, is down once again. The company said it was “investigating reports that some users cannot receive iMessages on Beeper Mini and Beeper Cloud” in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday night. Though it has not been confirmed, it would appear that Apple might be making good on its promise to continue fighting Beeper’s unauthorized access to iMessage.
Beeper Mini was able to run a fully tokenized iMessage client on Android, which was a breakthrough for the iMessage on Android movement. It worked without needing an Apple ID, and an Android phone number was used for official activation. But that only lasted a mere three days before it was promptly crushed by Apple.
Beeper pledged to continue working on iMessage for Android, eventually restoring it in a limited capacity on Monday. While the company managed to get iMessage working with an Apple ID, phone number activation no longer worked.
Beeper decided to hold off on charging its original $2 monthly subscription until phone number activation worked. That’s good for customers, but it also means that Beeper’s one-step forward, two-step-back approach to reverse-engineering iMessage isn’t generating any revenue.
Although it’s still unclear if the problems are the result of Apple attempting to block access again, Beeper Mini going down once again seemed all but inevitable. In a rare move, Apple publicly stated its intent to squash any attempt by Beeper to access its iMessage platform.
“We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage,” the company said in a statement to The Verge. “These techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks. We will continue to make updates in the future to protect our users.”
Beeper unsurprisingly had a different view of what was going on.
“We stand behind what we’ve built. Beeper Mini [keeps] your messages private, and boosts security compared to unencrypted SMS,” Beeper said in a post on X. “For anyone who claims otherwise, we’d be happy to give our entire source code to mutually agreed upon third party to evaluate the security of our app.”
Regardless of which company’s opinion you side with, there looks to be a clear takeaway here. With the latest developments, Apple has shown it intends to fight unauthorized access to iMessage with all of its trillion-dollar might. It’s hard to see a scenario where a company like Beeper, minuscule by comparison, comes out on top.