Update 09/11/2023 11:52pm: Apple has released a statement to The Verge regarding its blocking of Beeper Mini. The tech giant says it’s blocking Beeper “to protect” users because it claims the app poses “significant risks to security and privacy.”
Below is Apple’s full statement regarding Beeper Mini:
“At Apple, we build our products and services with industry-leading privacy and security technologies designed to give users control of their data and keep personal information safe. We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage. 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 Mini, an iMessage on Android app that has received significant hype since its launch earlier this week, seems to have been killed off by Apple just days after release.
The platform is currently experiencing an outage that is likely permanent, with Canadian co-founder and Pebble creator Eric Migicovsky stating that “Yes, all data indicates that” Apple is blocking the platform, in an interview with The Verge. Migicovsky went on to say that he believes it’s in Apple’s best interest to allow iPhone and Android users to send encrypted messages to one another.
“If it’s Apple, then I think the biggest question is — if Apple truly cares about the privacy and security of their own iPhone users, why would they try to kill a service that enables iPhones to send encrypted chats to Android users?” said Migicovsky.
Starting on Friday December 8th, sending a message through the Beeper Mini app resulted in an error message saying, “failed to lookup on server: lookup request timed out.”
Investigating reports that sending/receiving is not working in Beeper Mini 🔎
— Beeper (@onbeeper) December 8, 2023
Beeper Mini is a subscription platform that reverse engineers Apple’s messaging protocol, allowing it to work on Android devices. The technology powering that platform stems from a 16-year-old teenager’s work on deconstructing the iMessage protocol.
It’s unclear how Apple blocked the platform so quickly, but it likely relates to the tech giant identifying the spoofing Beeper uses to trick iMessage, making it easy for the company to block a specific subset of users.
Beeper Mini aimed to charge $1.99 USD (roughly $2.71 CAD) following a seven-day trial. Beeper’s original app, which connects several different chat platforms in one location, was recently renamed Beeper Cloud (it uses remote-located Macs to relay iMessages). Beeper Cloud seems to still remain operational.
Beeper Cloud and Mini are apps that need to exist. We have built it. We will keep it working. We will share it widely.
This attitude surprises me, especially from people in the tech world. Why do hard things at all? Why keep working on anything that doesn't work the first time? https://t.co/5JLG721Vss
— Eric Migicovsky (@ericmigi) December 9, 2023
Given the tone of Migicovsky’s recent X posts surrounding Beeper Mini’s future (see above), it remains unclear if he plans to continue working on the platform.
Image credit: Beeper