Beeper brings iMessage to Android and Windows through a workaround

Beeper is a new app that supports 15 different chat services, including iMessage, on Android, Windows, and Linux. The app features a unified inbox, Slack-like keyboard shortcuts for quick actions.

Beeper, previously known as Novachat, has been created by Pebble smartwatch co-founder Eric Migicovsky and is based on Matrix, an open-source federated messaging protocol. The various bridges that Beeper uses to connect to the chat networks are open source and the code is available for anyone to see and re-use.

Beeper iMessage Android Windows

Beeper supports 15 chat services, including iMessage on Android, Linux, and Windows

Thanks to its open-source foundations, Beeper (the client app itself is not open-source) is also extendable and developers can build their own plugins and add-ons for it. Users can even opt to self-host Beeper, instead of paying the $10 per month subscription fee.

Here are all the chat services that Beeper supports:

  1. Whatsapp
  2. Facebook Messenger
  3. iMessage
  4. Android Messages (SMS)
  5. Telegram
  6. Twitter
  7. Slack
  8. Hangouts
  9. Instagram
  10. Skype
  11. IRC
  12. Matrix
  13. Discord
  14. Signal
  15. Beeper network

Regarding the support for iMessage, it is not as straight forward to use as other services. Since the app is limited to only Apple devices, there is a workaround required which requires either an always-on Mac connected to the Internet, on which the Beeper app is installed as a bridge, or a jailbroken iPhone. As per the website:

This was a tough one to figure out! Beeper has two ways of enabling Android, Windows and Linux users to use iMessage: we send each user a Jailbroken iPhone with the Beeper app installed which bridges to iMessage, or if they have a Mac that is always connected to the internet, they can install the Beeper Mac app which acts as a bridge. This is not a joke, it really works!

It is unclear if the iPhone mentioned in the FAQs is part of the $10 per month subscription or not.

Self-hosting for Beeper can be done in two ways, one requires paying the $10 subscription and installing a script on an amd64 or 4GB Raspberry Pi server to run bridges locally. The other method, which does not require paying any subscription fee, includes self-hosting the full stack of Matrix and bridges using Ansible and Docker.

Some of the features in Beeper such as instant search, reminders, filters, and archiving are really powerful and could be enough for most users to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Beeper is available on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux via Element. Registration is via request only for now, and from the looks of it, the list of interested users is already very long.

We will cover this in further detail once we are able to sign up for the service.

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