A 16-year-old developer has devised a solution allowing iPhone users wanting to switch to the Android platform to be able and continue using Apple’s popular iMessage application on Google’s mobile OS. The app, called weMessage, wasn’t developed based on reverse engineering and doesn’t seem to break any EULAs, which means that technically it should not be shut down by Apple in the future. However, there is a catch in the fact that in order to use the weMessage service, users are required to own a MacOS computer.
The platform is comprised of two main components, specifically the weMessage app for Android, and the weServer application which needs to be installed on a Mac computer. The server application taps into iMessage on MacOS and acts as a bridge between the Mac and Android smartphone. Simply put, messages sent to iMessage are relayed from the computer to the weMessage Android application over a secure connection, with messages being encrypted using AES cryptography. The app supports all of the major features available in iMessage, including the ability to send direct and/or group messages including attachments, add and manage group chats, as well as block contacts or add custom contact images. It also supports notifications thought Google’s Firebase platform, though this option and many others can be disabled from the weServer application.
There have been numerous third-party attempts in the past to bring the functionality of iMessage onto the Android platform, but most of these solutions relied on reverse engineering, and none of them have been permanent, with either Google or Apple shutting them down. In contrast, weMessage works by employing Apple’s developer tools and relies on Accessibility features to send messages. Although there’s no way to be certain of whether Apple will shut down the service eventually, the developer claims that the Android and weServer applications should still work in the event of a takedown because the messages are simply relayed through the MacOS computer. The developer reckons that in the worst case scenario, users may no longer be able to use notifications and crash reporting. Although weMessage debuted on the Google Play Store alongside a price tag of $2.99, the application has been made available for free shortly after due to these uncertainties regarding the service's availability in the future.