ContentsWhy Can’t I Use iMessage on My Android Phone?iMessage Android App #1: BeeperiMessage Android App #2: AirMessageiMessage Android App #3: BlueBubblesiMessage Android App #4: SunbirdiMessage Android App #5: weMessageWhich Apps to Use?Should You Use These Apps?What Can You Use Besides iMessage?Stick with SMS & MMS?
Ah, the ever-raging blue bubble vs. green bubble issue.
The “blue bubble,” of course, represents the iPhone and specifically iMessage (the messaging service available for Mac product users that sends messages as a blue bubble).
The “green bubble,” on the other hand, represents Android. Messages sent from Android users will show up with a green bubble on iPhones.
iMessage is one of the major perks of using iPhones and Apple products, but some Android users wonder… is there a way to use iMessage on an Android device?
In other words, is there an iMessage Android app?
The short answer is… not really. But kind of.
Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through everything here in this article.
iMessage has a lot of nice perks that make it beloved by users.
Some of these include:
The list could go on.
So why can't you use this helpful messaging service on your Android phone?
There’s one simple reason: Apple didn’t make it for Android, so it’s not supported.
Android users do have the option to use RCS (a similar type of messaging to iMessage), but RCS messages aren’t supported on Apple devices. And since almost half of smartphone users in the United States have an iPhone, odds are that a good number of the people you’re texting don’t have RCS supported on their phones. Which means that if you send them an RCS, it will likely just come through as a regular text message.
So if Android users want to be able to use iMessage, they currently need to either purchase an Apple product (Mac, iPad, or iPhone), or they can try one of the third-party apps and workarounds mentioned below.
Note that none of the below options are a true replacement for iMessage. You’ll likely have issues with all of them and some may be a bit complicated to set up. It would be recommended to get an iPhone or other Apple product in order to really use iMessage.
One app that may allow you to use iMessage on an Android is the “all-in-one” messaging app Beeper.
The idea behind Beeper is that you can handle all of your messaging apps from a single place. (So no more switching between your social media messages, chat apps, and text messages.)
iMessage is one of the messaging apps supported by Beeper, so you’re able to download the app on your Android device and use iMessage.
This may be the easiest and best way currently to use iMessage on an Android device. However, one reviewer notes that there are a few missing features that you’re not able to take advantage of when you do it this way, such as read receipts and—significantly—message encryption. (Also, he mentions that your messages come through to iPhones as a gray bubble rather than blue… Not that it matters...)
Here’s a demo of Beeper:
AirMessage is an app specifically designed to help people without iPhones access iMessage.
The app is simple to download from the Google Play store and has a web version you can use as well.
However, the actual setup is slightly complicated for those who aren’t technical, and a computer with a Mac operating system is required to use as a server in order for it to actually work. Thus, it becomes very convoluted to try to use it if you have a PC.
It has been reported as well that not all iMessage features are available through the app as well.
Here’s a walkthrough of how to set it up:
An app along a similar vein as AirMessage is BlueBubbles.
Like AirMessage, you’ll need to use a computer with a Mac operating system to use as a server for the app to function, so it’s not recommended to use this app if you have a PC.
Once you have the server installed per the instructions on the BlueBubbles site, you’re able to easily download the app for Android or Windows.
Reviewers seem to find the setup process complicated but broadly seem to be happy with the interface.
Here’s a walkthrough of setup and a brief demo of how it works:
An app currently in the works to compete with Beeper is Sunbird.
Although not fully accessible to the public, you are able to join the waitlist to get early access for testing.
Like Beeper and unlike AirMessage and BlueBubbles, it doesn’t require any type of device with a macOS in order to function.
Early reports have been mixed. However, some of the criticism has been in regards to the handling of the rollout rather than the actual product itself, so it’s possible that Sunbird may prove to be a worthy competitor to Beeper.
If nothing else, it shows that “iMessage on Android” solutions are possible and gives users another option to choose from.
Here’s a demo where someone shows how it works:
Yet one more app along the lines of AirMessage and BlueBubbles is weMessage.
Similar to those other two apps, you’ll need to have a computer with macOS to use as a server in order for the service to work in regards to iMessage.
Once you have the server set up, you can download the app for Android to start using it.
The app has quite a few negative reviews, with comments about long setup and a buggy interface, but it remains yet another alternative for Android users looking to use iMessage.
Here’s a demo where someone walks through the app:
The bottom line is that there’s no perfect solution for Android users to take advantage of iMessage—although there are options.
Beeper or the upcoming Sendbird seem to be the simplest solutions. These two options don’t require you to have a computer with the Mac operating system and seem easier to set up and get going.
Most of the other options available to you will involve using a Mac device as a server. This means you’ll need a computer that you’re able to use in this way.
If you’d prefer to go that route and if you’re able to set up your computer correctly, AirMessage seems to be the way to go.
(Keep in mind that if you use one of these solutions in order to take advantage of iMessage on your iPhone, you won’t be able to fully take advantage of the message encryption inherent with iMessage. iMessage texts are encrypted and private, but using one of these external apps means getting a third party involved, so the encryption benefits are lost.)
The bottom line is that although there are options for you to use iMessage on an Android app, all of these options are essentially workarounds.
As workarounds, they’re likely to have complications. Even if you’re able to set them up, you’ll probably run into bugs and inconveniences along the way. (And your messages will not be encrypted.)
Our recommendation for most users is to not rely on these apps. If you want to use iMessage, it’s probably best to have an Apple device. Although not a perfect solution, getting an iPhone, Macbook, or iPad (even an old one) will allow you to engage in iMessage.
Since iMessage is incompatible with Android and the workarounds are a bit wonky, if you want to use the benefits of iMessage when messaging Apple users from an Android device, you may want to consider alternative messaging apps.
You’re probably aware that Messenger is the messaging app associated with Facebook, and it offers many of the same features as iMessage. This messaging app is widely used (by some reports it has over 1 billion users), so the odds are high that you’ll be able to reach many of your Apple-using contacts.
The main con is that not as many people use it as “regular” texting—and if they do use it, they may not check it as often.
Another popular messaging app you could try is WhatsApp. Although WhatsApp has up to 2 billion users worldwide (twice as many as Messenger), if you only take into account the US, it actually has less than half of the users as Messenger.
Again, a con of using WhatsApp is that it’s not used by as many people as “regular” texting, particularly in the United States.
Have you ever thought about using an actual SMS platform to help you organize and manage your text messages? This is especially helpful if you’re sending texts to a lot of people—such as for a business.
SMS platforms like Mobile Text Alerts allow you to manage all of your text blasts and conversations from an online dashboard or mobile app, without having to use your own personal number. Though it doesn’t offer the same benefits as iMessage, it’s still an option to consider.
The reality is that SMS and MMS, limited though they may be, remain the only universal messaging option in today’s climate. Although apps like iMessage and Messenger have spoiled us by revealing the potential for messaging, there just isn’t a universal way to apply the features that these types of messaging apps offer.
For now, it may be best not to worry too much about it and simply stick with good ol’ reliable SMS and MMS when texting people on different operating systems.
Something better may come along eventually. But for now SMS and MMS remain king.
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