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Apple confirms it took down Beeper Mini to 'protect its users'

Beeper says it's still working to fix the issue and hopes to share good news soon.

Published onDecember 10, 2023

Beeper App Sign In Screen
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
  • Apple has blocked Beeper Mini for security reasons.
  • The iMessage maker says apps that exploit fake credentials to gain access to iMessage pose significant risks to user security and privacy.
  • Beeper is still hopeful its iMessage for Android service will be back up and running soon.

Apple has confirmed it’s behind the Beeper Mini outage. The iMessage app for Android has been blocked by Apple for security reasons.

Beeper Mini went down on Friday, with the company citing server problems. However, over the weekend, Apple issued a statement about how it has taken steps to block apps that exploit fake credentials to gain access to iMessage. You can read Apple’s complete statement (via The Verge) below.

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 was announced on December 5 as an iMessage app for Android that doesn’t require users to sign in with an Apple ID or run iMessage on a server. It connects directly to Apple servers. There is no Mac server relay, like other apps such as Sunbird. However, to do so, the app had to convince Apple’s server that the message was coming from an Apple device. Since this obviously wasn’t the case while sending messages from an Android phone, Beeper used “fake credentials,” the ones Apple refers to in its statement.

Meanwhile, Beeper’s latest message to its users on X (formerly Twitter) reads as follows:

Work continues to fix the issue causing the Beeper Mini outage. We know how hard this has been for those who loved using Beeper Mini, and we’re extremely sorry for the inconvenience. We are feeling good, though, and hope to have good news to share soon.

The company says it stands behind what it has built and is ready to give its entire source code to mutually agreed upon third parties to evaluate the security of Beeper Mini.

It’s unclear if Apple will unblock Beeper Mini to enable iMessage on Android once again. There are many voices that are calling for Apple to drop its staunch stance and open up iMessage for interoperability. US Senator Elizabeth Warren also came out in Beeper’s support on X. “Green bubble texts are less secure. So why would Apple block a new app allowing Android users to chat with iPhone users on iMessage? Big Tech executives are protecting profits by squashing competitors. Chatting between different platforms should be easy and secure,” she said.

Will Apple give in to the pressure, just like it did by greenlighting RCS on iMessage? It seems unlikely. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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