If you’re an Android user with friends or family on iPhones, you’re probably well aware of the “blue bubble, green bubble” frustration that comes from the incompatibility between Apple’s iMessage and Android’s SMS/MMS/RCS messaging. It is a deeply-entrenched issue that primarily persists in the US; but companies like Beeper are stepping up to offer actual solutions. In the past week or so, I finally got my invitation to try out Beeper’s iMessage claims for myself, and, much like you’d expect, I immediately wanted to see if it would work on my Chromebook. And it 100% does!
Before diving into seeing it up and running on a Chromebook, let me remind you what Beeper is. It’s a platform that combines multiple messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Discord, Google RCS chat, and even iMessage into a single app. It’s been around on a technical level for over two years at this point, but now that more and more invites are going out, a full release shouldn’t be too far down the road.
The main draw of Beeper, however, is its ability to integrate iMessage into its multi-platform messaging hub. While Android and Chrome OS users may not be looking to switch their primary messaging service to iMessage (I know I’m not), Beeper offers the ability to use iMessage when needed, and I really like that.
For Chrome OS, that means you’ll need to enable Linux apps on your device. You could use a Windows machine to do the initial setup if you want, but it’s nice to be able to take care of all the admin stuff right from your Chrombook. Once you have Linux apps enabled (search for “Terminal” in your app launcher and you’ll get to the setup quickly), you simply have to open a new terminal and copy/paste the code given by Beeper to install and run the desktop client. Once you’ve got it up and running, you get to choose which messaging services you want to incorporate into Beeper and you’re off and running. It was a very simple process.
But Wait, Is It Secure?
There is a caveat we need to talk about with Beeper’s iMessage integration. To use the service, your iCloud account needs to be logged in on an Apple device somewhere in Beeper’s server setup. Beeper assures customers that all data is end-to-end encrypted, but you have to decide whether you’re comfortable with your account being signed into an Apple device on a server outside of your control. Essentially, you have to trust Beeper like you would trust WhatsApp, Facebook, or any other messaging service with your data, so just know that going in.
It all works like you’d hope it would
In trying it all out, I found that iMessage on Beeper works seamlessly once you have the Apple account requirements sorted. In the video, I even ran a few tests with a friend who uses an iPhone. The iMessages sent through Beeper appeared as blue bubbles, confirming that they were being sent as genuine iMessages and not as SMS texts. I also tested sending high-resolution images back and forth and they appeared sharp, proving that Beeper can successfully handle media as well as text. Overall, it was a win!
Here’s what you need to know: Beeper does what it says, bringing iMessage functionality to Android and Chrome OS devices. And if you are OK with the caveats around security and Apple account requirements, you can now participate in the Blue Bubble chat threads when you need to. For those who regularly interact with iPhone users and are tired of hearing about being the Green Bubble, Beeper provides a solution that works very well. While it doesn’t solve the larger issue of messaging incompatibility between Android and iPhones that frankly needs to just be done away with, it does offer a viable workaround for those who need it.