Here is how you can use Apple’s iMessage on Android smartphones/tablets with PieMessage
Apple is known to keep majority of its apps and services locked away in its own ecosystem. For example, one can enjoy Google and Microsoft on an iOS. iMessage service is one of the many Apple’s own messaging app, which is clean, fast, intuitive, and surprisingly powerful. Since, it is an Apple-only service, means that Android smartphone users cannot use this app.
However, now there is a new open source project to get iMessage up and running on your Android smartphones. It isn’t easy, and it’s only partially functional at present. This is not an official application from Apple, so don’t get too excited just yet.
Dubbed as PieMessage, it enables cross-platform iMessage support that allows Android users to communicate using Apple’s iPhone messaging platform.
The PieMessage project was put together by GitHub user Eric Chee, the app developer, and to complete it you’ll need a Mac and an Android phone. In other words, PieMessage needs an OS X client as a server to route messages to an Android device, enabling iMessage support on Android devices. So, it’s the Mac that handles the entire workload.
“Basically, what the Android client does is send the text to a MacBook,” Chee said. “And uses the Mac’s Messages app to send off the notification. When the Mac detects an incoming message, it will pass it back to the Android. So yes, there is both software you need to run on a Mac and Android. I have an old 2007 MacBook that is just always on connected at home that serves as its client…”
So, how does it work? PieMessage uses an AppleScript to capture iMessages as they arrive on your Mac system, after which a Java app takes those messages from the AppleScript. Further, the Java app forwards them to a custom messaging app on an Android phone to display and respond to those iMessages.
Chee has also presented a proof-of-concept video demonstration that shows the PieMessage app in work.
However, there are some limitations to PieMessage. Your Mac needs to be on and awake if you want the system to work — as soon as you turn it off, you will no longer get iMessages on your phone. This is because PieMessage works by routing iMessages from your Mac to your Android phone as they arrive.
Also currently, the system doesn’t work with photos, sending group messages (you can receive them), or the ability to see that someone is typing. While that last one isn’t in the works just yet, Chee says that photos and group messages should arrive sometime soon in the form of an update.
The source code is currently available on GitHub and is expected to be further developed into a standalone app in the near future. Since, the system is open source, it is possible for developers to build apps that will allow Android users (and other platforms) to access iMessage using their own Macs as a server.
You can get the PieMessage source code on GitHub.