iMessage is Apple’s proprietary messaging system that works across Macs, iPhones, and iPads. This fact leaves out the possibility of iMessage for Android through the Google Play Store or side-loading it directly on your device without Apple’s help. Apple sells its devices at a premium, making a large percentage of its profits from those hardware purchases. It derives most of its income for services today by placing Google as the default search engine on its devices, but it also takes 30% of every app sale and in-app purchase. Unless Apple intends to offer iMessage at a cost to Android users to grow services revenue, it’s not likely that Apple will ever release iMessage on Android through the Google Play Store, but keep reading as we have some nice workarounds and alternatives. Tech writers have speculated for years if Apple will ever release their actual iMessage app on Android.

There have been various hacks over the years to “trick” a Mac into relaying a message to an Android device, but these workarounds are scalable and are likely to break in the future. While they could change their mind in the future, Apple isn’t likely to release iMessage for Android. If you have an Apple ID, you are already signed up The iMessage for Android Ultimate Workaround.

What if we said that Spike checked all those boxes and is an iMessage for Android app alternative? Spike Groups is the perfect way to keep the project organized with messaging, Notes, file sharing, and real-time collaboration. Since Spike works with your existing email account, no one has to sign up for a new service or learn a complicated messenger program. Anyone with an email address can join the group and chat, hold live video meetings, send voice messages, and more.

All your friends and colleagues already use it Spike checks all the boxes as an iMessage replacement for Android. A new chat app is on the market that claims to make iMessage work on Android. Another significant benefit of Spike Groups that makes it an excellent iMessage for Android alternative is Send Later. Do you ever have a time when you want to send a message to a group, but you know most people are still asleep, so you don’t want to wake them up? Not officially, but there are some “hacks” to relay your messages from a Mac, but do that isn’t supported by Apple. Apple is a hardware company, and they’d rather people buy an iPhone or Mac than use their free messenger service.

How to Get iMessage on Android

How to Get iMessage on Android

Simply put, you can’t officially use iMessage on Android because Apple’s messaging service runs on a special end-to-end encrypted system using its own dedicated servers. It should come as no surprise that Apple, the same company that bought out Dark Sky and shuttered the Android counterpart, doesn’t offer an iMessage app for Android users - it wants the cool effects and features to be exclusive to those that invest in an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

We outline AirMessage here, as we’ve found it to be one of the simpler ways to access iMessage on your Android, but there are plenty of alternatives available online. Accept access prompts and you’ll see a welcome message appear on-screen, pointing you towards the icon in the menu bar where the app lives.

Click the lock icon in the bottom-left to unlock your Settings menu - you may be prompted to enter the password you use to log into your Mac for security purposes. If running macOS Mojave or later, select Full Disk Access in the left-hand menu and repeat step 7. As the software acts as a server, you’ll need to disable your Mac’s sleep settings to make sure it’s always on and ready to send/receive messages. Now that your Mac is ready to pass along iMessage texts, it’s time to set up your Android smartphone. This last section is optional, but it’s important if you want to continue using iMessage when you’re out and about as initially, it’ll only work when connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac.

You can get iMessage on an Android, but you'll need a Mac

You can get iMessage on an Android, but you'll need a Mac

To use iMessage on an Android, you'll need to download the AirMessage app and link it to your Mac. iMessages are just like regular texts, but they get sent over the internet and have a distinctive blue color.

There are a massive amount of users who get rid of their Android phones specifically because they can't use iMessage. Create an Apple ID on the official website and link it to your phone number. Log into your Apple ID in your Mac's System Preferences app by clicking Sign In in the top-right corner.

Once you're logged in, head to the Apple ID menu and click Name, Phone, Email in the left sidebar. Important: In order to work, AirMessage will ask for full access to your computer's hard disk and files. We haven't found anything shady about AirMessage, but granting that sort of access to any app is a risk.

Open System Preferences and then click Energy Saver or Battery to change these settings. Tap the blue chatting icon in the bottom-right corner of the app and type in a number that you want to send an iMessage to.

Now you can send and receive iMessages straight from your Android, as long as both it and your Mac are on and connected to the internet. A text message sent to an AirMessage address will show up blue — it'll be an iMessage. Note: There's a chance that messages you send from AirMessage will be listed as coming from your email address instead of your phone number.

Apple says iMessage on Android 'will hurt us more than help us

Apple says iMessage on Android 'will hurt us more than help us

Apple knows that iMessage’s blue bubbles are a big barrier to people switching to Android, which is why the service has never appeared on Google’s mobile operating system. That’s according to depositions and emails from Apple employees, including some high-ranking executives, revealed in a court filing from Epic Games as part of its legal dispute with the iPhone manufacturer.

iMessage envy? Psh. Google's fancy Chat feature will soon be the

iMessage envy? Psh. Google's fancy Chat feature will soon be the

Google is fighting back against Apple rival iMessage envy by making its own Messages app a lot more fun. divide Apple encourages by giving other iMessage users their own colorful conversation bubble. It also mashes together emojis in novel ways and puts them front and center to liven up conversations.

Just follow the prompts and don't worry, you won't lose your conversation history by switching. The service is globally available, so it shouldn't matter which carrier you use or what country you live in, as long as you have the Messages app installed and are using it, you'll have access to Chat. You can either wait for a prompt in the Messages app asking if you want to see when your friends are typing -- a prompt that has shown up almost instantly for me on the last few Android phones I have set up, or you can go into the Settings section of Messages select Chat features and slide the switch next to Enable chat features to the On position. If you run into issues with sending messages, you can also view the current status of your phone's connection to the Chat service in the settings section of the app. Another way to quickly identify the type of messages you're sending is by the color of the text bubble. Just long-press on a message until a bubble shows up, presenting you with a few different options, including like, love, laughter or anger.

You'll see a loading circle on the image as it's uploaded and sent, but otherwise the process looks and works the same as sending a text message. If you forget to turn it off before moving your SIM card to a new phone, chat features could continue to work for up to eight days. I suggest waiting a few minutes after turning it off to let Google's servers process the request, and ensure your number doesn't get stuck in limbo.

Switch texting from iMessage to Messages

Make sure to turn iMessage off before you remove the SIM card from your iPhone. If you no longer have your old iPhone or already removed the SIM card, request that Apple deregister your phone number with iMessage.

What's the Difference Between iMessage vs SMS?

What's the Difference Between iMessage vs SMS?

This isn’t for looks, it’s how Apple indicates you’re sending an SMS text message (green) or an iMessage (blue). Back then, sending SMS messages was inconvenient—it required the painstaking task of inputting letters on a numeric keyboard. Then, smartphones came along with their onscreen keyboards, and texting quickly became a primary form of communication.

The combination meant we could more easily send pictures, videos, and other data in our text messages, making them even more useful. If you’re interested in unlimited texting, check out the latest Xfinity Mobile plans. iMessage isn’t enabled by default on an iPhone, but when you first set up the phone, you have the option to switch it on. This is useful if you want to let your children “text” friends and family using an iPad, iPod, or old iPhone without signing up for a cellular data plan. Just keep in mind that SMS messaging is becoming an antiquated service, which may be obsolete in a few short years as cellular carriers focus on improving data connectivity. There are already so many ways we can communicate using our phones, including messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Click here to find a mobile plan with data and messaging options that work for you.

iMessage on Android: How Apple could finally make it happen

iMessage on Android: How Apple could finally make it happen

Bringing the chat service to other platforms would both cement Apple’s position as a privacy leader and relieve some antitrust pressure on the company. It’s likely that other iOS 15-specific features, such as Voice Isolation for reducing background noise and Spatial Audio for placing speakers in a 3D space, won’t be available through the web app either. The implicit message is while Android and Windows users won’t be left out of FaceTime calls, you’ll still need an Apple device for the best possible experience.

In those discussions, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller argued against bringing iMessage to Android because it would remove an obstacle to people using the platform instead of iOS. Epic argued that those kinds of barriers effectively keep people from switching platforms, even when they really want an Android phone on which to play Fortnite.

As my colleague Michael Grothaus argued a couple of years ago, an Android version could also represent a new revenue opportunity for Apple. The company could charge a subscription fee for access, or it could further entice people to join its ecosystem by bundling iMessage with other services such as Apple Music, which is available on Android already.

It offers more privacy protections than Android by making apps get opt-in permission to track you—though Google is in the process of playing catch-up—and every year it layers on new benefits of using multiple Apple products in tandem. (The most impressive example from WWDC: Universal Control, which lets you use a single pointing device and keyboard across multiple iPads and Macs at the same time.).

iMessage may have been a useful form of lock-in a decade ago, when iOS and Android were playing leapfrog over basic features such as multitasking and notification support, but times have changed.

How to (Maybe) Use iMessage on an Android Phone

How to (Maybe) Use iMessage on an Android Phone

My wife wanted to text me my digital ticket, which is a very normal task that should not have presented any difficulty. There is not really anything important that iMessage does that competing services like WhatsApp don’t do, but with iPhones being the most popular phone in many friend groups, including mine, group chats are often inadvertently iMessage chats.

SMS has character limits; links don’t unfurl; images and videos are severely downgraded in quality; forget about “liking” individual messages. Sometimes the Android user just won’t get the texts at all, or will only get some of them, or messages will be repeated or broken in some weird way.

But despite all of that, when my last phone died, I considered going with an iPhone that I didn’t like as much as the Pixel 3A simply because I did not want to be left out of or be responsible for technologically stunting conversations with my friends. iMessage works by sending messages or images or whatever to a centralized Apple server over an internet connection.

If someone texts you via iMessage, the server takes that message received on your Mac and forwards it along to the AirMessage app on your Android phone. Letting a program access a user’s messages is considered such an egregious privacy violation that your Mac will make you repeatedly confirm that you want to do this.

Also, this entire system only works if you are an Android user who happens to have a Mac computer that you can leave on 24 hours a day, forever. Sometimes it’ll break for no clear reason; shifting between your home Wi-Fi network and your LTE connection will occasionally prove too much for the system to handle.

The text will thus end up spinning slowly in another dimension, officially delivered but inaccessible and unknown to you. You will not see this text; you will not even know it has been sent, unless you can restart your whole system or access some actual Apple product registered to you.

There is, by default, a two-second delay in sending AirMessages, so rapid-fire chats suffer from rhythm issues. I can see Animojis and web links unfurl; I can see hearts and thumbs-up reactions (though I can’t contribute them); I can send high-quality images and videos.

But I like it both because it does work, technically, and because it is a truly deranged hack that requires constant fiddling and results often in frustration. It’s called Rich Communication Services, or RCS, and it’ll send messages over the internet rather than through a cell connection. That means RCS messages are able to contain high-quality images and videos, include bonuses like hearts and thumbs-ups, and convey when your pal is typing.

It’s possible that once RCS is the standard (the timetable is unclear), my texts and group chats with iPhone-owning friends will be functional enough that I won’t need to bother with AirMessage.

iMessage Features to Avoid with Your Green Bubble Android Buddies

iMessage Features to Avoid with Your Green Bubble Android Buddies

There are a lot of cool things you can do in iMessage other than just sending text messages to your friends and family, but for your compatriots that use Android, you’ll want to skip these specific iMessage features, since they don’t work on Google’s mobile OS. I’ll cover both sides of the spectrum so that you know what exactly does and doesn’t work with Android.

Unsurprisingly, a majority of iMessage features either show up kind of funky-looking on the other end or just don’t plain work at all with Android. Your mileage may vary depending on the iMessage apps you frequently use, but I used the ETA iMessage app to send an Android friend my ETA, and while it showed up with a clean preview on my iPhone, it just showed up as a URL on his end. So if you plan on sending a nude pic with Invisible Ink to an Android friend, know that it won’t be censored at all on their end.

You’d think iMessages would send them as a plain image, but it always just gives me the red “Not Delivered” error message every time. URL previews also still work pretty well when you send a link from iPhone to Android.

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