Although iMessage is not available for Android phones and tablets, it hasn’t stopped developers from coming up with workarounds. A new app called AirMessage allows users to use their Mac as a server to use iMessages on Android. The best thing about this workaround is that users don’t have to login to any third-party service and the connection is directly established between their Mac and Android device. The difficult thing is setting up the whole system which includes a server, port forwarding, dynamic DNS and managing an always-on Mac.
iMessage has been attempted before on Android through apps like wemessageapp.com so this is not the first time. It is also not clear if AirMessage will be available for long since such apps get cease and desist letters very quickly from Apple. After all, iMessage is one of the best features of iOS and Mac and it does not really have much competition out there when you compare its features with others.
AirMessage lets you send and receive attachments, read receipts, stickers and even message effects. Users can also participate in group conversations. The design also looks a lot like how iMessage would officially look like on Android. All these features give AirMessage feature parity with the original iMessage app on iOS, without the ability to download and install messaging apps.
This is how AirMessage works:
- Download and install the server on your Mac and create a password.
- Allow permissions from Settings to the server.
- Disable auto-sleep on your Mac as it has to always stay on for AirMessage to work. You can install apps like Caffeine that prevent your Mac form going to sleep, even if you close the lid on your portable Mac.
- Setup networking connectivity by figuring out your IP address, configuring port forwarding on your router and using a dynamic DNS service to automatically handle IP address changes. If you have a static IP address, you will not need the dynamic DNS service.
- Final step: download and install AirMessage app on your Android phone and connect using your server address and password.
Here is a video tutorial by AirMessage:
The steps seem daunting, don’t they? The process is not easy, specially for users who have advanced technical knowledge. If iMessage and its blue bubbles are so important to you, it is better to get an iPhone. Considering that it requires a Mac to work and you don’t get features like Continuity and Hand-off, the real deal might serve you better.
Otherwise, you can give AirMessage a try to get iMessage on your Android smartphone. Your mileage may vary.