iMessage is an incredibly popular messaging service that, like WhatsApp, allows users to exchange text, voice, photos, videos, and more, but Android users cannot take advantage of it. … officially, anyway.
Why ? Simply because Apple’s email service runs on a special end-to-end encrypted system using its own dedicated servers. As a result, the messaging network is only accessible to devices that can decrypt messages.
So it’s no surprise that Apple doesn’t offer iMessage for Android users. She wants the effects and features to be exclusive to those who invest in an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
That said, there is a way to get around this end-to-end encryption, but it will require a Mac and the AirMessage app. We explain below how to go about it and enjoy iMessage on your Android.
Using iMessage from Android
While you can’t just download iMessage on your Android and send messages to your iOS friends, there are plenty of workaround apps out there.
However, all of them require a Mac to be used, since macOS works as an intermediary between your Android and the encrypted servers that Apple uses for iMessage. This means that your messages are sent through the Android app, which then relays the message to iMessage on your Mac and sends it to the recipient, and vice-versa.
The only catch is that your Mac must be on and connected to the Internet in order to use the service.
Here we are using AirMessage because we have found it to be one of the easiest ways to access iMessage on your Android, but there are many more possibilities online.
What you will need:
- A Mac.
- An Android smartphone running Android 6 or later.
- The AirMessage app.
Set up AirMessage on your Mac
- Download AirMessage for your Mac.
- Open AirMessage. If you have a security issue while trying to install an app from an unidentified developer, go to System Preferences → security and confidentiality and click on Open anyway.
- Accept the access prompts and you will see a welcome message appear on the screen, directing you to the icon, in the menu where the application is located.
- Click on Open preferences and change the default password to one of your choice.
- Open System Preferences → Security and confidentiality → tab Confidentiality and select Accessibility in the list on the left.
- Click on the padlock at the bottom left to unlock your Settings menu. You may be asked to enter the password you use to sign in to your Mac for security reasons.
- Click on + and head to Applications and double click on AirMessage.
If you’re using macOS Mojave or later, select Full disk access in the left menu, and repeat step 7.
As the software acts as a server, you will need to disable your Mac’s sleep settings to ensure that it is always on and ready to send / receive messages. To do this, go to System Preferences → Energy saver and change the computer from standby to Never.
Then go to System Preferences → Network and write down your IP adress, you will need it later.
Now that your Mac is ready to send email messages, it’s time to set up your Android smartphone.
Connect your Android to the AirMessage app
Now you need to connect your Android to AirMessage.
- Go to the Google Play Store and install AirMessage.
- Open the app.
- Enter your Mac’s local IP address and the password you created earlier.
- Select Connect.
- Press on Download Message History if you want to download your iMessage chats. Otherwise, press Skip (Ignore).
If everything went as planned, then you should see all of the iMessage threads on your Mac. Check that you can send a text message to an iPhone. If the bubble is blue, then it is an iMessage.
You will receive notifications of incoming messages and you will be able to send photos and videos, just like on an iPhone, but some of the more advanced functions will not be available to you.
Configure port forwarding to complete your experience
This last section is optional, but it’s important if you want to continue using iMessage while you’re on the go since it will only work if you’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac.
To do this, you will need to configure port forwarding on your router, configuring your network to allow connections from the outside (i.e. your phone).
The problem is that the port forwarding configuration is different for almost every router on the market, which means there isn’t a single set of instructions to follow.
There are instructions on the AirMessage website, but this requires a Google search for each router.
Once you’ve set up port forwarding, you should be able to access iMessage on your Android from anywhere, and not just when you’re at home.