Ask LH: How Can I Access iMessage On Android?

Hey Lifehacker, I recently decided to buy a Nexus 5 but find I still have to carry an iPhone with me because a lot of work and social banter is conducted within iMessage and its group messaging function. Is there an Android-ready version of iMessage out there? Thanks, Missing Messages

Dear MM,

The short answer: unfortunately, there’s no official iMessage client for Android, and it’s hard to imagine one ever emerging. For Apple, iMessage helps reinforce platform dependency — if you’re regularly using iMessage to communicate with friends and family, then you’re less likely to switch to a cheaper Android device. iMessage doesn’t do anything you can’t replicate with many other apps (WhatsApp or Hangouts or Skype or Facebook or many others), but you also have to persuade all your existing iMessage contacts to use the same app too. Realistically, not all of them well.

Apple controls the iMessage infrastructure, which means it’s difficult for third-party developers to access it. Indeed, because Apple integrates iMessage with text messaging, some users have found that if they switch from iMessage to Android, some conventional text messages never actually get through — a demonstration of how tightly Apple controls the platform.

If you search the Play Store for iMessage, you’ll find many deceptively-named messaging clients which resemble iMessage, but don’t actually work with it. Some third-party developers have built unofficial iMessage clones, but those carry significant security risks, since they require your Apple ID and password and often don’t disclose where your messages will be stored in transit. Even if that doesn’t bother you, functionality can be patchy and there’s no guarantee Apple won’t find a way to block them in the future. They’re absolutely not worth the risk.


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