Apple responds to the Beeper iMessage saga: ‘We took steps to protect our users’

L4sBot@lemmy.worldmod to – 183 points –
Apple responds to the Beeper iMessage saga: ‘We took steps to protect our users’

Apple responds to the Beeper iMessage saga: ‘We took steps to protect our users’::Beeper, like Sunbird and Texts, sought to find a way to bring iMessage to Android users. Its app, Beeper Mini, worked well. But a few days after it launched, Apple took steps to shut it down.


Apple is very good at spinning things like this and anti-repair measures that benefit their bottom line as being in the interests of users. They're so good at it they don't even have to lie; using hardware IDs as part of their anti-spam strategy probably works, and locking down repair probably does reduce device theft.

That's not the world I want to live in though.


Apple definitely does, they just think their users are stupid enough to not know the difference.

think know

Your average Apple (or Android) user is dumber than a bag of rocks when it comes to technology.

Infinite growth.

They must gain more profit at any cost so their personal shares and shareholders are appeased. Once you have saturated the only next step is exploitation. Push moral boundaries for profit.

Perhaps I just don’t understand why there is such an allure for Android users to gain iMessage…

The default OS text messaging apps dominate the messaging space in certain markets - most notably the US. Moreover, Apple has over 50% of the smartphone market in the US.

Sending media from Android to iOS looks like flip-phone trash right now. It’s done via MMS. It’s also not secure.

This will change when Apple starts implementing RCS, but Beeper was a way to start having high quality messaging now.

Sending media from Android to iOS only looks like trash on all carriers except Verizon. You can send high quality TO iOS if the network supports it.

You can never send high quality MMS from an iPhone, even on Verizon.

I've tested this many times. I've sent 50mb video from a Verizon Android to a Verizon iPhone, it receives a 50mb video. Send the same video back from the iPhone to Android, and iPhone butchers the quality.

Bullying from Apple users

No shit everybody in my group uses Apple phones but me and it's a constant bro just get apple and I have to keep reiterating I have no interest in it

Sounds like your friends are assholes then. ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯ I have literally never as an adult had someone go "ew green bubbles." Now, my teenage nephew? The iCult is STRONG with kids.

The iCult is STRONG with kids.

This is the real issue.

It’s probably old people and not kids at this point, but easier to blame young people than the old.

Who the fuck buys things, adults, not kids.

I had women in their 40s express their distaste when I had an Android phone.

Then they're assholes. Seems pretty simple, no?

For someone in their 40s, they're probably stuck in the iPhone=rich/Android=poor dichotomy that Apple curated when the iPhone launched. That makes them vain and materialistic, and thus probably not people you want to be around if it's that important to them.

Now, if you want to get into how Apple has been changing the contrast ratios on the text for blue and green bubbles to make the green messages harder to read, as well as intentionally making the green color unpleasant, there's something there.

They pretty much just both thought that Android was inferior. Kind of unfair from one, who was a photographer, considering I bought a Galaxy thinking it had a better camera than the current iPhones (it didn't, because the processing and camera app were inferior). So she'd be like "I don't know why you bought that thing.". But she was aware it cost as much as an iPhone at the time.

The other gf was a design snob (worked for a major clothing company as a color designer) and just thought that Android was complicated and tacky. Not that she ever really used it.

It’s the same problem with so much of the issues we’re facing in society people don’t know it so it becomes the “other” and therefore bad.

What is your source on the second paragraph?

Don't have the article handy but I believe it was wired that reported on the decreasing contrast between the white text and green background across several iterations of iOS.

Edit: WSJ from 2018. I can't find a way behind the paywall. And Medium. Also from '18

Those articles don’t say what you said though.

I’m asking for a source to your claims

The latter article doesn't cite decreasing contrast ratios, but notes

[Apple's] guidelines state that you should strive for a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 between the text and background colors. Apple’s white text in a blue bubble (iPhone messages) shows a 3.5:1 contrast ratio, while the white text in a green bubble (non-iPhone messages) manages only a 2.1:1 contrast ratio, less than half the recommended minimum contrast

I saw that, but that doesn’t state what the other person is stating.

We can ascertain no intent but they assert one as malice which is why I pressed their claim.

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It's also the fact that there is essentially zero choice when it comes to iPhones. Most people don't care about the tech inside the device, they just want something that works. In the Android world there are so many devices with different specs that it breeds confusion. People buy a cheap Android phone and are like "This thing sucks! Android is terrible!" and go get an iPhone, which works better than the garbage Android device that they used, never trying a top tier Android device like a Pixel or Galaxy.

Back when my mom needed to upgrade her shitty Sharp Aquous Android phone I told her I would pay for it, since she's frugal, she instinctively pointed out the cheapest one at T-Mobile. I told her that it was going to be garbage and she was going to hate it, but she insisted that she wanted that one and didn't care. I bought her a Galaxy S6 instead, which she used for years. When I bought my Pixel 6 Pro, I gave her my Pixel 2 XL, which was still working perfectly 5 years later. She's still using it two years later and has zero complaints.

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Uhhh, I say ewww green bubbles all the time, except the rest of that thought is, “damn, they need signal”

Fuck SMS, and fuck Apple for fucking this up and not doig the right thing.

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Apple finally supporting RCS should end this unless your “friends” are teenagers.

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Because iPhone owners are petty and care about the text bubble color.

Also Apple has intentionally made the Android text bubble less readable, so it has a concrete impact

how is white on green less readable than white on blue? please elaborate.

They've chosen the green so there's a much lower difference in contrast between the white and green when compared to the white and blue

how is white on green less readable than white on blue? please elaborate.

There are some people that send a lot of pictures over text messages, who want it for the upgraded image sharing quality. That's a sane enough reason, at least.

On the bright side, the kind of people who judge other people for their text message bubble color are not the kind of people I want in my life. So at least it's another asshole filter.

Unless you're sending RAW pictures, it shouldn't matter. I've never had a problem with image quality over SMS. Videos are a different story, they're compressed to death and end up looking like watching a video over dial-up in the late 90s.

Especially with RCS coming to iMessage, rich media features will no longer be gatekept by blue bubbles.

Kids will still also bully other kids for having androids even if they downloaded an app to make their bubbles blue.


RCS is not even in the same century as iMessage or other modern messengers. It's still tied to your SIM card. No SIM, no RCS. Why would I want to go back to the 80's for a messenging app, when I already have one in SMS?

You won't get a blue bubble still. It'll still lack encryption. You'll still cause a downgrade of iMessage groups to RCS if one person doesn't have iMessage, AND you still have the same downgrade issue to SMS if one person doesn't have RCS. I don't use iMessage much but I'm sure there are other things that won't be anywhere as good.

Besides RCS sucks. It's no more reliable than SMS (I'd say worse because it often doesn't notify you when a message fails, which for something supposedly modern is a sign of a major flaw - at least SMS has the excuse of being built on top of cell management, as a best-effort mechanism).

Metadata isn't protected like other messengers (Signal, Briar, SimpleX, etc). Even iMessage protects Metadata better.

RCS is something that cell vendors and Google, etc are doing just to prevent losing control over messaging and the data gathering it offers.

I will never use RCS. If people tell me that's all they'll use, oh well.

Most of this isn't true, at least not for Google's implementation of RCS which has e2e encryption, delivery and read receipts, the ability to send messages from the Web app ect. Maybe you need a SIM card, I don't know.

you're right, RCS sucks. But just like WhatsApp or iMessage suck.

i just want to talk to my family on a single non meta owned platform... the only ones to join me on on signal are my dad and my wife, the majority have iphones.

what makes you think that Apple is any better than Meta? their "privacy" marketing? I wouldn't believe a single word of it.

Both iMessage and WhatsApp are trash. At least WhatsApp is cross platform.

Common advice is if its free then you are the product and the apple does not do free. They dont need to sell data to data companies to turn a profit, which meta and google very much do.

That doesn’t say apple is secure or private. Personally i don’t trust any that ain’t self hosted but i do have a personal ranking, worst to best for tech companies

Meta - Amazon - google - Microsoft- apple

I’d like to use it on desktop. I have to use windows for work but I have an iPhone. People send me messages on my phone and I have to email pics to myself or use Google drive, and it’s a pain in the ass. Using a Mac shows how much more convenient it is to just have it in a desktop app.

I think the phone link app in windows does integrate iphone messages now too

Huh, you’re right. That’s interesting. Looks I can’t use it currently though (windows 11 only, and my PC doesn’t have Bluetooth).

I like how signal is multiplatform and actually encrypted.

How about "why not?"

I can use many other messenger apps on multiple OS's.

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They protected their users because if they didn't they wouldn't have users. I have asked plenty of friends why they don't use Android and their response is "it doesn't have iMessage" and that if it did they would switch.

What's so special about iMessage?

Nothing. iPhone users are just happily married to it. I have family/friends that would switch to a cheaper non-iPhone that performs just as well if they could keep using iMessage.

They spelled moat wrong. If Apple followed through with their promise to bring iMessage to other platforms then Beeper wouldn’t need to exist.

This is the best summary I could come up with:

“We took steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage,” Apple senior PR manager Nadine Haija said in a statement.

Beeper says its process works with no compromise to your encryption or privacy; the company’s documentation says that no one can read the contents of your messages other than you.

Apple has repeatedly made clear that it doesn’t want to bring iMessage to Android: “buy your mom an iPhone,” CEO Tim Cook told a questioner at the Code Conference who wanted a better way to message their Android-toting mother, and the company’s executives have debated Android versions in the past but decided it would cannibalize iPhone sales.

But Beeper Mini was exploiting the iMessage protocol directly, which clearly prompted Apple to tighten its security measures.

When I say that maybe Apple’s concern is that iPhone users are suddenly sending their supposedly Apple-only blue-bubble messages via a company — Beeper — they don’t know about, Migicovsky thinks about it for a second.

And Apple has made clear it intends to win that game, no matter how badly you want to send iMessages from an Android phone.

The original article contains 890 words, the summary contains 194 words. Saved 78%. I'm a bot and I'm open source!

Sounds like more people should use Signal

If you can get them to switch, I'd appreciate it.

I had people switching to Signal as their SMS replacement which was compelling for them. Then Signal dropped SMS support and those people reverted.

SMS support isn't really as big of a deal as the Internet blows it up to be. It's a usage pattern primarily in the US whereas the most of the world had comfortably adapted to other messaging options for years (WhatsApp reins king in Latin America, LINE in SE Asia, WeChat in China...)

The whole iMessage / blue bubble envy is real but it's totally overhyped.

SMS support for signal isn't a big deal? Well, it gets people on board. So yes, it's that big of a deal. Without it, I have no way to convince people to switch. I had people switch before, and when signal dropped SMS I lost many of them.

And guess what, I live where that matters, so...

I'd also rather use SMS than any of those privacy violating systems. SMS isn't secure, but those systems are designed to be adversarial. And at least iMessage is far more secure than any of those, even with it's issues.

The blue bubble is an issue because we have so many iPhone users, and they, (like many Android users) , don't want to have multiple messaging apps. I don't agree with them, but I can't make them change their mind. I have probably 5 messenger apps, Signal, Telegram, SimpleX, Briar, an XMPP client or two, Wire, etc. I'll use anything that's reasonably secure to replace SMS, but I'm not going to jump into garbage like WhatsApp

It's really funny hearing you be dismissive of these issues yet ignoring there are at least 3 organizations working on interop, and lots of people signing up to use them. Want to tell them?

If it's not an issue for you, good for you. But then why do you care so much to tell others it's not an issue just because you can't see it?

As I see it, why are you using garbage like WhatsApp or FB junk? They've repeatedly shown they're not trustworthy. Oh, becuase you went along with what everyone else is doing around you, clearly without any consideration for who you're giving your data to.

If it's not an issue for you, good for you. But then why do you care so much to tell others it's not an issue just because you can't see it?

I'm sharing the international perspective. Like I said, it only really matters to people in the US, not much of an issue for the rest of the world. People have iPhones outside of the US and still use third party apps to chat away, life goes on.

It's really funny hearing you be dismissive of these issues yet ignoring there are at least 3 organizations working on interop, and lots of people signing up to use them.

Dismissive of what? All I talked about was SMS support, I didn't mention anything about Interop, which I think is a great thing by the way, thank you very much for asking.

As I see it, why are you using garbage like WhatsApp or FB junk?

Again, what? You are setting up a straw man. Signal is my actual daily driver and I fortunately have been able to convert most family over. Of course, I still have to juggle multiple apps to talk to everyone else. But I'm not losing any sleep over it, and personally I think neither should you.

Or Threema since it’s from my country and we have a good privacy reputation 🇨🇭

And it works really well and allows you to do what you need it to do of course.

The problem with Threema is it costs money.

It's not a lot of money. It's not an unfair price. It's completely reasonable to expect to pay for services rather than using things that spy on you. None of that matters though. I have a hard enough time getting people to use Signal, which is free; anything paid is a complete nonstarter.


Base usage must be free.

And that base needs to compete with everything else.

Maybe a paid tier for media beyond a certain size, say 50mb or 100mb, I don't know. If I had to pay for being able to have 50mb attachments, I'd be willing to work to keep the sizes lower, helping reduce their costs. If I felt I needed the attachment size, say for work, then I could upgrade.

Or maybe a paid tier for self-hosting that can interconnect with the rest of Signal.

Hell, once I can start using Signal as my primary (or if they brought SMS back), I'd happily pay.

Yeah, ive used Threema and Matrix and neither competes with the ease of adoption that Signal has for normies


WhatsApp already had a very large userbase when in started charging, and IIRC only charged after the first year of use to better hook people. Given its dominance in certain markets (Europe comes to mind), WhatsApp could probably succeed with a paid model even today, but something with a tiny userbase isn't going to grow that way.

Sounds like more people should just use the same Matrix bridges that Beeper is using for their main service and just spinning up their own Matrix server instead of trusting a third party with their Apple credentials logged into a Mac that lives on their property and is technically owned by them. The "original plan" was to send out refurbished iPhone 4's to people to use, but apparently letting consumers have a little more control was going to be too confusing or something and instead they rolled out a fleet of Macs internally.

Matrix is trusted and secure. Why bother with a third party charging for a service of... setting it up for you, with a flashy front-end?

I'm not sure why so many are rooting for Beeper. Apple's response is 100% reasonable - you have a 3rd party service that's making money by impersonating iOS devices in order to access Apple services. Apple has no way of controlling how many devices will use Beeper and if their system can maintain a good level of service, how these Beeper devices are interacting with iMessage, and whether Beeper is actually keeping iMessage metadata private or just giving lip service.

An analogy would be like Apple is throwing this awesome concert event and Beeper found out a convincing way to fake the tickets, and are actually actively promoting, registering people and profiting off of it. In any reasonable world outfits like this would be shut down immediately and rightfully so.

It would be nice if beeper could do this, but it was a rather stupid idea to do it without Apple’s blessing. Of course they were going to shut it down. Pretty much the most predictable thing that’s ever been predicted.

I mean, Beeper is the same company that was selling the main product (a matrix server to combine all your chat services into one using bridges) when it was still completely half-baked and they had a 45-minute onboarding process to get people to set up their services, because it was so complicated. They've clearly made it a lot less complicated now, so why did they feel it was necessary to charge money up-front when it was still half-baked and needed someone to guide you through complicated setup processes? It just feels like they're happy to have their asses hanging out and charge for it without really feeling the need to prove things work as intended. I was never on the service during this early time (or at all), but I remember seeing lots of complaints of failures and service interruptions, and it never made sense to me to be paying for an unfinished product.

So, in my opinion, this is entirely on brand for Beeper.

I don't understand why people are rooting for Beeper knowing how badly Eric Migicovsky screwed developers on the way out from Pebble Watch.

He already sold a failing company once, and he's already hit a roadblock with his current company. How long until he gets bored and sells this one?

Also, I was on the waiting list way back when, and declined to sign up for Beeper when I had no indication that my onboarding would be recorded. Then I showed up to the onboarding zoom meeting with a note about it being recorded. No advance notice from a service that claims to respect privacy? You just showed your ass, Beeper. I never signed up, and when I wrote them with follow up questions ("How can I trust that the privacy policy will stay the same if the business is sold to another party?") they declined to respond to any questions. Months later I would get an automated email reminding me about my place in line like I gave a shit anymore.

I personally don't trust this companies promises, period. They've made it clear they're less than honest about the privacy stuff and the founders past doesn't scream "He will stand by this company when things get hard."