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Circuit Breaker

PieMessage project brings iMessage to Android

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Okay, let's be clear here: this is a total hack. PieMessage is a new project published yesterday on GitHub by Eric Chee, who goes by bboyairwreck. It involves:

  1. An AppleScript to capture iMessages whenever they pop up on your Mac
  2. A Java app to scoop up those messages from the script
  3. A Java server to take messages from the first Java app and serve them to the internet
  4. A custom Android messaging app to display and respond to those iMessages

Oh, and you need a dedicated Mac with a static IP address to run this on, or you'll have to recompile your Android APK and restart everything every time you change IPs.

But here's the crazy part: it totally works.

Yesterday afternoon I spent a few hours to download IntelliJ, Android Studio, and a few versions of the JDK. Nothing worked the first time. This is not a plug-and-play experience. But eventually I got all the disparate components to compile, fired up the APK on a Nexus 6P and the Java apps on my Mac, and bam I could send and receive iMessages on my Android phone. There was seemingly zero delay, and the app even popped notifications onto my lock screen.

There are a couple limitations: you can receive group messages but not send them, and images don't display — though the author claims that won't be hard to add. Also, right now the app identifies different conversations by phone numbers or email address instead of names.

On the readme, bboyairwreck asks for help to spruce up the project. With a little more work, this could easily be the best of a bad situation: iMessage for any Android user who has a spare Mac sitting around.

Or, you know, Apple could do the right thing and ship iMessage for Android.