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If the only people you talk to are on your mobile family plan, you probably don’t have to worry about iMessage compatibility. Your group either uses Android or iOS, and that’s the end of it. Then there is the rest of the world, divided by proprietary software and occasionally missing messages they wish they’d seen.
iMessage is Apple’s instant messaging service, allowing users to send texts, documents, photos, contacts, and group messages over Wi-Fi when SMS/MMS messages aren’t available. It’s incredibly handy—unless you use an Android device.
Android users are often frustrated to discover they can’t get iMessages, leading to oddly segmented group texts and your one buddy who never hears about the pool until it’s too late. Meanwhile, iOS users keep trying to send iMessages to their Android-using friends who don’t get them. It’s a pain.
There is no official way to get iMessages on Android at the moment, so you’ll need to get experimental if you want to have them.
How to get iMessage on Android
PieMessage is a special project that’s in its “super alpha prototype” stage of development, according to its developers. We do not recommend trying to install it on your device unless you’re very experienced in the nuances of Android and aren’t afraid of possibly messing up your device.
However, they have video proof that it works and have released the alpha because they need help to get it finished. Here’s PieMessage in use:
We won’t teach you how to install it—it’s a little too advanced to spell out, and YouTube video covers what you need to know—but if you’re curious head over to their GitHub to download the files and take your phone’s future into your hand. In both cases, you’re still going to need a Mac and an iMessage account to get any use out of the service.
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However, there a partial solution for Android users who already use the iMessage client on their computer and want to be able to use it to send SMS messages via their Android phone. You might not be able to send iMessages from your Android to your friends iPhones, but you can send your Android texts from your computer’s iMessages app to your Android phone.
SMS for iMessage is an Android app that securely routes your text messages from your Mac’s iMessage client to your Android phone. During setup, the app will walk you through the process of adding your SMS for iChat account to your desktop iMessage client. Once completed, you’ll be able to send and receive Android SMS messages from your desktop iMessage app.
There is, however, one catch. SMS for iMessage only lets you send and receive five free messages a day without paying. If you’d like to text to your heart’s content, you’ll need to pay $12.99 a year for the Pro version of the app. Ultimately, that’s a low price to pay for inner-mobile-ecosphere communication, but we know it will be a sticking point for some.
Sadly, it doesn’t look like there will ever be an official way to send and receive iMessages from your Android device. If you’re savvy and bold, we suggest trying PieMessage. Otherwise, embrace the quirks of your ecosystem and realize iMessage was never really yours to begin with.
John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.