The inherent flexibility of Google’s mobile OS is one of the major factors that makes it so attractive to its users, and it is this very quality that makes it possible for Android users to get the features, look and feel of other platforms with nothing but a few taps. While certain Android fans might smirk at the idea of porting features over from rival platforms – iOS, in particular – others will welcome such alternatives as long as they add a significant value over stock provisions. Case in point: iMessage. Why would anyone want to use iMessage on Android, you ask? It is likely that you have at least one or two good friends, if not many more, who own iPhones. iMessage will enable you to converse with them for free over the internet without them having to install any additional IM apps and vice versa. iMessage Chat for Android makes this possible. However, for now, there to be talk of suspicious behavior and security risks surrounding the app. Read on past the break for details.
We tested the app and it seems to work fine. But before we proceed, you should know that quite a few well-known devs (@chronic, @chpwn, @stroughtonsmith, @SteveStreza, @saurik, @b3ll) have voiced off their concerns on Twitter regarding serious security issues spotted within in the app. These include the ability to download APKs in the background and all data going through the app’s own servers, where it may be stored indefinitely.
Following is a tweet by Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) about the former:
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) September 24, 2013
Cydia founder and Mobile Substrate dev Jay Freeman (saurik) has posted a detailed description of the latter in a Google+ post.
In light of all this, we’re going to advise against trying this app out until these issues are cleared up. If you still want to give it a whirl, be sure that you understand the risks involved.
Disclaimer: Install this app at your own risk. It seems to have major security issues that have yet to be cleared in the dev circle. AddictiveTips will not be liable if your data or device is compromised or damaged in any way.
The setup is quite straightforward. Tap the ‘Get Started’ button on the welcome screen, then create a new Apple ID or sign in with the credentials for an existing one. After the app is done signing in, it takes you to its Settings tab, from where you can import contacts to get started. Be sure to select your country code on the ‘Import from phone’ screen.
You can, of course, skip importing of contacts and manually enter the email address or number of whomever you want to chat with.
Note that logging out from the Settings screen will not erase your Apple ID and password from the app. The next time someone launches the app, they will find them pre-entered on the sign in screen. To avoid this, you might want to clear the app’s data from the Android ‘Apps’ settings menu (Settings > Apps > iMessage Chat > Clear data).
The Chat tab is more or less a clone of the iOS 6 Messages app, except for that it doesn’t integrate standard text messages. The button in the top-right corner creates a new messaging thread, while the ‘Edit’ button to the top-left allows you to batch-delete existing ones. The search bar right below lets you find a particular thread or message with ease. The search seems to be case-sensitive, though, so you might not get the best results.
Within a messaging thread, messages can be deleted in bulk via the Edit button. You can capture photos and videos directly from within a messaging thread by hitting the camera button beside the message field.
The same button allows you to send emoji as well as any photo, video or file from your device’s local storage. Now, although you can send any file, remember that if the recipient is on iOS, they will only be able to view and save limited formats. As for the emoji, you get all the same ones that are available in the stock iOS emoji keyboard.
That’s all there is to it. The app works flawlessly for the most part, but again, until the security issues surrounding it are cleared up, there is a strong possibility that installing it might put your data and privacy at risk.
Update: The app seems to have been removed from the Play Store, likely due to the security issues discussed above.