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PieMessage brings Apple’s iMessage to Android, but there’s a catch

While you can enjoy Microsoft and Google apps on iOS, the opposite is generally not true, with Apple keeping the majority of its apps and services locked away in its own ecosystem. It would be a safe bet that you’ll never get an official iMessage app on Android.

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But what about an unofficial one? Before we continue, let’s make something clear: this is a hack. It’s not as easy as simply downloading the PieMessage app from Google Play, and you’ll need a little technical know-how to get it done.

The PieMessage project was put together by GitHub user Eric Chee, who goes by bboyairwreck, and to complete it you’ll need a Mac and an Android phone. Not only that, but your Mac will need to be on and awake if you want the system to work — as soon as you turn it off, you will no longer get iMessages on your phone. This is because PieMessage works by routing iMessages from your Mac to your Android phone as they arrive.

For the technically minded, the system uses an AppleScript to read the iMessages as they arrive, after which a Java app takes those messages from the AppleScript. A Java server then interacts with the app and puts the messages on the internet, which is where a custom Android app gets the messages and displays them on the phone. Once you reply, your message goes back down the chain the other way.

Related: Apple just fixed an iMessage bug that researchers called easily exploitable

Of course, this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen someone try to implement iMessage for Android. However, previous attempts have had some serious security flaws.

Chee says the system is more of a proof of concept, but it does work, and he hopes to make it more functional and easier to implement over time. Since the system is open-source, he also hopes other developers will take the concept and make it better. Currently the system doesn’t work with photos, sending group messages (you can receive them), or the ability to see that someone is typing. While that last one isn’t in the works just yet, Chee says that photos and group messages should arrive sometime soon in the form of an update.

Check out the video below to see PieMessage in action.