How to Get Apple iMessage Working on an Android Phone

Apple iMessage is a powerful and popular messaging technology that allows you to send and receive encrypted text, images, videos, voice notes and more. The big problem for many people is that iMessage doesn’t work on Android devices.

Well, let’s be more specific: iMessage technically doesn’t work on Android devices. But if there’s a will there’s a way. And some very smart people decided they really wanted to use iMessage on Android devices, so they made it possible.

Of course, the easiest way to get iMessage is simple: embrace Apple and buy an iPhone.

But before throwing down hundreds of dollars on an iPhone 11, you might want to try using a third-party app to get iMessage working on your Android phone.

We’ll run through how you can do that in a moment. First, a little more background on why iMessages don’t work on Android devices.

Why iMessage doesn’t normally work on Android

Apple loves to make its products unique. Apple phones use special chargers, rather than the standard micro USB. The company has its own apps and software. And, of course, Apple devices give you exclusive access to iMessage.

Android users are stuck with standard SMS text messages, MMS data messages, and apps like WhatsApp. So why all the kerfuffle? What makes iMessages so great?

In many ways iMessages are the same as regular messages that you might use on any modern cell phone. But there are a few important differences:

  • iMessages have end-to-end encryption built in automatically.
  • You can read and send iMessages on your Apple computer, your Macbook, your iPad, and more by syncing your devices.
  • iMessage allows you to send special stickers and effects, like exploding confetti when you send “Congratulations.”
  • When your iMessage successfully sends you’ll see a little text saying “Delivered” below the message. When the recipient has seen the message, it will change to “Read.” These are called read receipts.
  • A feature called Live Typing lets you see when the other person is typing with a little “…” symbol at the bottom of the message history.

If you want to learn more about the differences between iMessage and other text messages, read our handy guide on the topic.

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How to receive iMessages on an Android device

Yes, it’s technically true that iMessage only works on iPhones and other Apple devices. But you can use a little (legal) hack to send and receive iMessages on your Android phone using third-party apps.

But before we dive into this, we want to say up front: you do need an Apple computer or other device to do this. This is because you’ll actually be routing iMessages through the Apple device to your phone. Let’s walk through the process.

Third-party iMessage apps

There are several third-party apps that you can use to set up iMessage on your Android. The most popular ones are weMessage and AirMessage. Setting up these two apps is a pretty similar process, so we’re just going to talk about AirMessage here.

First, let’s make sure you have the right equipment.

System requirements for AirMessage:

  • A Mac computer that runs macOS 10.10 Yosemite or newer.
  • An Android device that runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer.

Setting up AirMessage on an Android device

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for setting up AirMessage.

  1. Install the server from AirMessage.org on your Mac computer. Once it’s installed, move the installed file to your applications folder.
  2. Open the server application on your Mac computer. You will be greeted with a welcome message and prompted to change your password. From here, follow the instructions on how to allow the application to read and send messages on your device.
  3. Adjust sleep settings on your computer so that messages are continuously forwarded (the application will tell you how to do this).
  4. Enable port forwarding on your device so that it can connect to your smartphone directly through Wi-Fi (the application will tell you how to do this).
  5. Install the AirMessage app on your Android device.
  6. Open the app and enter your server’s address and password.
  7. Send your first iMessage with your Android device!

That might seem like a lot of steps, but for those who really want iMessage on their Samsung Galaxy Note10 (or other Android phone), it will be worth it. Plus, it costs you nothing.

Using iMessage on your Android device

What you’re actually doing when you use an app like AirMessage is having iMessages sent to your Apple computer. The computer then sends the messages along to your Android device using the application. This means you’re not technically using iMessage on your Android phone.

Because your messages are being routed through your computer, you may notice that your iMessages show up on other people’s phones as being sent from your email address, rather than your telephone number.

Next steps

That’s it. You can now switch from an Apple phone to an Android phone without losing those precious blue text bubbles!

But this quick fix for Android phones still can’t beat just buying an awesome new device. Check out the resources below to learn more about the best phones and the cheapest ways to buy them!

Now that you know, here are your next steps.

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