Last week the company behind the Beeper app announced plans to go all-in on a new version of the app called Beeper Mini. It’s still designed to be a cross-platform messaging app that lets Android users tap into Apple’s iMessage service (and which would, eventually, also support more than a dozen other messaging platforms), but instead or relaying iMessage communications through a cloud server, Beeper Mini runs entirely on your device.
It’s unclear exactly what changes Apple or Beeper have made, but the two companies are both claiming to protect user privacy and security.
Apple says that allowing third-party services like Beeper to exploit a vulnerability to connect to the iMessage service poses a threat to users and could lead to increased spam or phishing attacks. Beeper says the opposite is true: that since Apple doesn’t support iMessage on Android, all messages sent between Android and iMessage users are unencrypted by default and an app like Beeper fixes that by ensuring that messages are encrypted.
That said, whatever Beeper did to get the app working again means that users cannot simply register with a phone number anymore. You’ll need to sign in with an Apple ID, which is something you didn’t need last week.
Beeper is also acknowledging that “things have been a bit chaotic” lately, and in a hint that the company is aware that it’s possible Beeper Mini could stop working again at any moment, the app is now free to use for the foreseeable future.
Previously the plan had been to offer a 7-day free trial and then charge users $2 per month. But for now it seems like the goal is just to get people using the app. And it seems like a lot of people were interested in doing that – in a blog post, Beeper says that the Beeper Mini app was downloaded more than 100,000 times within the first 48 hours after launch, and it quickly became one of the top 20 apps in the Google Play Store.