Be wary of the dubious 'iMessage chat' Android app

A new app in the Google Play Store claims to bring Apple's iMessage service to Android devices, but users should keep their distance from this dubious software.

The app, simply dubbed iMessage Chat, is free to download and claims to have “no hidden costs” and no advertisements. It's supposed to allow Android users to communicate with iOS and Mac devices using Apple's free iMessage service, but it is operating without Apple's permission.

According to Adam Bell, the app does seem to work, though The Verge reports that Android-to-Apple communication isn't functioning properly.

Still, there are a few good reasons to stay away from this iMessage imitator. First, it asks for your Apple ID, which is attached to your personal and payment information. And as Jay Freeman (a.k.a. 'saurik' of Cydia fame) notes, all of the app data gets processed through the developer's server in China before connecting to Apple. This apparently prevents Apple from blocking the app, but it also raises security concerns about what happens to your data and login details.

Steve Troughton-Smith also points out that the app has the ability to download and install additional software in the background. Add the fact that the developer hasn't created any other apps, and you have every reason to be suspicious of this Android version of iMessage.

Besides, you can always rely on alternative apps to replicate iMessage's features without the security risks. Messaging apps such as WhatsAppViber, and Facebook Messenger let you communicate across many types of devices without counting against your SMS limit. And if you're looking to read and send regular text messages from another computer or tablet, you can use an app like MightyText. Unless the developer can somehow eliminate the security issues and earn users' trust, iMessage for Android isn't worth trying.

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