Beeper Mini is back after Apple shutdown, but had to sacrifice its main appeal

The saga of Beeper Mini continues as the developer behind it relaunched the app, although it comes at the cost of one of its main features.

To give you a crash course of recent events, Beeper Mini is an Android app that gives users the ability to send and receive texts using the iMessage protocol. Apple eventually found out about it then proceeded to block the service, claiming it posed “significant risks” to user safety. On December 11, Beeper the company managed to restore connectivity, however, people must now sign in with their AppleID credentials whereas before all you had to enter was the phone number of your Android smartphone. 

This ease of use was especially appealing since you weren’t forced to add or create another login. According to Beeper’s post, texts will instead be exchanged through the email address listed on your AppleID. This won’t be nearly as convenient as TheVerge points out, but at least people can still communicate with iMessage.

Working things out

There are plans to restore phone number registration later down the line although no word when the feature will come back. To make up for the downscaling, Beeper Mini will now be free moving forward until the day comes when things stabilize. At that point, Beeper may reintroduce the monthly fee. You can keep the $ 2 subscription turned on as a way to support Beeper during these times, but it’s not a requirement.

The company states in its blog post it will remain committed to ensuring Beeper Mini becomes a successful service on Android. Apple is obviously the biggest obstacle to achieving this goal, so Beeper had decided to extend an olive branch to the tech giant by making two commitments.

One: if Apple truly believes Beeper Mini is a danger to iOS user safety, the developer says it will share the app’s entire codebase “with a mutually agreed upon third-party security research firm.” Two, at Apple's insistence, Beeper might consider “adding a pager emoji” to the metadata on all messages coming from their app. The purpose of the emoji is to make it easier for iMessages to filter out texts coming from Beeper Mini.

Mounting pressure

Now the question is will Apple leave the service alone? It’s hard to say. Apple certainly isn’t afraid to bring down the hammer despite pressure from other corporations and governing groups. That said, Apple isn’t inflexible. Hell froze over back in mid-November when it finally decided to support the RCS protocol from Android phones. Plus this whole situation caught the eye of the US government. Senator Elizabeth Warren on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) called for Apple to allow Beeper Mini to exist.

She recognizes the fact that the “green bubble texts [from Android] are less secure”, putting forth the idea of expanding the security measures as well as making communication between the two platforms easier to do.

The updated Beeper Mini is currently available for download on the Google Play Store. We reached out to the developer on X asking if it could give us a timeframe for the release of future fixes plus what it hopes to achieve by sharing the codebase. This story will be updated at a later time. 

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Microsoft is willing to sacrifice Teams in Windows 11 – and I’m OK with that

It looks like Microsoft is in trouble again with European Union regulators over anti-competitive practices, and it could sacrifice Teams in Windows 11 to avoid any conflicts.

While I don’t usually applaud companies for removing features from their products, in this case it would be a good move.

Let’s be honest: Windows 11 has a bloat problem, with Microsoft filling it with apps and services that most people don’t use, but can’t be easily removed from the device the operating system is running on.

Teams is one of those. While Microsoft Teams is an app that’s used by businesses for communication between team members (hence the name), Microsoft also wanted to inflict it on regular users of Windows 11 as well, so built it into the operating system as the Chat app.

However, despite Microsoft bundling in Teams via the Chat app, it never properly took off. Most people use the likes of Facebook and WhatsApp for instant messaging these days. That wouldn’t be much of an issue, but not only is Chat pre-installed in Windows 11, you can’t uninstall it. Add it to the list of other apps you don’t want to use but are installed anyway, and Windows 11 can start feeling rather bloated.

Right move, wrong reasons

However, as Windows Latest reports, it looks like Microsoft may be considering adding the ability to remove Chat in an upcoming version of Windows 11, with references to “RemoveChat” in early Windows 11 preview builds.

When enabled, this seems to allow users to completely remove Chat from their system, rather than simply hiding it.

This would be a good move for people who want to keep their PCs organized and tidy, without any unused apps clogging things up.

However, it doesn’t seem like Microsoft is doing this voluntarily. As Windows Latest points out, the EU is keeping a close eye on Microsoft and how it combines its products like Office and Teams with Windows 11, which could give those products an unfair advantage over rivals.

Adding an option to fully remove Chat could avoid those accusations, while also allowing Microsoft to still preinstall it.

Interestingly, the RemoveChat option appears to be linked to geographical data, which suggests this might only be available to users in certain regions – such as the European Union.

If that’s the case, then it looks like Microsoft is determined to do the absolute minimum so that it can avoid any fines from the EU, but still trying to make Chat popular with users.

This is frustrating, as while Windows 11 is a decent enough operating system, Microsoft continues to add apps and services, or adverts for those apps and services, to the OS, regardless of whether users want them or not.

By doing this, and not allowing users to remove the apps or adverts, many people – myself included – have increasingly felt like Microsoft has been pushing its luck, and been a bit too aggressive when trying to get us to use its products.

So, while I certainly would welcome this move, I can’t say I’m too thrilled about Microsoft’s seeming reluctance to give its customers more freedom at the expense of its own commercial ambitions.

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