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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‘Update and Shutdown’ command is bugging out on Windows, annoying users

If you've recently tried to update your Windows laptop or PC using the 'Update and Shutdown' function and run into a dead end, you’re not the only one. Multiple users have reported the same problem of trying to run the Windows Update process this way, only to find their systems refusing to shut down.

Usually, you could expect your system to download whatever new update is available, install it, and restart. However, as spotted by Windows Latest, multiple Reddit users and Microsoft Feedback Hub users have stated that the last part of this process doesn’t happen. They’ve expressed that they select their preference to Update and Shutdown, but then after the update install step, their computer turns on again and returns to the login screen. From here, you have to manually select shut down (again).

This problem doesn’t seem to be totally widespread and not all users are experiencing it. However, there have been enough cases for this to cause frustration for some users – especially those who would like to leave their PC alone at night to update and shut down automatically. Windows Latest editor Mayank Parmar notes that he’s experienced this glitch in the Update and Shutdown process with both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Is a fix incoming?

Unhappy with this state of things, Parmar sought out a former Microsoft developer and asked for their opinion on the matter. The former Microsoft employee remained anonymous and provided some insight behind the unexpected performance. 

Firstly, it may potentially have to do with the Fast Startup feature, which was designed to boot up your device more quickly. Fast Startup stores a selection of information into a file and retrieves it upon start-up, quickening the process (in theory). This feature could be responsible for the Update and Shutdown glitch as it may prompt a restart automatically during the update.

An alternative explanation might be found in the actual update process. Many users install Windows Updates fairly often, as is recommended for security reasons. Some users may not do this, however, and might allow for weeks or months to pass between updates. This means the number of things that need to be installed builds up, and larger updates often require a restart to complete the installation. In this case, prompting a Windows Update might require (and possibly force) a restart, overriding the Update and Shutdown command.  

There are now numerous recent posts on the subject on the Feedback Hub, Reddit, and now the article from Windows Latest, but no word on the matter from Microsoft yet. Affected users are hopeful that Microsoft either patches up the issue in a future update, or at least temporarily renames the command so they know what to expect. 

Some of these users have left their laptops to install updates and run on available battery power overnight expecting a shutdown afterward, only to find their device dead in the morning. This leaves them with the sense that Windows Update is unreliable and not able to be trusted to run as stated, as one Reddit user writes. We can only hope that Microsoft addresses the issue soon, since – as another Redditor remarks – it's “ridiculous that such a simple feature is busted.”

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