A couple of months ago, I went down the path of adding a second daily driver Android device to my everyday life. The purpose of this was to get myself familiar with both operating systems to keep me fresh with the new styles. While doing this, I came across many things that were not able to transfer and sync back and forth between the devices. One of these things was iMessage. The holy grail of messaging in the US. In other countries, I know this is not a big thing because they use other messaging apps (Telegram & WhatsApp) as their default messaging applications. Some of you may also say why don't I just communicate with Discord. All of these are great replacements, however, the realistic part of this is that many people in the US won't just add an application on their phone to just talk to me. This led to me installing AirMessage.
AirMessage is a free platform being developed by two individuals to allow accessing your iMessages from the web and an Android device (I'll link all the information about this at the bottom). This platform helps the individual still take part in a lot of the features that only Apple devices can take part in. There are some caveats to this, however. You will need a Mac device that is always online for this to work. This machine is what is being leveraged to communicate the sending and receiving of the messages. I happened to have a Mac Mini that is rack-mounted at my house, so this solution was perfect for me.
The installation was pretty straightforward. You go to the website and download the "Server" Application on your Mac. You connect it to a Google account so it will be able to authenticate your account on the multiple devices you log into and then you allow some permissions and voila! At this point, you should be able to access your iMessages in the web client and on the Android application.
I attempted to use the application on both the web and on my Android phone and it did work pretty well. It did everything that it said it would do, but it wasn't 100% smooth sailing. There were a couple of caveats that came across with that solution for someone that is still very much in the Apple ecosystem.
The first thing that I came into was that this is only grabbing your messages, not your contacts. It reads your Google account for the contact list instead of your iCloud. This isn't a problem if you use Google contacts, but I use iCloud contacts. Because of this, when I first launched the application, it didn't have anyone's number saved in the application which is not ideal. I was able to get by this by installing an application on the Mac Mini (Contact Sync Pro) that will automatically sync my contacts between iCloud and Google. This was an awesome application because not only does it allow me now to have my contacts for AirMessage, it allows my Pixel to have contacts natively in its application. So this solved my one problem.
The other issue I ran into was that it does not sync when you read a message. When I read a message on an Apple device or vice versa, it does not tell the other system that the message was read or responded to. Because of this, I run into the situation constantly that I have to open up messages twice. This sounds like a minor annoyance but becomes a major one when you are constantly picking up the devices and seeing an indicator for a message you already responded to. Now, there is a new version currently in beta by the developers that are being tested and it does mention read receipts, but I'm not 100% sure that it is referring to this issue.
At the end of the day, this is a pretty good solution minus the read receipts. I am very impressed by what the two developers were able to accomplish with this application. I am very impressed with this solution and will continue to use it. Feel free to check out this solution at the link below.
If you know of any alternatives to this solution, let me know!
AirMessage - airmessage.org