iMessage For Android: How to Get It And Use It

Tips for using workarounds to get your message across

group of people text messaging
Think you can't use iMessage on Android? Think again.

Hero Images/Getty Images

One of the key differences between iPhone and Android is Android devices can't use iMessage. That's true, but if you have the right software, the right kind of computer, and some technical savvy, or at least an appetite for experimentation, it's actually possible to set up iMessage for your Android phone.

Why You Can't Normally Use iMessage on Android

You usually can't use iMessage on Android because Apple uses a special end-to-end encryption system in iMessage that secures the messages from the device they're sent on, through Apple's servers, to the device receiving them. Because the messages are encrypted, the iMessage network is only usable by devices that know how to decrypt the messages.

iMessage effects in iOS 10
Apple Inc.

Apple keeps iMessage and all its cool effects and features, including iMessage apps, exclusive to devices running iOS and macOS as a way to drive people to buy its products. That's why there's no iMessage for Android app available on the Google Play store.

That said, there is one way around Apple's control over iMessage: a program called weMessage.

What You Need to Use weMessage

In order to use weMessage, you need the following:

  • An iMessage account: This is probably your existing Apple ID.
  • A Mac running macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher: Using weMessage requires running a program on your Mac.
  • Java 7 or higher installed on your Mac.
  • An Android phone running Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.
  • The weMessage app installed on your Android phone.

How weMessage Lets You Use iMessage on Android

While iMessage can't work on Android devices, iMessage does work on both iOS and macOS. It's the Mac compatibility that matters most here. weMessage is a program for Mac that routes messages through the iMessage network. This means all of your texts are sent to weMessage, then passed on to iMessage for sending to and from macOS, iOS, and Android devices, while still using Apple's encryption.

How to Set Up weMessage to Use iMessage for Android

weMessage is a pretty smart workaround for dealing with Apple's security for iMessage, but setting it up isn't for the tech novice or the faint of heart. There are a lot of steps here and it requires more complex configuration than most programs. But, if you're really dedicated to getting iMessage on Android, it's your only option. Here's what you need to do.

Configure weMessage on Mac

weMessage app running on a Mac
The weMessage app running on a Mac.
  1. You need Java installed on your Mac to use weMessage. Check that you have it by navigating to Applications > Utilities, then launching the Terminal app pre-installed on your Mac. Type java, then click return.
  2. If you get an error, you don't have Java. If you don't see the error, you've got it. Make sure you've got the latest version by downloading it here.
  3. Next, download the weMessage program.
  4. In the weMessage folder, double-click the run.command file to launch weMessage. If you get an error saying the program can't run because it's from an unidentified developer, open System Preferences, found in the Apple menu at the top left corner of the screen. Click the Security & Privacy > General tab, then click Open Anyway.
  5. Next up, you'll need to enable some Accessibility features of your Mac. In the System Preferences > Security & Privacy screen, click the Privacy tab, then click Accessibility.
  6. Click the lock icon at the bottom left to unlock your settings. If prompted, enter the password you use to log into your Mac.
  1. Click the + icon, then navigate through your hard drive to Applications > Utilities.
  2. Click Terminal, then click Open.
  3. Double-click run.command again to launch the program. This will launch a Terminal window.
  4. Enter the email address you use with iMessage.
  5. Next, enter a password.

Tip: Your password doesn't have to match your iMessage password, and maybe shouldn't, since your Apple ID is used for so many things.

Set Up weMessage on Android

wemssage app on android
The weMessage app running on Android.
  1. On your Android device, go to the Google Play Store and install the weMessage app.
  2. Launch weMessage on your Android.
  3. Tap Continue. In the pop-up windows that ask for permission to access your texts, tap Allow. You may also need to move the slider for Allow modify system settings to On.
  4. Next, in order for weMessage on your Mac to talk to the app on your Android, you need your Mac's IP address. To find it, go to System Preferences > Network > Advanced > TCP/IP. Your IP address is in the IPv4 Address field.
  5. In the weMessage Android app, enter the IP address into that field.
  6. Enter your iMessage email address and the password you added in step 11 of the last section.
  7. Tap Sign In.
  8. Assuming everything is configured properly, you'll see the Conversations screen.
  9. From there, you can send a text message in the standard way. To test it, text someone who has an iPhone. If they see your message in the blue iMessage bubble, you'll know it's working.

You're Not Done Yet!

The instructions so far only work when your Android phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac. That's useful, but you want your Android to use iMessage no matter where you are. To do that, you need to set up Port Forwarding.

Port Forwarding configures your home Wi-Fi network to let in connections from the outside. That's how your Android device will connect back to the weMessage app on your Mac from anywhere.

The way you set up Port Forwarding is different for pretty much every router or modem. Because of that, there's no single set of instructions that can be provided. The best way to learn to do this is by using the video and instructions on the weMessage website.

Once you've set up Port Forwarding, test the set up by turning off Wi-Fi on your Android device and sending a text to someone using iMessage.