iMessage is Apple’s proprietary app that lets you send text messages, videos, pictures, and audio clips through a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection. While the program is only meant to work between Apple products, there are a few ways you can get your Android or Windows devices to use iMessage as well.
In this guide, we walk you through a few ways you can work with iMessage on your Windows and Android gadgets as well as some of the risks you may face when using these methods.
Ways to Access iMessage on Windows and Android
The different techniques to use iMessage on non-Apple devices come with varying degrees of difficulty, and just about every successful method requires you to already own an Apple device. However, there are some workarounds. What follows are some in-depth tutorials on how to use iMessage on your Windows PC or Android device.
1. Use AirMessage (Android Only)
AirMessage is a service that essentially forwards messages from your iMessage app to a browser or your Android device. You’ll need a Mac computer to get this method to work.
- Navigate to the AirMessage website on your Mac and download the server. Here’s a direct link. Make sure to add the app to your Applications folder.
- Once you launch the app, you’ll receive a pop-up welcome message. Click the “Connect an Account (Recommended)” button and link your Gmail account to register.
- During your initial launch of the app, you’ll be prompted to allow AirMessage to send and read your messages. Make sure you give the app permission. Click on the “Open System Preferences” button to begin.
To manually allow sending, navigate to “System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Automation” to enable it. To add the ability to read messages, head to “System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Full Disk Access,” then add the AirMessage app.
- Your Mac computer should be functional at all times in order to utilize the service, so you’ll want to shut off sleep mode to stop the device from becoming unavailable. You can do this by going to the Energy Saver menu from System Preferences, then moving the “Computer sleep” slider to “Never.”
- From there, navigate to the Web version of AirMessage from a browser on your Windows machine, then sign in using the same Gmail account you used with your Mac. For Android, download the AirMessage app from the Google Play Store, which works similarly to the Web version.
2. Use Chrome Remote Desktop
Similar to AirMessage, you’ll also need a Mac to get the Chrome Remote Desktop technique to work, since that’s the device you’ll be controlling through your Windows PC or Android smartphone/tablet.
- Make sure the Chrome browser is installed on your Mac. Your Windows PC or laptop should have it installed as well if that’s where you want to access iMessage from.
- Launch Chrome and download the Chrome Remote Desktop extension here by clicking on the “Add to Chrome” button.
- Access the extension by clicking on the puzzle icon on the top-right corner of your browser and selecting “Chrome Remote Desktop.”
4. To set up remote access, click the Download button.
- The Chrome Remote Desktop will start the installation process. Do not close the window. Wait for the host installer to open.
- A new window will pop up showing the steps you need to take to install Chrome Remote Desktop. Click “Continue.”
- Select the disk where you want the software to be installed, then click “Continue.”
- Click Install. If you want to choose a different destination for your software, click “Change Install Location.”
- You’ll be asked to enter a device name. Type in a name and click Next.
- Choose a PIN you’d like to use to connect to your device remotely. The PIN needs to have at least six numbers. Click Start.
- To finish the installation process, you need to grant permission to use Chrome Remote Desktop. To do this, click “Open Accessibility Preferences.”
- In the Accessibility pane, tick the box next to “ChromeRemoteDesktopHost.” If it’s already ticked, untick it and tick it again.
- Another window will pop up asking you to grant the Screen Recording permission to the software. To do this, click “Open Screen Recording Preferences.” Just like the previous step, tick the box next to “ChromeRemoteDesktopHost.”
- Once you successfully follow these steps, you’re all set! Click “OK.”
- Finally, click “Close.”
- After a few seconds, the extension should show that your device’s remote desktop status is now online.
- Click “Generate Code” to share your screen.
- Copy the access code provided.
- Launch Chrome on Windows and open the Chrome Remote Desktop extension. Paste the access code you copied from your Mac under the “Connect to another computer” tab, then click “Connect.”
- The session will start connecting on Windows.
- Meanwhile, a new window will pop up on your Mac. Click “Share” to allow your Windows device to see and control your device.
- Once it says “(your email) is now connected to this machine,” you should be able to control your Mac from your Windows device. Alternatively, for Android users, you can download the Chrome Remote Desktop app, which works the same way as the Web version.
- All that’s left is to open the Messages app on your Mac device and start iMessaging on Windows!
Note: The Chrome browsers on both your Windows and Mac devices should have the same Gmail account logged in. This also applies to your Android device.
The Risks of Using AirMessage or Chrome Remote Desktop
Both AirMessage and Chrome Remote Desktop feature advanced levels of encryption, so your information is quite safe while with both apps. The risk lies primarily in how secure your Gmail account is. For example, with Chrome Remote Desktop, anyone who has access to your Gmail account would be able to simply download the extension on a Chrome browser themselves and hijack your remote session if they figure out your PIN.
From there, they’d have access to any information that’s stored on your Mac computer. AirMessage shares a similar threat since the app requires you to log in using your Gmail account, and you would need to give the program access to read information from your device.
These issues can mostly be prevented by securing your Gmail account with an extra-strong password and steering clear of suspicious-looking emails and links. Also, always avoid giving out your account details to other people. Make sure you look up other Gmail security tips to keep your account safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I access iMessage through the iPadian app?
iPadian is an app for Windows that mimics the interface of an iOS device. Contrary to what many people think, iPadian is actually not an iOS emulator but a simulator. It just provides you with the look and feel of the iOS platform and doesn’t actually run the same environment as an iPhone or iPad.
The developers of the iPadian app have made it perfectly clear that it does not support Apple’s iMessage service. In fact, they made sure to highlight it quite clearly on their official website. Actually, as an iOS simulator, iPadian struggles to run most iOS apps and comes with a $25 price tag to use all of the program’s features.
2. Can I use the Cydia method without jailbreaking my iPhone/iPad?
No. There’s a way that you can utilize the Cydia app to allow access to iMessage via a web browser on another device. It involves the downloading of the Remote Messages app from the BigBoss repo which can be found on Cydia. Unfortunately, there’s no way to use this method unless your iPhone or iPad is jailbroken.
3. Can I also use FaceTime on Windows and Android?
You can’t make a FaceTime call from a Windows or Android device. However, if someone with an Apple device initiates a FaceTime call and shares the link with you, you can join the call.
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