Black SMS iPhone App Encrypts Your Texts, No Jailbreak Required [Review]

Black SMS iPhone App Encrypts Your Texts, No Jailbreak Required [Review]

Private messages stay private with Black SMS

When Cliff Weitzman emailed me about his Black SMS iPhone app, I was impressed by the pitch alone. An App Store app that encrypts text messages and emails between iPhones and iPads? Sign me up!

Black SMS accomplishes a task that I haven’t seen anything from the App Store come close to replicating. It does indeed encrypt your texts and emails so that they are unreadable without the Black SMS app and an associated password. CIA agents and paranoid boyfriends should take notice of this one.

For a non-jailbreak solution, Black SMS is pretty straightforward to use. The app works with iMessage to send black chat bubbles between iPhones. You create your encrypted message in the Black SMS app (which, admittedly, could use some design work). Enter your password in the top line followed by the actual text message. Tap the ‘lock’ icon and Black SMS prompts you to open iMessage and paste the black chat bubble into a new message. Send it along and you’re good to go.

On the iPhone that’s receiving the encrypted message, the Black SMS will need to be installed. (Hopefully you’ve told the password to your partner in crime beforehand over a method of communication that isn’t a text message.) The other person will copy the black chat bubble you send into the iPhone’s clipboard, open the Black SMS app, and paste it into the large box after entering the password in the top line. Tap the ‘unlock’ icon and presto! The same process can be applied to send and receive an encrypted email link.

Black SMS iPhone App Encrypts Your Texts, No Jailbreak Required [Review]

Black SMS doesn’t come without its flaws. When a black chat bubble is sent, the app encodes it as a small rainbow-like image. That means you’ll technically be sending an MMS, not an iMessage or SMS. It will take a few more seconds to send an MMS, and some texting plans don’t include unlimited MMS usage. Also, the Black SMS app can’t send you into Apple’s Messages app on its own, so you have to leave the app and switch between the two manually.

Messages are sent with AES encryption, making it nearly impossible for someone to decrypt a good password. The black chat bubbles in iMessage will remain unreadable, so you won’t have to fear prying eyes. If you have a reason to use something like this, Black SMS is definitely worth the $1 price tag. Grab it now as a universal download for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store.

Related
  • Rowanovadale

    Nice for those who want/need it, but I can’t help wondering how long it takes Apple to pull it from the App Store. My opinion is to let it alone and allow the users to decide, but this is Apple…..

  • timetravel0

    iEdi does this and more since a year: it exists also a client for mac and all messages and files are synced with iCloud.

  • jmahabir

    That’s cool, but this is just like DaVinci SMS, albeit with a poorer design.

  • opticalserenity

    Yeah, TXTCrypt has been doing this for years and for free, and it has a version in the Mac App Store. Why do people like to “hype” up these apps by talking about them getting pulled? Please go read the App Store terms before you come up with your guesses…unless of course you’re just trying to hype the app artificially to get it to sell.

  • TextMessage

    send and receive single or group using the web based software.With TxtImpact Group Text messaging software and tools you can launch Mass or Group Text messaging in seconds.

  • L3l0uch

    This doesn’t do images. If you want one that does images, you should check out Cryptography: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cryptography/id506580555?mt=8

  • iGuyUser

    Cool app but a newer app called Text Fortress does the same thing, but with a more streamlined UI (faster for conversation flow). Check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/text-fortress-password-protect/id591116927?ls=1&mt=8

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

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