| Cult of Mac

Beeper Mini app brings iMessage to Android, blue bubbles included


Beeper Mini messaging app
Beeper Mini may be the first app to reliably make Android users' text appear in blue bubbles on iPhone.
Photo: Beeper

Believe it or not, a 16-year-old high school student may have been the first to fully reverse-engineer iMessage and turn green Android text bubbles blue on iPhones with the new Beeper Mini app, released Tuesday.

The text messaging world is buzzing over it, wondering how it may avoid security pitfalls like other recent attempts to merge the two texting worlds — and puzzling over whether Apple may put a stop to this incursion into its “walled garden.”

Shocker: Apple commits to RCS for better texting with Android users


iMessage bullying
But we don't yet know if blue and green bubbles will remain.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

In what is apparently an enormous change of direction, Apple reportedly plans to add support for Rich Communication Services to the iPhone Messages app in 2024. This will enable iPhones and Androids to communicate more effectively, with more of the bells and whistles associated with Apple’s proprietary iMessage platform.

It also could be the end of the green bubble versus blue bubble controversy, though not necessarily.

Make stickers from your own photos for fun group chats


Cut Your Own Stickers
Make your own stickers from your own photos.
Image: Watty62/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You can make stickers from your photos and send them in iMessage and Snapchat, right on your iPhone. Stickers that you make from your own pictures are a lot of fun to send in group chats. They’re great for sending highly personal reactions using photos of people or pets that everyone knows. You can even add fun sticker effects.

Last year brought the ability to copy and paste the subject from a picture. Now in iOS 17, it’s easy to collect them in a set of stickers. I’ll show you how it all works.

Check In: Every parent should know this essential iOS 17 feature


Where Did You Go?
A smarter way to keep tabs on your loved ones’ travels.
Image: Boonlert Aroonpiboon/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Check In is a new iOS 17 feature that tracks your travels and lets contacts know when you’ve safely reached your destination. It’s great for traveling, or kids going to and from school, or even going on a date. You no longer have to count on remembering to text someone when you make it home safely — your iPhone will let them know for you.

Check In is like sharing your ETA in Apple Maps, but tweaked for personal safety. Friends, family and loved ones will be automatically notified if you’re stopped for any reason before reaching your destination. It also has timer-based check ins, which come in handy for situations like meeting a stranger from Craigslist. If you don’t check in after a set time, your contacts will be alerted.

Here’s how to use it — frankly, every parent should know how this works.

Samsung ad urges Apple to end blue and green bubbles in iMessage


Samsung ad urges Apple to end blue and green bubbles in iMessage
The real message: Samsung wants more iPhone users to switch to Android.
Screenshot: Samsung

Samsung used a short video to join Google in urging Apple to add support for Rich Communication Services to iMessage, which would end the blue bubble vs. green bubble divide.

The reason for their campaign is obvious: if Apple made the change, people would be more likely to switch from iPhone to Samsung’s Androids.

5 best iMessage, FaceTime and phone features in iOS 17


Live Voicemail & More Best Features
Live Voicemail, FaceTime video messages, Check-In and others are some of the best iOS 17 features.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 17 brings with it a lot of new features to the apps you use to communicate every day: iMessage, FaceTime — and last and certainly least — Phone. If you’re trying to call someone and have a missed connection, you have many more options for leaving them a message to pick up later. Changes to iMessage bring small but impactful improvements to stickers, threaded replies and sharing your ETA.

iOS 17 is out now. If you bought a new iPhone 15, you’ve got it already. Otherwise, head over to Settings > General > Software Update to get it. Upgrading may take about 20 minutes after downloading, so make sure you don’t start it at a bad time.

Apple won’t be forced to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of the UK


iMessage and FaceTime
U.K. residents, looks like you get to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government dropped a plan that would have allowed it to access the contents of any online message looking for illegal content. It had sought a way around the encryption that protects messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp.

Apple threatened to disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK rather than submit to the proposal on the grounds that it would completely compromise the privacy of all users. Other companies said the same about their apps.

Why Apple threatened to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of UK


iMessage and FaceTime
iPhone users in the UK might want to talk to the government if they’d like to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government has proposed an update to the Investigatory Powers Act that Apple and other tech companies strongly oppose because it they argue it would substantially weaken the security of their messaging applications.

The updated act would allow the government to require security features in the apps be disabled immediately and without informing users.

Apple reportedly warned that it’ll disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK before it’ll comply with the law.

WhatsApp finally lets you edit sent messages


Message editing comes to WhatsApp
You have 15 minutes to edit your WhatsApp message.
Image: WhatsApp

Meta’s popular messaging service, WhatsApp, is bringing an iMessage-like editing feature. You can now edit your WhatsApp messages for up to 15 minutes after sending them.

Apple introduced similar message-editing capabilities to iMessage with iOS 16. However, WhatsApp’s message editing implementation differs from iMessage in many ways.

Insiders are buzzing about Apple’s upcoming headset [The CultCast]


CultCast 595: AI-generated image of Apple CEO Tim Cook wearing an AR/VR headset, along with the CultCast logo.
No, Apple's headset likely won't look like this AI-generated image.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Well-placed sources say Apple’s AR/VR headset blew them away. Even the guy who dreamed up the Oculus Rift says it’s great.

The more we hear about the device nobody seems to need, the more intrigued we become. And with WWDC23 just weeks away, we don’t have long to wait for answers to our questions. In the meantime, we can imagine the possibilities …

Also on The CultCast:

  • How Apple’s M3 chip will stack up against its predecessors.
  • Five hidden features in iMessage that you should try ASAP.
  • Erfon finally gives us an update on his beloved, but beleaguered, original HomePod.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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