'iMessage Chat' app shows up for Android, isn't pretty, don't trust it

'iMessage Chat' app shows up for Android, isn't pretty, don't trust it

"iMessage Chat" has shown up in the Google Play Store, and it seems to be an actual, working, not-very-pretty iMessage app for Android. Unfortunately, since Apple didn't make it, and there's currently no way to look inside the APK file and see what's happening, it shouldn't be trusted.

In order to use it, you'd have to give the app your Apple ID, which could also be the key to your devices, your iTunes purchases, and more. That means your data, that means your credit card information, and that means game over. At least potentially.

It may sound great, but great things are often too great to be true. I don't know anything that could be said or done that would make me trust this - or any non-Apple app - and I can't think of anything that should make you give it your Apple ID. Ever.

Downloaders beware. Actually, don't even beware, stay the #$!! away.

Thanks: @b3ll

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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'iMessage Chat' app shows up for Android, isn't pretty, don't trust it

50 Comments

Thats funny. Gmail, Drive, Instagram, Evernote, Keep, Play Music....etc. etc. All run and look fantastic on my Android devices. I agree many of the low budget crap apps on Android look like junk because that is what they are. But to imply all Android apps look like crap is a blanket statement that makes you sound silly.

Android has these fake apps, but I've never been bitten. Takes a second to realize it's fake. But, I could say "why does this browser want access to my contacts?" and either not install, or block it from getting them with an app. On iOS I don't know what info apps are getting as it doesn't say. Likely nothing, but I have to trust a person I've never seen that it's not getting weird info vs installing something like XPrivacy that will block any app from anything I say. I consider that more secure. Just my opinion though.

Sent from the iMore App

You got it wrong, it's iOS that asks you specifically before giving apps access to your accounts, contacts, photos... And you can accept or deny one by one as needed.

Most Android apps show those in a list of over 20 or so permissions and you must agree to all of them before you even open the app.

Actually, you do. You can deny apps that ability yes, but there's other things they could be doing.

Twenty permissions, and agreeing to all of them isn't accurate with the app I mentioned, XPrivacy. I can selectively turn things off and on. There's also LBE Privacy. I an limit access to whatever I want. Granular controls may be more to work with, but less to trust that it's working.

I don't know that you can change one of those options after selecting it without an app reinstall. I know you can for location, but not sure what else.

Actually,
I have been tested it for over two weeks now andd i have scanned it with many virus scanners...
I have looked up if there was no keylogging with looking at the apk programmation...
There is nothing found like keylogging and phishing with me, and it works great...
If you don't beleave me, too bad for you, cause it works great...
I even got imessage on my windows pc with it...
Just use an emulator like bluestacks install aptoide on it and download the imessage chat app...

It really works fine, and I didn't found any spam even in my fake mail-address...

Only a total idiot would give all this information (id/password for one service to an unknown 3rd party , same with CC information etc)

Glad you need apple's "walled garden" to keep you feeling safe.

It isn't a question of those if us who read sites like iMore/android central. If is for the other 80%. Which includes a large number of total idiots.

Sent from the iMore App

The implication of my original statement of the "walled garden" was that Google does very, very little, if anything at all to control what apps are released in the Google Play store, whereas Apple has been very good keeping those type of apps out. The truth is, the majority of consumer using Android almost never fully reads what permissions an app needs before they download it, they just download it assuming Google has screen every app in Google Play.

It really pisses me off, to see that people are always trying to scam others. I really hope no one falls for this. Quite a few people downloaded the fake BBM apps, over the weekend. Hell, they even rated it five stars, because the app told them a five-star rating was necessary for the app to function correctly.

Thanks, for the heads up, Rene.

I'm a fan of Android, but seriously... Google has to do something about Play Store's app vetting process. This is getting out of hand. I know, people bash Apple for having a "locked down" app store, but that might not be such a bad idea. It prevents people from downloading malware, and it could even increase the quality of the available apps.

I agree that the walled garden approach is nice in MANY respects. I don't have to worry about my family having issues with the apps they download. However, there is an advantage to the open approach also. I prefer the Android OS. However, I prefer the apps and selection from Apple's App Store. I'm too heavily invested in Apps to change platforms now.

However, I am not a fan of assuming that any Android app is malicious. It might be. Let the security researchers who know what they are doing judge. For all we know, this app may simply try to connect friends in a new way. My sister-in-law has an Android. My kids have iPods. If this were legit, it means they could text each other instead of "borrowing" my phone.

Don't jump to conclusions, not all developers are trying to scam you.

Seems legit, you know since it makes me sign in with my apple ID, yeah sure i run the risk of having someone buying 1000's of dollars of stuff on the itunes store, but hey i get to iMessage my friends from my android phone right?

The app also has the ability to download other apps in the background, without knowing. So who knows what it's installing on your Android device.

I always stick to official, or well known apps when downloading apps for my LG G2.

Unfortunately, most Android users do not have that luxury. Countless millions of Android users on junk phones all over Asia do not even have access to the Google Play Store. For them (maybe even the majority of Android users) there is no "official" way to get legitimate apps. That's the price they pay.

Its analogous to getting a great "deal" on an "open source" car only to realize it has no air bags and the brakes don't work. But hey, at least it was cheap.

They hate apple but they want to have everything apple do, launcher 7 and a lot of other app from Apple

Sent from the iMore App

At least it's a first step. Plus there's no way it could work without using your  ID.
Even the iPhone version requires you to sign in.
Almost all my friends and family are on iPhones and use iMessage.
That's really the only thing currently stopping me from switching to android, so this is a welcome development!
A question: does Google pull apps they don't approve of like Apple does? I don't have an android device yet , but would like to get this app while I can.

Google does pull apps that are clearly fake/malware/that seem harmfull. They just generally add app first (if they get through automated malware guardian), then go with removal process after complains.

I'm not so sure about iMessage, but FaceTime was supposed to be open. Then patent trolls hit it with lawsuits and it never happened.

Wrong, Apple made promises about Facetime it was in no position to make. It should have secured patents before, and made its promises later.

Can't you just make a second Apple ID without credit card or other info and use that just for iMessage? I did that so my iPad would have a separate iMessage address. Of course, there's the content of the messages, themselves, so I wouldn't be texting my bank information or where I buried the money I made cooking meth, anymore than I would on any insecure channel, but I don't care if someone knows I'm picking up a pizza on the way home.

It's not about what they are reading in your messages. It's about what they are reading and installing on your phone. Do you have your bank info on your phone. I bet you do in an app or a bookmark.

They aren't going to sue, but I bet Apple request that Google pull the app before Google relizes it should pull the app. Thai kind of thing is what keeps me from using an Android. It's just going to get worse.

I really think its time for Google to lock down the Market, they need to check every app before it goes live for the world to use. I then think a downloadable developers market should be for people like us who want everything but know what to look for. Google needs to protect the people that are just basic users, looking to have fun on their phone.

Sent from the iMore App

Would be a good idea to share this with the Android central folks. Don't see it on their site. Might be of more value to them.

Sent from the iMore App

Android permissions given to this fake iMessage app: 1) Read phone status and identity 2) Take pictures and videos 3) Record Audio 4) Read call log 5) Read your contacts 6) Modify or delete the contents of your SD card 7) Full network access 8) View network connections 9) Retrieve running apps 10) control vibration 11) install shortcuts 12) test access to protected storage.

Don't use this app. Plenty of good cross-platform messaging services out there, such as Viber.

guess what? iMessage for iphone also does 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10,

Only reason it can't do the other stuff is that there is no external storage on iphone to move the app to or store data on, and no shortcuts. If you take a second to think about those permissions, you will understand them. ie. obviously it needs to read your contacts so it can....get this.....contact them by imessage!

1. As far as I know, the iPhone can't access the Google Play store to buy or download any apps.

2. Isn't iMore an Apple community, not Android? Shouldn't this be posted in Android Central?

While one could make the argument that an iPhone user could also be carrying and using an Android phone, my question is, why? Unless your job gave you an Android Phone, while your personal phone is an iPhone or Vice Versa, I still think there's no place for info like this in iMore as opposed to Android Central. Anyone who'd consider downloading an iMessage App on Google Play has to know there's no way Apple could've made it because, Apple wouldn't make iMessage for Android.

iMore is an Apple community, you're correct. And who makes and maintains iMessage?

We cover everything Apple, and if that extends to an extremely shady looking Android app hooking into an Apple service, then of course we're interested.

Just the same way that our CrackBerry friends are just as interested in BBM for iPhone as we are...

I was trying to think who should I warn but I've already converted the close people in my life to iPhone.

Somehow I have a feeling it's one of google's in-house jokes? Larry and The L Team love doing these things!

With that said, may I?

"Actually, don't even beware, stay the #$!! away of whatever google does."

It's working great! And I believe this is Apple's security problem. It shouldn't happen in the first place that you can connect to Apple Servers. If the developer could do it, then that's a security hole! Guess what, the app has been pulled from the Play Store anyway.