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Apple Blocks Third-Party Apps Using iMessage to Link Android Phones

Apple has reportedly shuttered third-party apps that let Android and iPhone users communicate via iMessage.

The tech giant has “taken steps to protect our users by blocking techniques that exploit fake credentials in order to gain access to iMessage,” according to a statement by the company shared in a Saturday (Dec. 9) Bloomberg News report.

The statement goes on to say that “these techniques posed significant risks to user security and privacy, including the potential for metadata exposure and enabling unwanted messages, spam, and phishing attacks.”

As the report notes, iMessage provides encrypted messaging between Apple devices, though the company has long pushed back against calls to expand this service to Android.

Last month saw another Bloomberg report that Apple was planning to adopt the technological standard known as RCS (rich communication services) to allow for smoother text messaging between iPhones and Android devices. 

It’s a move that marks a major change for Apple, which had historically resisted use of RCS in spite of pressure from companies such as Google.

RCS is an enhanced version of SMS and MMS texting, backed by the GSM Association, that offers more advanced features across different platforms. RCS will let Apple users text Android users via WiFi, share larger photo and video files, more easily conduct group chats, track message delivery and read receipts. 

“Apple has long been protective of its iMessage system, which offers exclusive features to Apple device users,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “However, the company now plans to integrate RCS alongside iMessage. Apple said in a statement that the RCS Universal Profile will provide a better interoperability experience compared to traditional SMS or MMS.”

In the past, Apple chief executive Tim Cook had argued against adopting RCS, instead saying consumers in search of better texting capabilities should consider buying iPhones for their family members.

Meanwhile, sales of iPhones have apparently been lagging historical trends, while store inventories have risen.

Recent data from KeyBanc Capital Markets has found that while there has been strong demand for iPhone 15 Pro and Max, it hasn’t been enough to completely offset slower sales of other models like the iPhone 15 and Plus.

Apple reported on Nov. 3 that the iPhone, its primary revenue generator, enjoyed an increase in sales during the September quarter, with the company expecting this trend to continue in the last three months of 2023.

Speaking during an earnings call, Cook sought to allay concerns about the tech giant losing market share in China to rivals like Huawei, noting that the iPhone 15 models set a quarterly record for sales in mainland China in the September quarter.