How to Get and Use iMessage on Your Android Device

Use the weMessage app to use iMessage

This article explains how to set up iMessage on Android. These directions work only if you have access to a Mac device and an Android phone running Android 5.0 or newer.

How to Set up weMessage to Use iMessage for Android

One of the key differences between iPhone and Android is that Android devices can’t use iMessage. However, there is one way around Apple’s control over iMessage: a program called weMessage.

You’ll be using software that hasn’t gone through the typical Apple approval process. While there’s nothing wrong with that, you do have to trust the developer of the software not to abuse your trust.

Configure weMessage on Mac

  1. You need Java installed on your Mac to use weMessage. Check that you have it by navigating to Applications Utilities, then launching the Terminal app pre-installed on your Mac. Type java, then click return.

    If you get an error, you don’t have Java. If you don’t see the error, you’ve got it. Make sure you’ve got the latest version by downloading it here.

  2. Next, download the weMessage program for your Mac.

  3. In the weMessage folder, double-click the run.command file to launch weMessage. If you get an error saying the program can’t run because it’s from an unidentified developer, click the Apple logo > System Preferences Security & Privacy > General, then click Open Anyway.

  4. Next up, you’ll need to enable some Accessibility features of your Mac. In the System Preferences > Security & Privacy screen, click the Privacy tab, then click Accessibility.

  5. Click the lock icon at the bottom left to unlock your settings. If prompted, enter the password you use to log into your Mac.

  6. Click the + icon, then navigate through your hard drive to Applications > Utilities.

  7. Click Terminal > Open.

  8. Double-click run.command again to launch the program. This will launch a Terminal window.

  9. Enter the email address you use with iMessage.

  10. Next, enter a password.

    weMessage app running on a Mac screenshot
     The weMessage app running on a Mac.  Lifewire

    Your password doesn’t have to match your iMessage password, and maybe shouldn’t, since your Apple ID is used for so many things.

How to Set up weMessage on Android

  1. On your Android device, go to the Google Play Store and install the weMessage app.

  2. Launch weMessage on your Android.

  3. Tap Continue.

  4. In the Permissions Error prompt, tap OKAY to give the app permission to access your device settings.

  5. When Settings opens, tap the button next to Allow modifying system settings to give weMessage access.

  6. Tap the back arrow at the top to return to the app.

  7. When asked to choose a default SMS app, tap weMessage and then Set as default. Choose OKAY on the “help” prompt.

  8. Enter your Mac’s IP address into the app so that it knows how to communicate with your computer. Learn how to find your IP address if you’re not sure how.

  9. Enter your iMessage email address and the password you chose during setup above.

  10. Enter your iMessage email address and the password you chose during setup above.

Assuming everything is configured correctly, you’ll see a screen for all your conversations. Test that you can send iMessage texts from Android by texting an iPhone; you’ll know it’s working if the text bubbles are blue.

You’re Not Done Yet!

The instructions so far only work when your Android phone is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac. That’s useful, but you want your Android to use iMessage no matter where you are. To do that, you need to set up Port Forwarding.

Port Forwarding configures your home Wi-Fi network to let in connections from the outside. That’s how your Android device will connect back to the weMessage app on your Mac from anywhere.

The way you set up Port Forwarding is different for pretty much every router or modem. Because of that, there’s no single set of instructions that can be provided. The best way to learn to do this is by using the video and instructions on the weMessage website.

Once you’ve set up Port Forwarding, test the set up by turning off Wi-Fi on your Android device and sending a text to someone using iMessage.

iMessage might not be the only iPhone feature you want to use on Android. You may be able to use Siri on Android or even use a few iTunes features.

Why You Can’t Normally Use iMessage on Android

You usually can’t use iMessage on Android because Apple uses a special end-to-end encryption system in iMessage that secures the messages from the device they’re sent on, through Apple’s servers, to the device receiving them. Because the messages are encrypted, the iMessage network is only usable by devices that know how to decrypt the messages.

Apple keeps iMessage and all its cool effects and features, including iMessage apps, exclusive to devices running iOS and macOS as a way to drive people to buy its products. That’s why there’s no iMessage for Android app available on the Google Play store.

Person using an Android phone with iMessage
Maddy Price / Lifewire

What You Need to Use weMessage

In order to use weMessage, you need the following:

  • An iMessage account: This is probably your existing Apple ID.
  • A Mac running macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher: Using weMessage requires running a program on your Mac.
  • Java 7 or higher installed on your Mac.
  • An Android phone running Android OS 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.
  • The weMessage app on your Android phone.

How weMessage Lets You Use iMessage on Android

While iMessage can’t work on Android devices, iMessage does work on both iOS and macOS. It’s the Mac compatibility that matters most here. weMessage is a program for Mac that routes messages through the iMessage network. This means all of your texts are sent to weMessage, then passed on to iMessage for sending to and from macOS, iOS, and Android devices, while still using Apple’s encryption.

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