In a groundbreaking move, Nothing Phone 2 has become the first Android OEM to enable iMessage functionality on its device, bridging the gap between Android and iPhone users. The company’s new “Nothing Chats” app, powered by the Sunbird messaging platform, now allows Nothing Phone 2 owners to send iMessages to iPhones.
Starting this Friday, November 17th, users in North America, the EU, and other European countries will have access to the coveted blue bubbles associated with iMessages. According to Nothing, this initiative aims to break down barriers created by different messaging services that have traditionally divided phone users.
Nothing’s FAQ assures users that Sunbird’s architecture ensures message delivery without storing them at any point during their journey. The messages are not stored on Sunbird’s servers. Marques Brownlee, a prominent tech reviewer, confirmed that the service involves signing in on a Mac Mini, which acts as a relay to facilitate the cross-platform communication.
Jane Nho, Nothing’s US head of PR, explained that Sunbird securely stores user iCloud credentials as a token in an encrypted database associated with Mac Minis in the US or Europe, depending on the user’s location. After two weeks of inactivity, Sunbird deletes the account information.
The Washington Post had the opportunity to test Nothing Chats and reported that it works “for the most part.” While some advanced iMessage features like message editing and full Tapback reactions are not fully functional, basic features such as group SMS messaging are supported.
Nothing assures users that the app will eventually include read receipts and message reactions. Although group iMessages are limited to participants on iMessage, Nothing Chats supports SMS, ensuring compatibility in group SMS messaging.
Sunbird, typically available through a waitlist, will be exclusively accessible through the Nothing Phone 2 for the next few months. The timing of this feature’s debut raises questions about potential responses from Apple, either legally or technically, to halt its implementation. Carl Pei, Nothing’s CEO, downplays the app’s impact, stating it won’t “change the world” but believes it will “start a conversation.”
The European Union is currently investigating whether iMessage should be designated as an Apple “core platform service.” We have reached out to Apple for comment on Nothing’s plans and will update this article with Apple’s response.