Apple says iMessage on Android ‘seemed like a disposable item’

Close iMessage icon

Robert Triggs / Android Authority


  • An Apple executive has explained why iMessage is not on Android.
  • The director claimed that an Android port would have held back innovation.
  • He added that an Android port “seemed like a disposable item”.

Apple’s iMessage is limited to iOS devices only, but company chief Craig Federighi sent an email in 2013 suggesting that an Android version of iMessage would result in more Android sales.

“I’m afraid iMessage on Android would only remove an obstacle for iPhone families giving their children Android phones,” the Apple CEO told colleague Eddie Cue at the time.

Federighi explained the apparent context of the email thread:

The back and forth with Eddie was, if we want to enter a market and build an application, we have to be in it in a way that’s going to make a difference. That we would have many customers, that we could deliver great experiences.

“And so if we had released an app that really didn’t gain critical mass on other platforms, it would have hindered us from innovating in all the ways we wanted to innovate in messaging for our customers, and wouldn’t have accomplished much in any other way.” he continued.

Apple felt it had to choose where to invest its resources to make a difference, Federighi said, adding that an Android version of iMessage therefore “seemed like a throwaway item that wouldn’t serve the world.”

Is this the real reason?

For what it’s worth, Federighi also used that email thread at the time to wonder how iMessage might appeal to Android users who don’t have many friends on iOS. He also noted that iMessage needed to be more than a “marginally better app” to help people move from competing messaging platforms.

Would you download iMessage for Android?

223 votes

Still, we can’t help but feel that Apple’s main reason for opposing an Android port is that it would mean fewer iPhones being sold, as the CEO’s controversial email suggests. Indeed, the current controversy over the green bubble/blue bubble is fueling iPhone sales among young people in the US.

It’s also worth noting that the company has previously provided Android apps such as Apple Music and Apple TV (on Android TV). In fact, the Android version of Apple Music was a pretty bad experience in the beginning. Regardless, it seems that Apple is still determined to keep iMessage exclusive to iOS and Mac devices for now.