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Finally. Microsoft incorporates iOS into phone link.


kojack

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FInally, Microsoft has pulled their head out of their rectum and did some coding to make iOS devices work with phone link. I have been crying for this for YEARS!  Since screenovate came out with mobile connect, I have been saying Microsoft is one of the largest software companies in the world and this little company can do it before you?  WTF?  

 

Anywhoo, yesterday they put it through the insiders builds so hopefully it will be in the wild within a month or so.  I am sure it will function reliably whereas screenovate's technology (now being used by intel), has been flakey and unreliable at best. At worst, you start it up and it crashes. 

 

I will be keeping a keen eye on this one since I hate having to pick up my phone at my desk when in the middle of doing work.  I know, 1st world problems, but it's my problem. 

 

 

 

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Information.

https://blogs.windows.com/windows-insider/2023/02/28/previewing-phone-link-for-iphone-users-on-windows-11-with-windows-insiders/

 

There are some compromises compared to what you'd get by just using a Mac, or the phone directly.  (Doesn't fetch message history, can't send images, can't reply to group messages, ...)  I think that they're basically doing the best that they can with the limited Bluetooth messaging interface that Apple provides (that you'd use to, say, reply to incoming messages using the dictation system in your car).

 

But if it works well for what it does do, that'll be something anyway.

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That's probably coming in later updates I would say.  It's just the beginning of working on iOS.  I think it will work just as well as android once they get more coding done on the initial software package. 

 

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4 minutes ago, kojack said:

That's probably coming in later updates I would say.  It's just the beginning of working on iOS.  I think it will work just as well as android once they get more coding done on the initial software package.

 

Yeah, the thing is (speaking as someone who has done some iOS dev work), there's no supported mechanism for a programmer to get at the messaging data on an iPhone or to send messages (other than the simple Bluetooth messaging interface), Apple has that locked down.  Intel's solution also uses the Bluetooth messaging interface with the same limitations, and "third-party" iMessage solutions that I have seen rely on jailbreaking an iPhone/iPad or running messages through an actual Mac.  Doing any better would require cooperation from Apple.

 

Now, Microsoft may be able to strike some agreement with Apple allowing them to get to things in a way that no one else can.  There is precedent for this; as an example, they did recently start offering iCloud Photos integration in the Windows 11 photos app, and that required collaboration between Microsoft and Apple to make happen.  On the other hand, Apple has made statements in the past making it clear that they view iMessage as something that they want to keep locked down, as a way to keep people in the Apple ecosystem, so I don't know if they'd be willing to "partner" with Microsoft on that.  (This was around considering whether to offer an iMessage app for Android.)  They may be forced to cooperate soon, though, again looking at the new rules coming out of the EU digital markets act.

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2 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

Yeah, the thing is (speaking as someone who has done some iOS dev work), there's no supported mechanism for a programmer to get at the messaging data on an iPhone or to send messages (other than the simple Bluetooth messaging interface), Apple has that locked down.  Intel's solution also uses the Bluetooth messaging interface with the same limitations, and "third-party" iMessage solutions that I have seen rely on jailbreaking an iPhone/iPad or running messages through an actual Mac.  Doing any better would require cooperation from Apple.

 

Now, Microsoft may be able to strike some agreement with Apple allowing them to get to things in a way that no one else can.  There is precedent for this; as an example, they did recently start offering iCloud Photos integration in the Windows 11 photos app, and that required collaboration between Microsoft and Apple to make happen.  On the other hand, Apple has made statements in the past making it clear that they view iMessage as something that they want to keep locked down, as a way to keep people in the Apple ecosystem, so I don't know if they'd be willing to "partner" with Microsoft on that.  (This was around considering whether to offer an iMessage app for Android.)  They may be forced to cooperate soon, though, again looking at the new rules coming out of the EU digital markets act.

They should. They are pushing users away from iphone by doing what their doing. Most people don't want to use Mac, but use iphone. I think it's coming soon however, and I think ms knows this.  But even basic reliable functionality would be welcome at this point.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another one...

I had totally forgotten about this, but I just got an invite to sign up for Beeper.  (I put myself on the waitlist when the service was first announced, maybe a couple of years ago?)

 

I was interested in this app not only for iMessage-on-Windows support, but because I really like the idea of having one app that can handle multiple chat networks.

 

I used to use Trillian with AIM, ICQ, MSN/Windows Live, Yahoo!, Google, Skype, and Facebook IM accounts.  Trillian is now useless as a multi-network client because all of the networks that I listed there have either shut down, or changed how they work to the point that Trillian can't interface with them anymore.  Trillian doesn't seem to be interested in reviving any of this functionality for the networks that still exist or new networks (WhatsApp, Discord, Telegram, etc.)...  Their business model has shifted more to running their own private IM services for businesses.

 

Anyway.

Beeper supports modern networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Discord, Google Chat, and ... iMessage.

Since iMessage requires either a real Apple iOS/iPadOS device or working macOS instance (which doesn't necessarily have to be running on a real Mac), their iMessage support comes in two flavors; cloud, or self-hosted.  Cloud is easiest to set up.  They provide the service by actually hooking up your Apple account to a real macOS instance that they host and using that to pass the messages through.  There's a page on how it works including some notes on how they handle security.  Self-hosted is an option if that makes you nervous; the self-hosted option requires you to install their iMessage gateway software on your own Mac.

 

Unlike the Bluetooth phone tether solution, using a Mac gateway allows access to a richer experience (send & receive photos/files, group messaging, etc.).

 

Anyway.  I downloaded the app, successfully hooked it up to an Apple/iMessage account, and I'll be seeing how it goes...  I'm not going to hook up any other networks until I see if this is even usable for iMessage, which is the one that I use the most.

 

[Edit]

Looks like you can self-host the whole thing if you want too.

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I let my Beeper invite go past since there is a new app called sunbird coming out as well.  They will have web/android support. Best part it's free unlike beeper which is 10 bucks American per month.  A bit to much for what I want.  Now, if Microsoft can reliably give me the basics I am cool with that.  I just want to send and receive messages via my pc when I am working instead of having to pick up my phone to respond which may be on my other desk charging etc.  Keep me up to date on the beeper thing though.

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Beeper is now free as well (check their blog, there’s an article about it). They will put certain features behind a paywall for a “pro version” at some point. I’ve been using the app only for a day or so, and while it is “rough around the edges” in some ways, it has been stable and it is the best “iMessage-on-Windows” experience I have had to date, easily. I’ve also sent some questions in through their built-in support chat and they’ve been very responsive and friendly.

 

[Edit]

Blog link - https://blog.beeper.com/p/beeper-is-now-free

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Cool, will do.  I have an android phone I was waiting for this to become a thing for way less than 10 a month.  It's not a huge amount but at this point, everything adds up.  

 

I am gone to check about their payments now!

 

Awesome.  How did you get it on windows? Did you download it from the playstore on your pc?

 

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4 minutes ago, kojack said:

Awesome.  How did you get it on windows? Did you download it from the playstore on your pc?

 

They have a full desktop version.

https://www.beeper.com/download

 

The weirdest thing about it is you have to link Google Contacts to get contacts working, so that means I have to do some double contacts work (between Apple and Google) to have contact names (rather than phone numbers) show up right in Beeper.  They are saying they will support Apple contacts on Windows later this year.

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damn, I am 165xxx in line.  Ha ha.  

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12 minutes ago, kojack said:

damn, I am 165xxx in line.  Ha ha.  

 

https://blog.beeper.com/p/state-of-the-app-spring-2023

Here they are saying they hope to clear out the waitlist in the next three months.  (We'll see....)

 

There seems to be a lot of effort going into this and I have no idea how these guys are making any money, if they aren't charging for the app...

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11 minutes ago, Aaron44126 said:

 

https://blog.beeper.com/p/state-of-the-app-spring-2023

Here they are saying they hope to clear out the waitlist in the next three months.  (We'll see....)

I will keep you posted when I get my invite.  I have been waiting for this for ages.  

 

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I was testing some cross-device "awareness" this morning and this is pretty slick.  For example, if I get a message and then "read" it in Beeper, the unread mark properly goes away on my phone and watch.  Same if I go the other way, the unread alert dot thing goes away in Beeper if I "dismiss" a message on my watch.  It also seems to know if I'm actively engaged in a conversation from Beeper and it will avoid alerting from my watch on every reply.  Very similar behavior to how it works if I'm just using the real Mac iMessage client.

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Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

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19 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

I was testing some cross-device "awareness" this morning and this is pretty slick.  For example, if I get a message and then "read" it in Beeper, the unread mark properly goes away on my phone and watch.  Same if I go the other way, the unread alert dot thing goes away in Beeper if I "dismiss" a message on my watch.  It also seems to know if I'm actively engaged in a conversation from Beeper and it will avoid alerting from my watch on every reply.  Very similar behavior to how it works if I'm just using the real Mac iMessage client.

That is slick, A much better implementation than any other setup I have tried.  Hopefully beeper makes me happy.  How did you set it up? just enter your apple id and password and away you go?

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3 hours ago, kojack said:

That is slick, A much better implementation than any other setup I have tried.  Hopefully beeper makes me happy.  How did you set it up? just enter your apple id and password and away you go?

 

For the cloud-based setup (running iMessage through one of their Macs or virtual Macs), you have to provide your Apple ID and password as you say, respond to a 2FA prompt, and then if you want SMS to pass-through as well you have to go to your phone settings and turn on text message forwarding to their Mac.  That's really it.

 

I'm mildly uncomfortable about having one of their systems hooked up to my iCloud account (despite their security promises) so, if I do decide to continue using Beeper, at some point I will figure out the self-hosted option for the iMessage gateway.  I do have a couple of Mac Minis that I could task with that job.

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Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

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Ok, I will buy a mini (which I want to do anyways for messing with), an older one is fine for me as I can hack it to run new software/os anyways.  

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1 hour ago, kojack said:

Ok, I will buy a mini (which I want to do anyways for messing with), an older one is fine for me as I can hack it to run new software/os anyways.  

 

I've done some poking on what needs to be done to self-host the iMessage bridge, and even engaged the Beeper guys (prompt & detailed response, nice).

 

Basically:

  • Need a Mac running at least macOS 11.  If you want iCloud "Advanced Data Protection" turned on, you'll need at least macOS 13.1.  (I was forced to turn ADP off because the Beeper Mac running the bridge for me is only macOS 13.0.1.)
  • You have to disable SIP on the Mac to get full functionality of the bridge.  Some features like typing notifications and reactions only work if SIP is disabled.  Disabling SIP opens some notable security holes so it's probably best to use a dedicated device for the bridge, not a Mac that you use for other stuff as well.
  • Otherwise, basically you have to be comfortable doing some terminal & text config file stuff to get it set up (pretty typical of doing anything Linux/UNIX-y).

OpenCore Legacy Patcher has nice directions & GUI stuff to help get older Macs running on the latest version of macOS.  It looks like you should be in good shape if you have a Mac Mini 2012 model or newer.  I have a 2010 model, so it has a few gotchas — broken GPU acceleration (doesn't seem like it will matter for this) and broken USB 1.1 support (can be worked around by attaching USB 1.1 devices to a USB 2 hub).  I do have a newer Mac Mini as well, but it is used for "work" so I don't want to task it for this project.

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Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal)

  • M2 Max
    • 4 efficiency cores
    • 8 performance cores
    • 38-core Apple GPU
  • 96GB LPDDR5-6400
  • 8TB SSD
  • macOS 14 "Sonoma"
  • 16.2" 3456×2234 120 Hz mini-LED VRR display
  • Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3
  • 99.6Wh battery
  • 1080p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 IPS display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3)
  • 95Wh battery
  • 720p IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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I think im going to buy a base refurbished mini to run it all on. and frig around with macos too

 

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And here's a hands-on article regarding Microsoft's iOS support in the Phone Link app.

https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/24/23654672/microsoft-phone-link-hands-on-imessage-ios

 

...Basically, as I expected, they are making the best of the limited Bluetooth messaging interface that the iPhone has, and it "works" but comes with a fair amount of limitations.  They don't seem to have any "special access" to do a more advanced integration.

 

It doesn't keep message history, which is unfortunate.  I understand that they can't "fetch" message history from the phone, but they should at least be able to save everything that your PC has "seen" or sent?  Maybe they are worried that it would be confusing with time gaps in the history from when your phone was out of range of the PC.

 

It does seem to have a reasonable experience taking or placing phone calls from your PC, but that's a lot less interesting to me.

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Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, 2023 (personal)

  • M2 Max
    • 4 efficiency cores
    • 8 performance cores
    • 38-core Apple GPU
  • 96GB LPDDR5-6400
  • 8TB SSD
  • macOS 14 "Sonoma"
  • 16.2" 3456×2234 120 Hz mini-LED VRR display
  • Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3
  • 99.6Wh battery
  • 1080p webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

Also — iPhone 12 Pro 512GB, Apple Watch Series 8

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2021
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 IPS display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3)
  • 95Wh battery
  • 720p IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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21 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

And here's a hands-on article regarding Microsoft's iOS support in the Phone Link app.

https://www.theverge.com/2023/3/24/23654672/microsoft-phone-link-hands-on-imessage-ios

 

...Basically, as I expected, they are making the best of the limited Bluetooth messaging interface that the iPhone has, and it "works" but comes with a fair amount of limitations.  They don't seem to have any "special access" to do a more advanced integration.

 

It doesn't keep message history, which is unfortunate.  I understand that they can't "fetch" message history from the phone, but they should at least be able to save everything that your PC has "seen" or sent?  Maybe they are worried that it would be confusing with time gaps in the history from when your phone was out of range of the PC.

 

It does seem to have a reasonable experience taking or placing phone calls from your PC, but that's a lot less interesting to me.

As a user of dell's and intel's version of mobile connect, If MS can just make that work reliably, with no drop outs etc across multiple PCs...I am sold. I just want basic imessage functionality when using my PC's.  

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pretty neat.

 

i'd like to add i just got and broke a lenovo duet 5 and it atomatically connected to my cell, i think i can share data text and make calls pretty neat. and if you want a device to compliment your cell phone this little laptop for 400 cad is unbeatable in price. i initially heard good reviews on the keyboard and thought whatever ill need to check it out, and yes the keyboard on the duet 5 is actually functional dare i say exceptional

ZEUS-COMING SOON

            Omen 16 2021

            Zenbook 14 oled

            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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iv'e been using the text feature on my duet 5 chromebook and its pretty cool sending a text via a keyboard. much easier typing but not quite as fast if that makes sense.lol ok it doesn't.  the point is I feel more comfortable and at home sending a text via keyboard

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ZEUS-COMING SOON

            Omen 16 2021

            Zenbook 14 oled

            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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19 hours ago, ryan said:

iv'e been using the text feature on my duet 5 chromebook and its pretty cool sending a text via a keyboard. much easier typing but not quite as fast if that makes sense.lol ok it doesn't.  the point is I feel more comfortable and at home sending a text via keyboard

This is the reason I am wanting this so bad. I use iPhone for imessage, if beeper works good, I won't mind not having an iPhone anymore, or...if phone link has the kinks ironed out as I suspect they will in a month or so, I will also be fine.  I am moving away from working at bell so I can be with my son full time.  I will be spending more time on the computers working and creating so I want to have communication without having to stop what I am doing and pick up my phone/tablet to do it. 

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Workstation - Dell XPS 8940 - desktop creative powerhouse

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8 hours ago, kojack said:

I am moving away from working at bell so I can be with my son full time.

 

 

If I was rich I'd send you a million bucks, you sir are a great person, I wish my parents cared for me

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ZEUS-COMING SOON

            Omen 16 2021

            Zenbook 14 oled

            Vivobook 15x oled

 

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