Let’s face the music, Windows people–Apple software is good; so good, in fact, that we on Windows PC have been clamoring for our own versions of it for quite a long while. In the following guide, we’ll explore the issue to every extent that we can, and determine whether it’s feasible to use (or even hope for) iMessage on the Windows PC. We at Appamatix are just as tech-hungry as you are, and even though we’ve got a foot on each side of the Apple-Windows war, we’ll readily admit that Apple designs some exceptionally compelling first-party software applications.
There are quite a few reasons that Apple’s software has developed the notoriety it has, and the largest of those is the fact that it just works so damn well all of the time! Not only that, but Apple’s software is almost always bundled with their newest hardware, meaning that each purchase will land you wish all of the multimedia and messaging functions that you’ll need when you’re right out of the gate with a new device. Even though Google is beginning to do this fairly succinctly with Android, poor Windows feels like it’s light-years behind. Even though Windows 10 has proven to be a stellar operating system, none of the first party software that it comes bundled with can hold a candle to what you get with Mac OS X or iOS, depending on whether you’re on a Mac or an iPhone or iPad. There’s no equivalent alternative to iMessage on Windows, and while there are third-party alternatives that you can turn to (more on this, shortly), they still require you to seek them out and download them.
What else makes iMessage so good? Perhaps it’s not a surprise that many of the reasons that people want iMessage are similar to the reasons that they want access to FaceTime and GarageBand. The software is straightforward, has a very shallow learning curve that makes it easy to pick up and use, and it’s just as minimalistic as the rest of Apple’s interface design. It’s clean, it’s organized, and somehow, it seems to exude efficiency. In the case of iMessage, you can easily sync your messaging between your Mac computer and your iPhone or iPad, resulting in a unified experience between all of your devices. Keeping up with your contacts has never been simpler.
Enough teasing, though. Whether or not we can get ahold of iMessage on PC seems like it should be a pretty easy thing to answer, and unfortunately, it is. There is no way to run iMessage on your PC. There. I said it. For all intents and purposes, Windows users are locked out of all Apple software that isn’t iTunes or QuickTime Player, which means that applications like FaceTime and GarageBand are off-limits, too.
Sadly, there’s no sign on the horizon of Windows users getting access to these programs, either. Apple has established a very strong precedent for developing software only for its own hardware. Before we get too upset at Apple for being so stalwart and stubborn, it should be said that this development trend has helped them to be massively successful on both the hardware and software front. After all, that’s one of the joys of owning an Apple device, right? You know that it’s going to work and you know that the software included on it is going to function marvelously. It’s a major selling point, and it’s almost a certainty that cross-platform compatibility would erode that to some extent.
Where are Windows users to turn, then?
Practically the only alternative is third-party software, and thankfully, there are options available that will give iMessage a run for its money. We’ve assembled a few of them below, each of which will be able to deliver much of what you might enjoy with iMessage, except on a Windows machine! As much as we’re able, we’ll try to keep them as free to access as Apple’s bundled software.
Even though I’m a happy iPhone owner, it might surprise you to know that I use alternative messaging apps more often than I use iMessage. Chief among those is Facebook Messenger, which inherently provides some of the best cross-platform support that I’ve ever found.
Because it sprang from the Facebook service itself, Messenger is forever rooted in the Facebook interface itself. If you go to the Facebook web page, all of your contacts and message are waiting for you, and if you open up Messenger (whether through your web browser or your mobile application) there too will you find everything that you want, from message history to the full list of your contacts. It’s not limited by platform, operating system, or device, which makes it an invaluable tool for someone that’s moving from system to system. I work on a laptop, relax on a desktop, and am on my phone dozens of times per day. Through it all, I always have access to everything that I’ve sent and received on Messenger. Without any doubt, this is my top recommendation if you’re looking for an iMessage alternative.
Literally the only drawback is that it’s tied to Facebook, which means that your available contacts will be largely limited to those you’re in touch with on Facebook. Alternatively, it could be used as a reason to get in touch with more people on the social media giant, which can only be good for your own networking.
My next recommendation is another mainstay in the mobile messaging world, and the recent addition of a web portal that allows you to use it on any system with a web browser only enhances its functionality. WhatsApp has been around for several years and has undergone several major changes, but it’s still one of the most straightforward messaging services that you’ll find.
Part of what makes WhatsApp such an enjoyable experience is similar to what makes iMessage desirable–it’s straightforward, streamlined, and “pure messenger.” It isn’t rooted in a social media service and doesn’t provide an excess of visual flair in the ways that apps like Snapchat do. Instead, it focuses intensely on providing a rock-solid messaging service across mobile devices, making use of your pre-existing list of contacts in order to free you from the usual burdens of plain old SMS text messaging.
Once you have WhatsApp set up on your mobile device, you can hop over to the WhatsApp Web portal. Syncing your phone’s app to WhatsApp Web is as easy as scanning a single QR code, after which you’ll be temporarily tethered to a web service that gives you the exact same options from the comfort of your computer. Handy, right?
Perhaps this is an off-the-wall recommendation, but Skype has been around for a long time. It’s cross-platform, fast, and has a plethora of features that usually go far beyond what the average user would ever need. What truly makes this an exceptional messaging option, though, is its video calling feature that the software is widely regarded as having pioneered.
Skype was recently acquired by Microsoft, but it doesn’t always come bundled with fresh installations of Windows. That said, it’s a free download that can also be found on iPhones, Android devices, and other mobile hardware, making it truly versatile. The group messaging and group calling features are still some of the best that you’ll find on any software, and it’s the reason that Skype has remained a hugely popular messaging choice for several years running.
Though you can allow Skype to access your contacts when you set up your profile on a mobile device, the Windows version has no such functionality, and it will be dependent upon you finding the Skype information of those you’d like to contact. Businesses and individuals alike love Skype, and there are few services in the world that allow people to more easily keep in touch across long distances. The success of the software is the reason that “Skyping someone” has become a popular phrase for contacting someone via video call across a vast distance.
Of course, there are more options available to you, when you’re looking for an iMessage replacement. Snapchat has become a surprisingly strong messaging app, and if you’re willing to download an emulator, it can function perfectly well on your Windows PC. You can also use WeChat, which has been gaining quite a lot of popularity over the past year. Kik Messenger is extremely popular among the young crowd, and can be accessed on the PC with the use of an emulator, also.
While each of these alternatives is great in its own right, there is no pitch-perfect to iMessage on PC, and there’s no indication nor hint from Apple that we should expect to be seeing one anytime soon. That said, I highly recommend any of the above alternatives, and while they might not offer everything that iMessage does, you might just find that you enjoy them more! If you enjoyed the above article, leave your comments below, and don’t forget to share!