Nothing Phone users see iMessage app swiftly removed from Play Store

Serious security issues have been raised

Nothing Phone (2) review
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

Well, that didn't last long. After the fanfare that Nothing would bring an app which allows Nothing Phone 2 owners to exchange iMessage conversations with their iPhone-owning friends, the Nothing Chats app has been pulled from the Google Play Store.

According to Nothing, its Chats app has been removed so the firm can "fix several bugs", but reports suggest the issue is far more serious than that.

App developer Dylan Roussel has detailed what appears to be serious security flaws with the Sunbird platform - which Nothing Chats uses to get around the Apple walled-garden of iMessage.

Roussel claims, "Sunbird has access to every message sent and received through the app on your device." That's not great for your privacy. 

He goes on to say "all of the documents (images, videos, audios, pdfs, vCards...) sent through Nothing Chat AND Sunbird are public" and "Nothing Chats is not end-to-end encrypted."

This clearly contradicts Nothing founder Carl Pei's claims that the firm's app is secure, as we reported just a few days ago, and Nothing co-founder Akis Evangelidis' claim that messages in Chats are end-to-end encrypted.

When will Nothing Chats return?

Nothing has currently said it "will be delaying the launch until further notice", so there is no time scale - however, there's a chance it may not return at all.

Since the announcement of Nothing Chats on 14 November, Apple has confirmed it will bring RCS (Rich Communication Services) support to its own Messages app in 2024 - something which has been a major sticking point for Google and Android users over the years.

While RCS won't replace iMessage functionality for Apple-to-Apple device comms, it will enhance messages with non-Apple devices such as providing communication over wi-fi as well as cellular, group chats, read receipts, media sharing and more.

There are a couple of key features which Apple won't support with RCS though - end-to-end encryption (which iMessage does have and keeps all your messages secure), while chat bubbles with Android users will remain green rather than the blue you get using iMessage.

With a host of more useful features for communication between Apple and Android devices though, the need for Nothing Chats diminishes and this security issue will not have helped the app's chances of sticking around.

John McCann

John has been a technology journalist for more than a decade, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He’s reported on pretty much every area of consumer technology, from laptops, tablets, smartwatches and smartphones to smart speakers, automotive, headphones and more. During his time in journalism, John has written for TechRadar, T3, Shortlist, What Laptop, Windows 8 magazine, Gizmodo UK, Saga Magazine and Saga Exceptional, and he’s appeared in the Evening Standard and Metro newspapers.

Outside of work, John is a passionate Watford FC and Green Bay Packers fan, enjoys a Sunday afternoon watching the F1, and is also a Guinness World Record Holder.