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FAQ

Q: Can I do this without a Mac?

Yes! You will need to set up a macOS VM on either Windows or Linux. We have a Windows guide pinned on our subreddit, and we can give you additional assistance with Linux and iMessage activation in our Discord.

Disclaimer: This is meant to be done on Apple Hardware

Q: Will I need port-forwarding for this to work?

No, we utilize Ngrok to create a secure tunnel between your server and your client. You can optionally switch to LocalTunnel, which is another tunneling service, or disable this entirely to use your own local IP or dynamic DNS.

Q: Is my data encrypted?

Yes, all connections are done over HTTPS/WSS and utilizes TLS encryption by default

Q: How can I support the developers?

We don't charge anything for the use of our applications or code, however you can support us by donating on our donations page.

Q: How is BlueBubbles different than AirMessage?

  • Dedicated iOS and Android style themes so you can choose your look

  • Highly community driven, with contributions and suggestions welcomed!

  • Dedicated Desktop apps for Windows and Linux

  • Totally self-hosted, so you don't have to rely on developer servers

  • Tons of customization & settings to personalize your experience

  • Private API features for that extra bit of functionality

Q: Why do I need to sign up for Google's Firebase Service?

BlueBubbles does not require an open socket connection at all times, to reduce battery usage. We use Google FCM to still be able to send notifications even when the app is closed.

Q: Why does the MacOS server require Full Disk Access?

MacOS does not allow app's to read from iMessage's chat database unless they have Full Disk Access.

Q: How do I keep my Mac awake, even when I close my laptop lid?

If you are using a Mac Mini or Mac Desktop, where there is no lid, you should be able to use the built-in settings option to "Keep macOS Awake". If you are running macOS on a laptop, you can use an app called Amphetamine to keep your Mac awake.

Q: Can I share my QR Code?

No, your QR code should be private because it contains your server password and Firebase credentials. If it gets leaked, you should redo your Firebase setup and change your server password to avoid compromising your messages.

Q: Can we react to messages, send effects, send replies, etc?

Yes, we have extra functionality in the form of our Private API bundle. This does require some extra configurations; instructions can be found here.

Q: Does BlueBubbles support SMS?

Not at this time, though we hope to add this feature in the near future!

Q: Every image I send or receive shows up as 'Unknown group event' on my device, am I doing something wrong?

No, you are not doing anything wrong! This is actually a bug with macOS Mojave 10.14 that has not been patched by Apple (this bug may be present on other macOS versions as well). Follow these steps to potentially fix the issue:

WARNING: This process will erase all your Mac's Messages history!

1. Sign out from iMessage from your Mac.
2. Finder -> Go (top bar) -> Library (Hold "Option" key for this to appear)
3. Locate and open "Messages" folder
4. Delete every file that *ends with* .db in the name - if the has an additional extension, you should try this process first WITHOUT deleting those files.
5. Restart your computer
6. Open Messages and sign into iMessage again
7. Delete the BlueBubbles app from your phone.
8. Reboot your phone.
9. Re-install the BlueBubbles macOS Server and sign back into your server.

Q: I'm not getting notifications on my lock screen, but they appear when I unlock my phone. What am I doing wrong?

The issue is with the Android option, "Skip lock screen" after face unlock. This needs to be turned off for the notifications to show.

Q: How can I make sure my Mac starts up after a power failure?

In System Preferences, you must turn on the "Automatically turn back on after a power failure" option in order for your Mac to reboot after a power failure. In addition, turn on the "Startup with macOS" option in the BlueBubbles settings to make sure it runs when you login.