Sunbird, the app that brings iMessage to Android, has temporarily shut down the service over “security concerns,” as first reported by 9to5Google. In a notice to users, Sunbird says it has “decided to pause Sunbird usage for now” while it investigates reports that its messages aren’t actually end-to-end encrypted.
Sunbird launched in 2022 as a messaging app that attempts to put the blue versus green bubble battle to rest. It has only been available to those who sign up for its waitlist, touting numerous privacy features, like end-to-end encryption, no message data collection, and no ads.
At the time, Nothing said it had to fix “several bugs” within the app. However, its removal from the Play Store came around the same time a post from Texts.blog revealed that messages sent via Sunbird may not be end-to-end encrypted. Android developer Dylan Roussel came to similar conclusions and also found Sunbird stores thousands of media files on the cloud service Firebase. That means Sunbird’s claims that it doesn’t store data on its own servers are only partially true, as the company appears to be just shipping the information off externally.
Sunbird still hasn’t commented on the app’s shutdown, but its message to users says, “We will update you when we are ready to proceed.” As pointed out by 9to5Google, the app is no longer listed on the Google Play Store even though it was available to download last month, per an archived version of the page.