Technology Sunbird shutdown after security and privacy concerns

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Sunbird, an app that is designed to deliver iMessages to Android devices, has been temporarily shut down due to security concerns. Sunbird this week sent out a notification to users letting them know about the shutdown (via 9to5Google).

Sunbird said that it was investigating security issues that had been raised by the Nothing Chats iMessage app, and shortly after, told users that Sunbird usage had been paused. "We will update you when we are ready to proceed," read the notification.

The Sunbird app was first introduced in late 2022, and it has been limited to customers that signed up for the waitlist. The Sunbird website describes the app as unifying "the world's most popular messaging apps" into a single app, with support for iMessage, SMS/MMS, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Using Sunbird on an Android device allowed Android users to send messages to iPhone users that were delivered as iMessage "blue bubbles" rather than green text messages. The app claimed to have end-to-end encryption and confidential messaging for these Android to ‌iPhone‌ conversations, but those claims have been in question, leading to the pause in service.

Last week, Sunbird teamed up with smartphone manufacturer Nothing to launch "Nothing Chats," a messaging app that promised iMessage compatibility. The high-profile announcement led to a deep dive into how Nothing Chats worked and how Sunbird, as the backbone for the feature, functioned.

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