I used the worst app of 2023

nothing chats 1
Nothing Phone 2 with Nothing Chat is installed.
Andy Boxall/

The Nothing Chats app turned the Android-based Nothing Phone 2 into an iPhone — and then into a security and privacy nightmare. The problem that started as a big PR win for the new technology brand suddenly became so serious that it removed a recently released app from the Google Play Store because it was not effectively securing your data.

We tried the app on its release day, just before it disappeared. That’s what Nothing Chats was about – and what its failure could mean for Nothing.

What happened to nothing chats?

Nothing Chats splash page in the app.
Andy Boxall/

Before we dive into what the app was like, you need to understand what Nothing Chats offers. By signing in to Nothing Chats with your Apple login, every message sent on an iPhone will be a true iMessage, enclosed in its desirable blue bubble instead of the green bubble usually associated with an Android phone’s message. You will no longer be a social pariah, ostracized from society merely because of your choice of smartphone.

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Nothing Chats was released as a beta app, alerting potential users that it was a work in progress. However, when people in the know started investigating the functioning of the app, some serious security flaws were found. how serious? A lot of data was being stored unencrypted and, therefore, easily accessible to others. This is a huge concern for any app, let alone a messaging app. We’ve got all the details about the discoveries and what happened next in our report, but what about the app itself when you can actually download it?

How does Nothing Chat work?

Sunbird information page at Nothing Chats.
Andy Boxall/

Nothing Chats brought iMessage’s blue message bubbles to the Nothing Phone 2 via the Sunbird platform. Sunbird is a unified messaging app that offers a similar feature, and since the Nothing Chats issue, it has reportedly been shut down during the investigation. Before removing it, Nothing Chats effectively lets you skip Sunbird’s invite-only queue and give the green message bubble the middle finger.

The app was only compatible with the Nothing Phone 2. Once you download the Nothing Chats app, it has two connection options: one for RCS messaging and the other for iMessage. Connecting to RCS required granting access to Sunbird using a QR code, and it was a straightforward process. To get iMessage, you only need an Apple ID.

When it connected to iMessage, Nothing Chats showed up in my list of accepted devices as did the Mac Mini, making this not only confusing but also a little worrisome. This is similar to the Beeper app, which appeared as a random Google Pixel phone located in Cyprus when I connected the app to Instagram for direct message access.

blue bubbles from android phone

Nothing Chats on the iPhone 2, nothing compared to iMessage on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
iMessage (left) on the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Nothing Chats on the Nothing Phone 2 Andy Boxall/

The question you’re all asking is, “Were the message bubbles blue?” If that’s what you were looking for, you might have been thrilled, because the message bubbles sent through Nothing Chat were blue. However, the promised typing indicator wasn’t working for me, and upon checking with Nothing, I was told they should start appearing after chatting with someone for a while. Obviously, I never got that far.

It wasn’t just the typing indicator that was missing. I shared and received photos without any problems, but messages didn’t have read receipts on the iPhone side of the conversation, a feature Nothing Says will come in the future. On the Nothing Chats side, messages appear with the tag “viewed” instead of “read.”

The integration with iMessage appeared solid, as all messages I received through Nothing Chats arrived on my MacBook and iPhone, but were usually a few seconds behind both of them. However, the sink was a little off; When I replied on my iPhone, the messages I typed didn’t appear in the Nothing chat history. Outside of iMessage, Nothing Chats was a simple, feature-light messaging app, but the design matched the theme of the Nothing phones perfectly.

big gamble

Connection to both RCS and iMessage in the Nothing Chats app.
Andy Boxall/

Nothing Chats was a quirky app and a big gamble for the growing brand. Did it like Solve the whole blue bubble/green bubble problem, but at what cost? For starters, there will come a point where the person you were messaging will realize that you don’t have an iPhone at all, which can result in quite an awkward conversation.

You also! Was To own a Nothing Phone 2, and if you don’t have one, it’ll cost you $600 to buy it and mess around with Nothing Chats once you get your hands on it. The Nothing Phone 2 is a great buy, but if your only motivation was to get iMessage and blue message bubbles, why not spend a little more to get the $800 iPhone 15?

Nothing connecting to iMessage in Chats app.
Andy Boxall/

By effectively making it appear as if you were messaging people from an iPhone, it can be seen that the Nothing Phone 2 was the perfect purchase for those who desire He had an iPhone but didn’t. I’m sure no one would argue that it was simply “breaking down walls” and giving people what they wanted, but it was still a strange marketing message.

Carl Pei, CEO of Nothing and co-founder of OnePlus, is no stranger to hyped, daring marketing campaigns, and Nothing Chat was perhaps his most daring campaign yet. The app initially did what it was supposed to do – put a spotlight on Nothing and help build its reputation as a disruptive force in mobile – which, if things had gone differently, could have been a huge win. Sadly, the chat did not go well and could have resulted in a major problem.

what happens now?

Nothing chat icon on Nothing phone 2.
Andy Boxall/

Nothing Chats made the right decision to immediately remove the app, and although it is unlikely that any early users will suffer from its flaws, Nothing’s reputation will have been damaged, and it needs to do everything possible to repair it. . Security issues and data hacks are not uncommon, and brands have recovered from very bad situations. Still, Nothing Chats was an unnecessary risk that was taken primarily to grab headlines, and it’s shocking that the company didn’t investigate the app in more depth, especially when it was advertised as being safe. Was (and still is).

The company earned a lot of reputation with its range of great value and well-made products, starting with the Ear 1 earbuds and, most recently, the Nothing Phone 2. But Nothing Chats is a serious misstep. Recently, Nothing launched Nothing Beer and Nothing Apparel, which are confusing products that do not take advantage of the brand’s expertise or represent its core business. People may ignore them if they don’t want clothes and beer, but are less inclined to forget a technology company’s serious software security flaws that went unnoticed until a third-party investigation after release.

The text claiming that the Nothing Chats app is secure is taken from Nothing's website.
Text claiming the Nothing Chats app is secure is taken from Nothing’s website Nothing

We need To trust the software on our phones, and Nothing Chats’ fault won’t help build trust in NothingOS or any of its pre-bundled apps. This is unlikely to help Sunbird much if its own app resurfaces. Nothing Claims it will fix Nothing Chats, suggesting that it will re-release it in the future, but it’s questionable whether that’s a good idea. It may be better for Nothing to improve its reputation in other ways. Whatever happens, Nothing’s software will be subject to increased scrutiny, and its resources may be better deployed elsewhere.

Is Nothing Chats the worst app of 2023? It’s definitely going to be there, but what Nothing and its marketing team do next may yet prevent it from being a complete reputational disaster for the young company.

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