Hidden iOS 7 Feature Lets You Chat Without Internet

 1395671695 317342

The next time you’re at a crowded place unable to send a message because of a congested network or poor signal, hold off on tearing out your hair. FireChat is a messaging app that lets you chat with others without a  connection — Internet or cell.

Thanks to an iOS 7 feature called Multipeer Connectivity Framework (MCF), the app tethers you to devices around you and sends messages directly via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct.

MORE: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do

As its name suggests, the Multipeer Connectivity Framework (also known as mesh networking) makes use of multiple iOS 7 devices (or “peers”) and creates bridges between them. In doing so, the technology extends the Internet connectivity and signal in the area, creating an ad-hoc network that any MCF-capable device can jump on.

“As long as there is a Firechat-enabled device in the node in the chain, there’s really no geographic limit to how big the ad hoc network can be,” creator Micha Benoliel told GigaOm

This is the same technology that Apple uses in its built-in AirDrop file transfer service, and has been relatively unknown until FireChat was featured in the App Store last week. FireChat is only available for iOS 7 devices for now, but creators Open Garden already have an Android app called Internet Sharing that shares Internet connections between laptops, tablets and phones without requiring root access. 

MCF  technology can be extremely helpful not only in big sporting events, in the subway or when traveling abroad, but especially in case of natural disasters that jam cell networks.  We look forward to seeing this technology being used by more people and devices, making it more useful. 

Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
Cherlynn Low on
Twitter Google+
Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options