Yesterday, out of the blue, a report came out suggesting that Apple has finally caved in and that it is bringing support for RCS messaging to the iPhone. While the feature isn’t available just yet, and the company hasn’t even announced it officially on its Newsroom website, an Apple executive told 9to5Mac and TechRadar that RCS texting will be available on the iPhone via a software update in 2024. This marks a huge shift, as Apple has been avoiding adding support for RCS messaging to the iPhone for years now.
Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe the RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.
For years, and I mean for years, Google (along with all the other Android manufacturers) has been hitting out at Apple to bring RCS texting to the iPhone. Google has constantly mentioned about the lack of RCS on iPhone via extensive social media campaigns and even during the company’s keynote event. On the other hand, Apple, in the ultimate Apple fashion, has even failed to even mention RCS publicly – let alone adopt it in the first place. The has quietly improved its iMessage service year on year, but has failed to adopt RCS, until now. This makes the suddenness of this move even more surprising.
But, nonetheless, RCS is finally coming to the iPhone. Even though it may be a forced change thanks to the European Union’s upcoming legislation, RCS is coming to iPhone. RCS on iPhone will enable cross-platform features that will make regular texting feature-rich, reducing the need to switch to services like WhatsApp and Telegram or forcing users to buy an iPhone solely for iMessage.
RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a messaging protocol that has been widely adopted by Android manufacturers, such as Samsung and Google. RCS enables features that are traditionally not available on the SMS protocol. For example, things like read receipts, typing indicators, better encryption, support for sending higher resolution photos and videos, emoji reactions, and better group chats across all platforms. Now, you will be able to enjoy these features on all phones, regardless of the manufacturer.
If you, and your friends or family, are all iPhone users and rely on iMessage for chatting, nothing much will really change as Apple will still default to iMessage. Apple says RCS will be available on iPhone alongside iMessage, SMS, and MMS. iPhone-to-iPhone messaging will still default to iMessage, while RCS will improve texting between Android and iPhone users. In addition to this, SMS and MMS will still be available as a fallback option.
For Android to iPhone messages, on the other hand, this is a big thing. You’ll have access to all the features mentioned earlier (and more, like location sharing, sending large files, and texting over Wi-Fi) on your Android phone when messaging with iPhone users. Yes, while the color of bubbles might still remain green on iPhone, you’ll now be able to exchange rich text messages with iPhone users as well.
Apple says it will now work with Google and other Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) to improve RCS even further. RCS will be available on iPhone next year via a software update, but your mobile provider will still need to enable support for this at their end. If you’re in the United States, carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T already support RCS, so once Apple rolls it out, your iPhone may already have access to the functionality.
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