All Three Major U.S. Carriers and Google Adopt Rich Communication Services, But No Sign of Apple Interest

For the last several years, Google has been pushing a new communications protocol called Rich Communication Services, or RCS. RCS is designed to replace SMS, the current text message standard, and it offers support for higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, bigger file sizes, better encryption, improved group chat, and more.

General Apps Messages
Verizon today announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging service on Android devices, joining AT&T and T-Mobile. That means all three major carriers in the United States will support the RCS standard on Android devices as of 2022.

As The Verge points out, this leaves Apple as the big RCS holdout, and there are benefits that iPhone users will miss out on.

When RCS sees a complete Android rollout, text messages on Android phones will be end-to-end encrypted. ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌ communications are end-to-end encrypted thanks to iMessage, but with this change, texts between Android users and ‌iPhone‌ users will be less secure because of Apple's decision to continue to use SMS over RCS.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Android, told The Verge that Android vs. ‌iPhone‌ messaging security will become an important discussion with the wider adoption of RCS. "The fallback messaging experience on the other platform will not have encryption if it's still SMS," he said. "I think that that is a pretty interesting dynamic and I would hope that as everyone focuses on security and privacy it becomes an important part of the discussion."

Lockheimer did not provide details on whether Google is discussing RCS with Apple, but Apple has been invited to adopt the RCS standard. Apple has declined to comment on RCS, and there's no sign that Apple plans to adopt it in the near future.

Now that all three major carriers in the U.S. are supporting RCS, Apple may be more inclined to consider the technology to make cross-platform messaging more secure.

Top Rated Comments

CouldBeWorse Avatar
5 days ago at 01:16 pm
Apple using RCS with end-to-end encryption as a fallback instead of SMS would be a good thing for iPhone and Android users.
Score: 55 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deguello Avatar
5 days ago at 01:22 pm

RCS may be more secure, but it certainly won't be more private. Google with retain every communication, as it does with every other piece of information it has access to.
It’s a protocol and it won’t all go through google any more than your SMS messages do now.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deguello Avatar
5 days ago at 01:35 pm

It’s not a standard, it’s a protocol Google advocates, why would you expect Apple to help with making its competitor’s technology a standard? Apple has its own technology that it wants to make an industry standard, Google doesn’t help with any of those, either.
Apple has purposefully not ported imessage to android specifically to aid in lock-in to Apple. What technology here are you talking about that Apple wants to make a standard?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kjvmartin Avatar
5 days ago at 01:17 pm
Not holding my breath. Apple is slow to do anything.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
triptolemus Avatar
5 days ago at 01:30 pm

RCS may be more secure, but it certainly won't be more private. Google with retain every communication, as it does with every other piece of information it has access to.
So you just blew right past the encrypted part and went for Google FUD?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
5 days ago at 01:38 pm

Today from The Sun:
"GOOGLE allegedly admitted to listening to conversations recorded by Google Assistant even without a user's "Hey Google" trigger"
?

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jul/26/apple-contractors-regularly-hear-confidential-details-on-siri-recordings

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/29/apple-apologises-listen-siri-recordings
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

tim cook privacy

Apple Not Trying Hard Enough to Protect Users Against Surveillance, Researchers Say

Friday July 23, 2021 6:46 am PDT by
Following the news of widespread commercial hacking spyware on targeted iPhones, a large number of security researchers are now saying that Apple could do more to protect its users (via Wired). Earlier this week, it was reported that journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists around the world had been targeted by governments using phone malware made by the surveillance firm NSO Group...
new ring

Ring Video Doorbells to Gain End-to-End Encryption, But Still No Sign of HomeKit Support

Wednesday July 14, 2021 3:00 am PDT by
Amazon is rolling out end-to-end encryption for video captured by Ring doorbells, after a successful trial in the United States (via BBC News). Amazon's worldwide adoption of the encryption standard for Ring will mean that video footage from the doorbell cameras is stored on Amazon's servers, but the content won't be accessible to the company and only the user's device on which the video is ...
apple music album cover art

Apple Music App for Android Gains Spatial Audio and Lossless Quality

Thursday July 22, 2021 11:38 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple Music for Android app to introduce support for Spatial Audio and Lossless music quality, bringing feature parity to the Android and iOS operating systems. Spatial Audio and Lossless for Apple Music came to Apple devices in June, and has been available in a beta capacity on Android since last month. From the release notes for the update:In this update, Apple...
twitter sign in with apple

Twitter Beta for iOS Gains 'Sign in With Apple' Option

Thursday July 22, 2021 12:10 pm PDT by
Twitter's beta for iOS has gained "Sign in With Apple" functionality, with the end goal of allowing users to create Twitter accounts using their Apple ID, but still in beta, the feature is still not fully functioning properly. Twitter researcher Jane Manchun Wong discovered earlier this month that Twitter was working to port over Sign in With Apple to its service. Wong's report was based on...
Android 12 vs iOS 14 Feature

Google Previews Android 12 With Deeper Customization and iOS 14-Inspired Privacy Protections

Tuesday May 18, 2021 1:15 pm PDT by
During its Google I/O developers conference today, Google previewed Android 12, the next version of Android that will ship to millions of Android devices around the world later this year. Google is mainly targeting customization as the theme for this year's new release and a new design language that it's calling "Material You." Google says this new design language brings a "humanistic...
apple move to ios

Apple Aims to Lure Android Users to iPhone With Improved 'Move to iOS' Experience in iOS 15

Tuesday June 8, 2021 11:53 am PDT by
To help new iPhone owners transition from an Android device, Apple uses the "Move to iOS" Android app for transferring content like contacts, message history, photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail account information, calendars, DRM-free songs, wallpapers, and more. This app has been around since 2015, but with the release of iOS 15, Apple is improving the Move to iOS experience. With...
coalition upscale feature

Coalition for App Fairness: Apple is Using Subpoenas to Punish Opponents by Prying Into Confidential Communications

Monday July 19, 2021 12:46 pm PDT by
Apple has filed a subpoena against the Coalition for App Fairness, requesting details on their communications as Apple fights a series of antitrust lawsuits. The Coalition for App Fairness comprises several companies who have been critical of Apple's App Store rules and fees, including Epic Games, Spotify, Deezer, Tile, and Match Group. Members of the Coalition for App Fairness earlier this...
nso israeli surveillance firm

Report: Pegasus Spyware Sold to Governments Uses Zero-Click iMessage Exploit to Infect iPhones Running iOS 14.6

Monday July 19, 2021 12:35 am PDT by
Journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists around the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using phone malware made by Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, according to multiple media reports. An investigation by 17 media organizations and Amnesty International's Security Lab uncovered a massive data leak, indicating widespread and continuing abuse of the commercial...
windows 11 running android apps

Windows 11 Will Run Android Apps From Amazon Appstore

Thursday June 24, 2021 9:21 am PDT by
Microsoft today held an event where it unveiled Windows 11, the next generation of Windows with a new design, new versatility capabilities, gaming improvements, and more. One notable announcement was that, starting with Windows 11, PCs will be able to run Android apps. Logically, Microsoft would partner with the Google Play Store to offer Android apps on its platforms. However, the company...
google meet

Google Meet Places One-Hour Cap on Group Video Calls for Non-Paying Users

Wednesday July 14, 2021 2:10 am PDT by
Google has brought in 60-minute group video call limits for Google Meet users with free Gmail accounts, according to recently updated support pages (via 9to5Google). The Meet service was originally exclusive to paying G-Suite members, but "unlimited" (up to 24 hour) group calls were made available for free to all users with a Google account in April 2020, in order to see off competition from ...