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.

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
iOS 18 Calendar Feature

iOS 18: Calendar App Design Changes and Reminders Integration

Tuesday June 18, 2024 6:16 am PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 has given the Calendar app a major update, adding some welcome interface design changes, not to mention long-awaited integration with Reminders. In the month-by-month calendar view, the month now appears in large bold font in the top left, while the Events list toggle has been replaced by a new button that lets you choose between Compact, Stacked, Details, and List views. ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

CouldBeWorse Avatar
38 months ago
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: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deguello Avatar
38 months ago

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: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
triptolemus Avatar
38 months ago

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: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Deguello Avatar
38 months ago

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: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kjvmartin Avatar
38 months ago
Not holding my breath. Apple is slow to do anything.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CPx Avatar
38 months ago
Do it, Apple!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)