Apple to Adopt RCS Messaging Standard for Better Interoperability With Android Devices

After years of persuading from Google, Apple plans to adopt the Rich Communication Services (RCS) standard. An Apple spokesperson told TechRadar and 9to5Mac that support for ‌RCS‌ will be coming next year.


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.

According to Apple, ‌RCS‌ will "work alongside iMessage" and will improve communication between iPhone and Android users. iMessage will continue to be the default for ‌iPhone‌ to ‌iPhone‌ communication, with ‌RCS‌ serving as a replacement for the existing SMS and MMS standards. SMS and MMS will remain available as a fallback when necessary, though.

Rich Communication Services is a communication protocol adopted by Google. Smartphone makers and carriers worldwide have adopted ‌RCS‌, but Apple has been resisting its adoption. Google has been pushing Apple to accept RCS through a long-running ad campaign involving billboards, a website, social media pressure, and more.

Google has had a "Get the Message" website since August 2022, with the site calling on Apple to "fix what's broken" in texts between ‌iPhone‌ and Android users. Earlier this year, even Samsung got into the PR campaign, publishing a bizarre ad where "Romeo" with his green bubbles and "Juliet" with her blue bubbles were unable to be together because of Apple's hesitation to adopt ‌RCS‌.

"Green bubbles and blue bubbles want to be together," read Samsung's ad, which also included the #GetTheMessage hashtag Google used for its social media push.

Compared to MMS and SMS, the standards that Apple uses for text messages, ‌RCS‌ supports higher resolution photos and videos, audio messages, and bigger file sizes. It also adds improved encryption for chats between ‌iPhone‌ and Android users, cross-platform emoji reactions, and more reliability for group chats across different devices.

With ‌RCS‌, real-time typing indicators, read receipts, better photos and videos, and much improved group chats will be standard on iPhones and Android phones, putting an end to the frustration that some ‌iPhone‌ users experience when attempting to communicate with Android smartphone owners. Apple claims that while ‌RCS‌ improves security for cross-device messaging, it is not as secure as iMessage.

According to Apple, ‌RCS‌ will provide users with the option to share their location with others inside text threads over text messages, and like iMessage, ‌RCS‌ will work over Wi-Fi in addition to cellular.

Back in September 2022, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that adopting ‌RCS‌ was not a priority for Apple. "I don't hear our users asking that we put a lot of energy into that at this point," he said. It is not clear why Apple has changed its stance, but the company is facing regulatory scrutiny over the App Store, iMessage, and other proprietary technologies in multiple countries, so adopting ‌RCS‌ could be seen as a willingness to work with other companies to improve device interoperability.

The European Union, for example, has been working on legislation that would have required Apple to make changes to iMessage to make it available on other platforms. With ‌RCS‌, iMessage will no longer have as many benefits that are unavailable cross-platform.

Going forward, Apple plans to work with Google and other Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) members on further improving ‌RCS‌. ‌RCS‌ support will be introduced in a software update next year, and carriers will need to implement support for full functionality. In the United States, Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T already support ‌RCS‌.

Popular Stories

iphone se 4 modified flag edges

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...

Top Rated Comments

stark93 Avatar
27 weeks ago
I don't know why apple was so against this at first. This is good for everyone.
Score: 96 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Awesome Avatar
27 weeks ago
Well that was… unexpected.
Score: 87 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pdaholic Avatar
27 weeks ago
Hell is starting to freeze-over.
Score: 77 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ACHD Avatar
27 weeks ago

RCS is so stupid. No thanks.
it will only be used when texting androids...

Why is it so stupid for you to say no thanks..


imessage will function as it normally does.
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
velcrovan Avatar
27 weeks ago

RCS is so stupid. No thanks.
Is it more stupid or less stupid than the current interoperability between iMessage and SMS/MMS?
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rcooked Avatar
27 weeks ago
Holy cow.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)