Top Stories: Apple to Support RCS, iPhone 16 Rumors, and More

Raise your hand if you thought Apple was going to decide to support RCS messaging to enable better communication with green-bubble folks!

top stories 18nov2023
That was certainly the biggest story of the week, but there was plenty more news including rumors about the timing of app sideloading support for users in the EU, developments coming in iOS 18, and a welcome change in watchOS 10.2 for swapping watch faces. Black Friday sales are also now in full swing, so read on below for all the details on these stories and more!

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

In a bit of shocking news this week, Apple announced that it will add support for the Rich Communication Standard (RCS) standard "later next year," allowing for better messaging interoperability with Android devices.

apple rcs thumb
Apple has long resisted adopting the successor to SMS and MMS messaging amid intense pressure from Google and Android device manufacturers, and it's unclear exactly what has changed Apple's mind other than perhaps ongoing pressure from regulators on various aspects of the company's business.

While RCS will remain separate from iMessage, it will bring a number of advancements for communication between Apple and Android users, including enhanced security, higher-resolution photos and videos, audio messages, and much-improved group chats.

iPhone 16 Series Rumored to Have These 17 New Features

It's still only November, but we’ve been hearing about a decent number of potential upgrades for next year's flagship iPhone lineup.

iPhone 16 Mock Header Updated 1
From bigger displays on the Pro models to camera improvements and more, it looks like 2024 should be a good year for those who are ready to make the jump to a new iPhone.

iPhone App Sideloading Coming to Users in the EU in First Half of 2024

iPhone users in the EU next year will be able to download apps hosted outside of Apple's official App Store to comply with European regulations, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

federighi sideloading
Writing in the latest subscriber edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said Apple will introduce a "highly controlled system" that lets EU users install apps hosted elsewhere. Apple also will reportedly alter Messages and payment apps as part of the changes, likely via a localized iOS 17 update.

Apple Black Friday Deals Available Now: AirPods, iPhone, iPad, and More

We're less than a week away from Black Friday, but deals have been in full swing since October so we are firmly in holiday shopping season where you can get great deals across Apple products and accessories.

best early black friday deals
We're keeping track of the best deals on Apple products and related accessories, so be sure to check out our ongoing coverage throughout the rest of this month and into December.

AI-Infused iOS 18 Lauded as 'Ambitious and Compelling' by Apple Execs

Apple internally believes its iOS 18, macOS 15, watchOS 11, and tvOS 18 updates next year will be "ambitious and compelling," thanks to major new software features and designs in the works. That's according to the latest information relayed by Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

iOS 18 Mock Siri Feature Baubles
While little is known about the specifics, many of the changes are believed to involve generative AI, including a smarter version of Siri that takes the virtual assistant's integration with the operating systems to a new level.

watchOS 10.2 Beta Reintroduces Option to Change Apple Watch Faces With a Swipe

As part of Apple's revamp of the Apple Watch interface with watchOS 10, the company did away with the ability to quickly change watch faces with a simple swipe.

apple watch ultra pink
While some users were relieved to no longer find themselves accidentally changing faces, others have been upset that changing faces now requires multiple steps.

With the latest watchOS 10.2 beta seeded this week, Apple is seeking to satisfy both groups, bringing back the swipe gesture to change watch faces but making it an optional setting. watchOS 10.2 is expected to see a public release next month.

MacRumors Newsletter

Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!

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Top Rated Comments

DakotaGuy Avatar
27 weeks ago
I’d like to remind everyone before the “RCS is terrible! Blue bubbles for life!” crowd shows up this move changes nothing with iMessage when you‘re texting another iMessage user. It also doesn’t force you to stop using a third party app like WhatsApp. All it does is improves texting between your iPhone and an Android device. It adds features and improvement and will make a chat between an iPhone and Android phone more like sending iMessages back and forth. Instead of falling back to SMS right away it’ll use RCS to give a much better texting experience and will improve group text situations instead of breaking it for everyone.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Hans_J Avatar
27 weeks ago
Huge news with RCS. It’s a big win to consumers.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarAnalogy Avatar
27 weeks ago
I love how many people excoriated me in the last RCS article calling it a Google protocol only and something Apple would never and should never do. I said there’s a universal profile. Now the tune has changed since Apple’s official announcement.


Well well well, how the turn tables.

Edit: LOL please look at my post history and please explain how you disagree with facts. I'm not even commenting on this I'm just saying what happened, read it yourself.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
840quadra Avatar
27 weeks ago
Honestly RCS being supported on iPhone is far overdue. Despite this, I am not sure that it will be a 100% great experience overall.

Living in both worlds (have since Pixel 2), I find RCS to be more work than it's worth at times. Many of my android friends seem to be hit or miss on having RCS actually work. There seems to be an issue with How Samsung native message app handles RCS, versus how the native Google application does. I only ever use the native Google app, yet friends state I leave conversations without ever doing anything to trigger it.

Many times images aren't presented to myself or other members of a group chat, or, they simply will not send. In this small group, we are often digging into the settings, and reviewing exactly what is going on to cause our various problems.

For the most part, iMessage just works.

Biggest thing I hope happens if Apple joins RCS, is they get frustrated enough to help Google, Samsung and others fix it!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Camerondonal Avatar
27 weeks ago
Will the UK count as the EU for the purposes of side loading?? Hmmm ?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarAnalogy Avatar
27 weeks ago

Honestly RCS being supported on iPhone is far overdue. Despite this, I am not sure that it will be a 100% great experience overall.

Living in both worlds (have since Pixel 2), I find RCS to be more work than it's worth at times. Many of my android friends seem to be hit or miss on having RCS actually work. There seems to be an issue with How Samsung native message app handles RCS, versus how the native Google application does. I only ever use the native Google app, yet friends state I leave conversations without ever doing anything to trigger it.

Many times images aren't presented to myself or other members of a group chat, or, they simply will not send. In this small group, we are often digging into the settings, and reviewing exactly what is going on to cause our various problems.

For the most part, iMessage just works.

Biggest thing I hope happens if Apple joins RCS, is they get frustrated enough to help Google, Samsung and others fix it!
I’m assuming Apple will be running their own RCS service and handle the back end between them and Google and the network cartel. As far as I can tell the real problem with RCS is nobody has had the clout to force everyone to get their **** together about it. Maybe this will finally change that.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)