Apple Planning Major Changes to Green Bubbles on iPhones Next Year

Earlier this month, Apple announced that it will finally support the cross-platform messaging standard RCS (Rich Communication Services) in the Messages app on the iPhone starting later next year. This change will result in several improvements to the messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices.

General Apps Messages
Apple's statement announcing the plans:

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.

The "later next year" timeframe suggests that RCS support will be added in iOS 18, but Apple's exact plans remain to be seen.

Apple confirmed that RCS messages will have green bubbles, while iPhone-to-iPhone messages will continue to rely on iMessage and have blue bubbles. RCS will become the new default standard for messaging between iPhones and Android devices, but the SMS standard used currently will continue to exist as a fallback.

Apple has yet to share additional details, but RCS in the Messages app will likely support the following messaging features:

  • Higher-resolution photos and videos
  • Audio messages
  • Typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Wi-Fi messaging between iPhones and Android devices
  • Improved group chats, including the ability for iPhone users to leave a conversation that includes Android users
  • Improved encryption compared to SMS

These features are already available for iMessage, and many of them are also available in third-party messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram. RCS support on the iPhone next year will extend these features to the built-in Messages app. However, older iPhones with an outdated iOS version will not have access to the new functionality.

For more details, read our guide breaking down Apple's plans to adopt RCS in 2024.

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