Google Messages beta reveals how Android 15 could let you text anyone via satellite

Google Messages
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google appears to be working on a satellite messaging feature in Google Messages for Android 15. 
  • A recent Google Messages beta gives us our best look at how satellite messaging in Google Messages will work. 
  • The feature appears to be more useful than Apple's Emergency SOS via satellite, because Google wants to let you text anyone (and not just first responders and roadside assistance) — even if there isn't an emergency. 

Google has been working on satellite messaging for Android behind the scenes, and a new beta version of the Google Messages app revealed how the company might implement the feature in Android 15. In March, we learned that Google wants to let Android users message anyone via satellite and does not plan to limit the features to emergency and roadside assistance calls. Now, the latest Google Messages beta provides further evidence that you'll soon be able to message anyone over satellite connectivity. 

9to5Google tore down the APK of the Google Messages beta, which has the version number 20240329_01_RC00. The site reports that the following strings were uncovered in the APK related to satellite connectivity:

  • To send and receive, stay outside with a clear view of the sky
  • Satellite messaging may take longer and can’t include photos & videos
  • You can message with anyone, including emergency services

These strings outline what you can and can't do with satellite messaging in Google Messages. The company recommends that users stay outside to have the best chance of making a good connection with an overhead satellite. This follows similar guidance to other satellite-based features that have shipped in the past, like Apple's Emergency SOS via satellite. Additionally, Google says that you can't share photos and videos over satellite, which makes sense.

Notably, the strings explain that satellite messaging will let you "message with anyone." This is different from Emergency SOS via satellite because that iPhone feature only works in emergencies when users need to get in contact with emergency services, roadside assistance, and emergency contacts. 

The satellite messaging notification in Android 15.

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

9to5Google also spotted Android 15 system notifications that shed light on satellite connectivity. When cellular is not available, users will receive an "auto-connected to satellite" notification. This explains that users can "send and receive messages without a mobile or Wi-Fi network." The system notification can be interacted with through the Open Messages and How it works buttons. 

There is still a lot we don't know about satellite connectivity in Android 15, such as which companies will help support the feature. Google has been linked to T-Mobile and Garmin for satellite connectivity services, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.