Google Messages appears to test a way to react to texts from iPhones

Google Messages and iMessage icons
(Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has been working on ways to improve messaging between Android devices and iPhones.
  • Some users are noticing they can send reactions to SMS messages, with varying degrees of success.
  • Google previously enabled reaction translations with Android on the receiving end.

Google has been fighting what seems to be an uphill battle to get Apple to adopt RCS on iMessage, taking both the high and low road by making iPhone-specific changes to Google Messages while also calling out Cupertino in the process. Yet, despite Apple's reluctance, Google continues to find ways to improve the messaging experience, although the latest update may annoy some iPhone users.

A user on Reddit says they have gained the ability to send message reactions to SMS messages, particularly to those coming in from iPhones. According to the original poster, the recipient receives a text in the form of "x person liked 'text,'" which is the method that Google Messages previously used when it first started testing reactions from iMessage users.

Another user corroborated the claim, stating that they, too, can send reactions using the beta version of Google Messages on their LG V60.

"So if you react to On my way with thumbs-up the message will look like 👍 to 'On my way.'"

Reacting to an SMS message in Google Messages

(Image credit: Reddit)

So, while Google has figured out a way to translate reactions from text to actual emoji, it appears this may not be the case when reactions are sent to iMessage, meaning it's up to Apple to put at least some effort into adding better cross-messaging support with Android users. That said, this would admittedly be a good way to annoy iPhone users until Apple does something about it.

Some users on Reddit point out that iOS 16 should be able to properly handle the reaction translations, and one user even claims that most of their iPhone-toting friends receive emoji reactions, meaning there are some mixed results.

So while the solution isn't quite perfected just yet, it's at least another step toward better messaging between iPhone and Android phones. That said, the feature doesn't appear to be widely available, even among users on the Google Messages beta, and it's likely a server-side push that could take some time to arrive for everyone.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.