Carrier Services update enables RCS on Verizon, more Android phones

Carrier Services app on the Play Store
Carrier Services app on the Play Store (Image credit: Nick Sutrich/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Carrier Services v32 immediately enables RCS for Verizon-based Android phones in the U.S.
  • Confirmed models that work with this are Samsung's Galaxy S10 and Note 10, as well as Google Pixel phones (not an exhaustive list).
  • More Android phones are compatible thanks to this new update, but Google has not provided a detailed list at this time.

Rich Communication Services, or better known as RCS, is the replacement for the age-old MMS/SMS text messaging that cell phones have been using for decades. Needless to say, smartphones outgrew this old standard a long time ago, but the companies that provide your cell phone service (carriers) haven't been able to agree on very much regarding the new standard until very recently.

Google finally decided to stop waiting on the carriers to get their act together last month and began rolling out RCS to Android phones U.S.-wide, but not all U.S. carriers were supported with the initial release. Yesterday, when I was texting a friend on Verizon, I noticed that the message box all of a sudden said "chat message" instead of "text message", denoting that RCS had been enabled on said friend's phone.

Sure enough, 9to5Google confirmed that the most recent update of the Carrier Services app, version 32, enables RCS on a significant number of new phones, including those on Verizon. So far, I've been able to personally confirm that the Galaxy S10, Note 10, and all Google Pixel phones support RCS on Verizon and, likely, most other Android phones do as well. All you'll need is the Google Messages app (opens in new tab) and to make sure your Carrier Services app (opens in new tab) is up to date.

What, exactly, will RCS do for you? Aside from changing the color of the bubbles (yes, I know), it also enables some great quality of life features like being able to see when the person on the other side is typing, and when they've seen or read your message. It also lifts the restrictions that MMS places on images and videos, allowing you to send full resolution pictures and videos to your friends without having to worry about them being pixellated or nasty looking when they arrive.

Unfortunately, RCS isn't compatible with iOS devices at this time, so you'll still show up as a green bubble with the usual restrictions that SMS/MMS brings until either Apple agrees to play ball with RCS, or the carriers figure out a cross-platform solution.

What is RCS messaging, and why is it important to Android?

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu
  • Last night I received the update on Mint Mobile Moto G6 and my wife's One Plus 5. Works like a charm! I then spent an hour seeing if anyone I knew had received the update on their Android phones and I would say 75% of them were now dark blue chat bubbles. Pretty sweet!
  • This also enabled RCS in the Google Messages app on my unlocked Pixel 3 bought directly from Google which I recently brought over to AT&T. Before this latest round of updates, it already worked on Verizon, but did not work on AT&T, until now.
  • Im on Verizon with unlocked Moto G7 and I have v32 but I like Textra so much I don't want to start using Google msgs just to get rcs Maybe Textra will soon support this.
  • It was enabled a few hours ago on my unlocked 3a XL on AT&T
  • RCS works individually between friends and I, but creating a group chat with those same people (all using messages, all rcs enabled) messages still send as MMS. Any ideas why?
  • Did you ever figure this out?
  • Not working on my Huawei Mate 20 X. Got the update though.
  • Received the RCS notification for my KEY2 on AT&T yesterday. Bob
  • Works now on my TMobile OnePlus 7t.
  • Works on my OnePlus 7t on Verizon too.
  • Received it last night ( Verizon)
    Pixel 2Xl.... Just have to wait for some of friends to update their phones !
  • So what if I don't want people to know when I read their message? Are these options are all forced features?
  • There's an option to keep RCS but turn off read receipts
  • Unlocked Note 10+ on AT&T enabled as well!
  • I do not have RCS on Moto X4 on T Mobile