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Google says all U.S. users should now have RCS enabled

RCS messaging
RCS messaging (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has finally completed the process of rolling out RCS to users in the U.S.
  • The company is well ahead of its previous promise of broad availability by the end of the year.
  • Updates to both Google Messages and the Carrier Services app may be required to enable the new chat experience.

Earlier in the week, we reported on an update to the Carrier Services app that enabled RCS for Verizon users. As it turns out, the feature update applied to all remaining users in the U.S. who didn't have RCS yet, allowing Google to complete its rollout much earlier than its previous estimates. As Google's Communications Suite Lead Sanaz Ahari announced on Twitter:

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While Ahari suggests updating Carrier Services may be essential to getting the new chat experience, some of the responses to her tweet show users receiving RCS functionality even without the Carrier Services update. Either way, it's probably best to cover your bases and do as the lady says: get the latest versions of both Google Messenger and Carrier Services.

What about the rest of the world, you ask? Well, someone did ask Ahari the same thing. A cryptic "stay tuned" was all she gave us non-Americans.

If you live in the U.S., though, you'll now have an iMessage-like experience on your Android smartphone, which means you can see when someone's typing a response or if they've received/read your messages. You can also send larger multimedia files than was possible with the old MMS standard, and you can do so using your internet connection, without accruing additional charges. Quite the upgrade over SMS, indeed.

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

55 Comments
  • I've had it active for the last few weeks, but only on my e-sim. I use both e-sim and a nano sim on my Pixel 4xl, and have not figured out a way to have it active for both phone number(personal and work). Now it doesn't work at all.....Ugh.....
  • Still not working fully with Dual Sim
  • T-Mobile and Fi, current carrier services and messages - No RCS with 4xl in dual SIM
  • Now that it's supported by the carriers, how long until 3rd party text apps will get the functionality? I don't use Google Messages, I am partial to Textra, and I would love to see RCS features rolled out to that app.
  • Right there with you, Textra all day.
  • It's not supported by all carriers yet actually. Google is currently going past the carrier support. When your carrier supports it for your phone, then the RCS service will stop being provided by Google, and will be provided by your carrier
  • This is key. I prefer Mood over Textra, but the end result is the same. I tried going back to Google Messages to check out RCS, but after half a day I decided I'd rather not have RCS if it meant I had to use Messages. The features are so lacking on Google Messages.
  • My dad loves textra, but gave it up for rcs Google messages
  • My OnePlus 7T says it's not supported
  • So this doesn't work with iPhones I'm assuming.
  • No... It's moron proof.
  • Of course not. Apple is choosing to not support RCS yet. They want people to stay on their iPhones with their blue bubbles
  • Not sure where this anecdotal evidence comes from but it is not working for me. Pixel 2 running Oreo. I saw the option and enabled it but about 10 minutes later I went back into the settings and I was shown the same message as before that stated it is not available. So for me it was like it was enabled long enough for me to accept all the privacy tracking that probably goes along with Jibe and RCS from Google but then was disabled again right after. Back to Textra I go.
  • Give your phone a reboot and it should work
  • If your concern is privacy you should consider Signal. Excellent. 😎
  • In the UK i think there is only one carrier that is supporting it and they don't say much about it. I thought google was going to set it up so that the carrier don't need to support RCS? I do not use google messenger, i use what came on my phone, so RCS will not work for me and to be honest I am happy with that, i really do not want people sending me bloat via SMS.
  • They're apparently working on RCS connecting with Samsung Messages but for now just download Google Messages and set it to default. Done.. What bloat via SMS?
  • i do not have a smasung phone and to be honest I do not want to use RCS. The bloat that RCS will bring with silly gifs and loads of pointless emojis and any other rubbish people seems to send in messages these days. I like SMS because it does what it says on the tin, messages that are samll, well not so small these days, but just plain text, with maybe the old smily and that is it.
  • SMS can already send emojis. They're not exclusive to RCS. Plus by using Gboard, you can send decent gifs through MMS as well. What people send can already be done through SMS/MMS. It's nothing new. RCS only improves on it by allowing you to text with WiFi and data, send bigger files, and see when someone is typing and have seen your messages.
  • SMS can not send emojis, what it sends is the info that allows a phone to display a emoji and that emoji must be stored on the phone or something like it. A smily on my phone looks different to the one on my friend iphone.
    Not sure about MMS, i never really use it apart from when I go over the amount of characters SMS can handle and then it changes to MMS.
    Why would i want to use my data for RCS? i get unlimited text on my contract, so I text as much as I like without it affecting the data on my contract. i will not be RCS, simple as that.
  • Nah they pretty much all support it here in the UK. I'm on Sky Mobile (o2) and been chatting to friends on EE, Three and Vodafone with Google Messages
  • Are you sure or are just using it via Google servers and not via the carrier? Google set it so anyone can use it a few weeks back, even if the carriers do not support it. As far as i know, only vodafone supports it, but that could have changed. i know my provider don't, I am with plusnet and to be honest that suits me fine.
  • I'm using it on three UK, and I'm a Samsung phone user I've been using RCS messaging for over three months now
  • Fair enough, things have moved on, I know my network don't use it, i am with plusnet, which is piggy backed onto EE. i don't want to use it to be honest, i do not want the rubbish sent over SMS that people seems to like sending.
  • Silly question, What is Carrier Services? I've used Samsung Messaging app, Google Messages, and now I'm addicted to Textra....
  • For me Carrier Services updated through the Play Store on its own.
  • Basically, it's how your carrier interacts with your phone. In my case, Google updated Messages to allow RCS messaging functionality, but I had to wait for AT&T to enable the function on their end for my specific phone, Mate 20X.
  • Ok, this might be a silly question, but I just checked to see if I had an update for Carrier Services, and it's not even installed on my phone, OnePlus 6T. Is the only reason I need it to get RCS? I use Pulse SMS, will I even be able to take advantage of RCS on it or do I have to wait until Pulse supports it?
  • As of right now, Pulse won't be able to utilize the feature. Only Messages has it enabled.
  • Download Google Messages, set it to the default messaging app and try to enable chat features in settings. If that doesn't work, reboot the phone. If that doesn't work, download Carrier services via Google play and stick with Messages as your default app for a week. It should prompt you to enable Chat features
  • It enabled after the update for Android Messages and Carrier Services on my G6. However, after enabling it on my wife's One Plus 5T it works for a day and then turns itself off. I have to restart her phone, and then re-enable. Could it have something to do with her battery saver disabling it at the end of the day? That is my guess.
  • The issue I had when I installed the hack was data saver was blocking it so it only worked on wifi or when rebooted my phone . I uninstalled datally since it wasn't compatible with Android 10 anyways them allowed unrestricted data use and background data use for messages . You have to go into settings on the messages app or in applications in phone settings and find messages Try that and it should work
  • Using a 5T on Cricket and RCS is working fine for weeks now. No Carrier Services installed either. I am using the beta version of Messages though.
  • Well considering RCS is useless to me because I text usually between my Android and my wife's iPhone I have no reason to install Google messages and use RCs and I use a Samsung phone which their messaging app works better with my SmartWatch so until they get RCS implemented on Samsung messages I have no use for RCs and when Apple decides to join in and quit being haters and thinking they're better than everyone and just get an industry-standard going and make everybody happy instead of letting their egos take over.
  • You are really not missing much, unless you really want to send gifs and rubbish like that to your wife.
  • It's more than just GIFs, you really gotta stop saying that and misleading people
  • but it is not more than just gifs, ok you can send files, but then there are other ways to do that, I really do not want my messages going via Googles server.
    what is google getting out of this? They must be getting something as they are pushing it so hard.
  • Lmao what a boomer, if you dont want people sending you 'gifs' maybe you should reconsider your relationship with the people you message (by blocking them). If you dont want to send your messages through google maybe you should also consider throwing your android phone out the window as the software it runs is from google 🤡
  • thankfully most of the people i message don't use Gifs and stuff like that, but then most are at the age where they do not bother with that sort of thing. The app I use to send SMS is not produced by Google and even if it did, the message go via my phone network provider.
  • I've had RCS for a long time via my carrier/phone combo already and feel the same. It's relatively useless until the 90%+ of iPhone carrying friends and family I have can use it. I've longed since moved to an alternate messaging platform with those that really matter, and the rest just get the basics.
  • The fact it doesn't work with the Samsung watch lineup is what kills it for many of us.
  • I have Moto X4 on T-Mobile and I cannot turn on chat features
  • I wouldn't exactly say this is true. I'm on Xfinity with a phone purchased directly from Google a few weeks ago a 3a XL. I've updated everything from the play store Android 10 the whole nine yards and it does not let me enable in settings. Learn more and it sends me to The jibe Google page. Maybe I'm a special case? Not sure why. Anybody have any thoughts please reply
  • 4xl, from Google store, with T-Mobile SIM, no RCS
  • Might be asking for a lot here, but it would be nice for those of us using Google Voice to have access to RCS within that app - it's made by Google after all!
  • I call B.S. - VZW Pixel 2xl, Messages and Carrier Services updated, rebooted, no RCS.
  • I use an unlocked Galaxy S9+ on AT&T's network. I saw the ability to enable "chat features" come and go and then come back again. Now it appears to be back for good (RCS that is) I was also able to upgrade to the beta version of Android 10. Not sure if that has any effect. I love Textra but moved to Android Messages because I do a lot of texting from the desktop, both at home and in the office. I got tired of paying for MightyText in order to do that with Textra. AM is pretty good, I just wish the ability to leave a group text was an option like with IMs like Facebook Messages and Hangouts. If that featured gets added, I'll start using AM exclusively.
  • I don't want RCS. I don't want a messaging system that cannot be backed-up and restored after factory reset or device replacement. I use SyncTech Pty Ltd's SMS Backup & Restore utility every night to save my SMS/MMS messages to my Google Drive. If I need to replace my phone I can restore my entire SMS/MMS history compete with picture attachments. Google's MMS messaging backup will backup the text messages for recovery, but does not backup and restore the picture attachments. Google Pixel support suggests we can extract the pictures from the messages, save them to the photo gallery and Google will back them up from there, but it is not acceptable to lose the context of those pictures in our conversations. When will RCS content backup/restore be supported by Google or a third party app? If you adopt RCS before backup/restore support is available you're saying it's okay to lose your messaging history whenever disaster strikes.
  • I have it now but it's basically useless. Everyone I text with has either an iPhone or an Android phone from companies like Samsung or LG and they're using the manufacturer's or carrier's texting app and don't really care to change.
  • Textra will never support that feature as SMS will more then likely be on its way out soon. I was a long time Textra user but recently switched to the standard messenger. While it's not feature packed like Textra maybe it will improve in time adding much more customization
  • When will I get RCS on my unlocked Moto X4 on TMobile?
  • Just got it on my Moto g5+ unlocked on T-Mobile a week ago.
    Have your downloaded carrier services?
  • Yes and the app is updated
  • I don't want RCS. I don't want a messaging system that cannot be backed-up then restored after factory reset or device replacement. I use SyncTech Pty Ltd's SMS Backup & Restore utility every night to save my SMS/MMS messages to my Google Drive. If I need to replace my phone I can restore my entire SMS/MMS history compete with picture attachments. Google's cloud will automatically back up the text of SMS/MMS messaging, but will not back up and restore the picture attachments. Google Pixel Support suggests we can extract the pictures from the messages, save them to the photo gallery and Google cloud will back them up from there, but it is not acceptable to lose the context of those pictures in our conversations. When will RCS backup/restore be supported by Google or a third party app? If you adopt RCS before backup/restore support is available you're saying it's okay to lose your messaging history whenever disaster strikes.
  • No RCS on unlocked S8+ on Xfinity Mobile. Was briefly enabled when on AT&T. But disabled when I switched to XM.