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Google wants to help Apple bring RCS messaging to iPhones

RCS chat
RCS chat (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer has offered to help Apple add RCS support to its devices.
  • All major U.S. carriers have committed to make RCS the default texting solution on Android devices next year.
  • RCS can truly replace SMS only if Apple adds support for the texting standard to iPhones.

Google senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer offered to help Apple add RCS support to iPhones in a tweet posted earlier today.

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The tweet was posted in response to a story from Golf Digest about golfer Bryson DeChambeau being the "green-text guy ruining iMessage group chats." Lockheimer jokingly added that there is a "Really Clear Solution" to group chats not breaking this way.

While RCS didn't have a great start, Google managed to convince all major U.S. carriers to help make it the default texting solution on Android phones on their networks earlier this year. Starting 2022, Google Messages will be the default messaging app on all Android phones sold by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Several carriers around the world have also extended support for the messaging standard. Samsung, which is the biggest Android OEM, added RCS Chat features to its Messages app late last year.

The Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol enables several useful features such as enhanced group messaging, animated stickers, read receipts, as well as end-to-end encryption. It also allows users to easily share high-resolution photos and videos, just like the best Android messaging apps.

Google enabled end-to-end encryption for its Google Messages app in June this year. Currently, encryption works only when both the users are using Google Messages with RCS Chat enabled. The feature is expected to be extended to group chats as well in the future, but there's no word on exactly when that will happen.

While there's no doubt that RCS is a much more secure messaging standard than SMS, it needs to be supported by Apple before it can universally replace SMS. Despite increasing pressure from carriers, Apple hasn't announced any plans of adding RCS support yet.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan
19 Comments
  • And what will they offer next? Help to adopt VHS?
    When will Americans realise that, just because they are stuck in 2001 using SMS, the rest of the World has moved on?
    Apple has no interest in RCS because no one texts anymore. Instant messaging apps have long replaced SMS/MMS/RCS worldwide. Apple knows it so they don't care if only 1 country our of 195 insists in living in the past.
    It's time 'murica gets on with the program and joins the rest of us. 'cause the constant whining about RCS is just getting...sad.
  • And use WhatsApp, which is is owned by Facebook? No thanks. Maybe if Facebook wasn't involved I would have been on WhatsApp but I'm good. As far as other options like signal and telegram, it's a lot of work convincing people to switch to a different platform. I prefer a solution that should just work out of the box. That's just me. Feel free to disagree.
  • Indeed. I only know a few people who use something other than texting. And in their situations it's only for a select group of people like coworkers, gamers in clans, a book club etc. Otherwise even they use sms or mms for their day to day communication.
  • Exactly. There so many of these messaging platforms and everyone uses a different one. So how do we all communicate? SMS, that's how. I know very few people who use anything else.
  • Might be the dumbest comment of the day, and I just came from a thread about climate change lol.
  • Why not support both though? Plenty of communication comes through SMS whether you like it or not. Just like phone calls. Yes, there are better video calling platforms but what's wrong with enhancing the standard?
  • I don't get why there is always some Eurotrash person raising Hell about Americans using SMS. It's nothing to you. You dont live here you can use any type of communication you like. I get that you hate America so why visit an American tech site?
  • Lots of people use Text, if they want to contact me then they either use Text or voice, I don't use whatsapp while I do have Facebook Messenger installed, i use it once in a blue moon. After the problems Facebook have had, it seems like normal SMS is the most reliable form of messaging, and I mean normal SMS, not this fancy RCS stuff. I don't use that either, the SMS app on my phone don't support it, nor do my mobile network provider. Imessage send the message via SMS when sending to a non Iphone device.
  • Hopefully they resolve the issues that RCS is having now before going further. The last few weeks I've had numerous occasions where I see "connecting" when I look at the status of chat features after I notice that texts aren't going through. It used to happen rarely and a reboot seemed to fix it but now reboots do nothing and it takes hours to resolve on its own.
  • Yeah, I'm sure Apple will jump at the chance to undermine iMessage.
  • It doesn't really undermine it though. It just changes the fallback. Hell, they'll likely still keep the bubble color and group msg breaking limitations in place. However it would be able to be encrypted and more secure, which is something apple looooooves to tout.
  • Secure and private is something they tout to sell Apple products and services, not something to encourage their users to talk to the Android peasantry.
  • Yeah, but if many people are busy talking to many Android users as well, isn't it in their best interest to still protect that privacy when using SMS? Why should SMS users be holding back an Apple user's privacy? There's no reason NOT to add RCS
  • Still waiting for Google to bring RCS to Google Voice. I find it strange how they continually ignore the service but are pushing RCS everywhere else and they promised it would get RCS years ago. Still nothing.
  • That is a good point.
    How can Google be taken seriously trying to convince Apple to support RCS when they can't get their own Google Voice to support it?
  • Because Google Voice isn't their main messaging app. Even if they promised RCS, it is not a priority as it is not their main texting app.
  • It won't work till the carriers force apples hand to force RCS as the fallback instead of sms.
  • Is it that hard for the big three to just kill SMS and make RCS the universal standard? If Apple don’t jump aboard and support RCS, Android users and Apple users can’t text each other, thereby forcing the Feds to step in. I am sure Apple don’t want that to happen.
  • Considering there are also many people using Android that don't have RCS, and even RCS still has all kinds of connection problems here and there, it would be a huge mistake to completely shut down SMS to push the adoption of RCS.