AT&T adopts Google's RCS platform to enhance messaging on Android phones

Google Messages RCS chatting on a Pixel 4a.
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • AT&T's default Android messaging app will now use Google's Jibe RCS platform to replace its own RCS backend.
  • AT&T previously made the Google Messages app the default for Android phones in the U.S.
  • Customers should experience enhanced messaging and instant access to new RCS features.

AT&T is switching its default Android messaging app to support Google's RCS platform, a move that will likely benefit Android users subscribed to the platform.

The announcement came from Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president at Google. "AT&T's default Android messaging will now be via the Jibe platform, so their users will get the latest RCS features instantly," Lockheimer announced in a Tweet.

While the transition to RCS had a pretty rocky start, with carriers initially opting for their own joint implementation, Google has been pushing its own Jibe RCS standard to more users. Eventually, carriers caved in (sort of) and partnered with Google to make its Messages app the default on their Android phones. However, they still used their own implementations of the RCS standard.

T-Mobile now uses Jibe on many of its devices, and AT&T's support should improve the messaging experience for its subscribers, who will "will get the latest RCS features instantly."

To check who provides RCS services for your Messages app, tap on your account icon, navigate to Message settings > RCS chats, and scroll to the bottom of the screen.

RCS users at Google IO 2023

(Image credit: Android Central)

Lockheimer has been very vocal about expanding RCS support to more devices, particularly when it comes to Apple and iMessage. While Apple has been seemingly adamant about not supporting the standard, the announcement goes a step further to at least streamlining and improving the RCS experience across Android phones.

End-to-end encryption recently rolled out for group chats, ensuring messages remain private. Google also continues to add or test new features to the Messages app, including Magic Compose, which uses generative AI to write or rewrite messages in RCS chats.

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.