The RCS hack for Android is starting to break

RCS messaging
RCS messaging (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • A hack that allowed you to enable RCS on the latest Google Messages beta popped up last week.
  • It seems to have stopped working for some.
  • OnePlus, Pixel, Xiaomi, and Samsung phones seem to be affected, while others are still able to access the new chat experience.

Google's slowly rolling out its attempt at mimicking the iMessage experience for Android, but with stunted success, mainly due to carriers dragging their heels. The company has tried bypassing them altogether in some places, but as we explained before, both the device and the carrier need to support RCS in order for it to work as intended.

If you don't live in Europe and still wanted to try RCS' richer texting experience, a new workaround using the Message beta for Android popped up last week that allowed you to do just that. Good things don't last forever, though, and it seems to be the case here. Reddit reports from various Android users show the new 'Chat features' section that shows up after enabling RCS is now unable to establish a connection or is informing them that their device is not supported.

That means the bevvy of features the new standard was supposed to bring with it — realtime delivery and read receipts, being able to see when other people are typing, and the ability to attach large video files and high-quality photos — are no longer available, and users are back to the vanilla SMS experience of yore.

It's not all bad news, though, and it doesn't seem like Google itself has turned off a switch somewhere. While some OnePlus, Pixel, Xiaomi, and Samsung phones are experiencing issues with the RCS workaround, others say they are continuing to use the service without any issues.

At the end of the day, though, what all this means is that Android users have to keep waiting on carriers, Google, and device makers to experience something that iPhone users have already had for years.

Google 'Chat': Everything you need to know

32 Comments
  • Gotta love these slow ass carriers
  • The carriers will roll out a new app in due time so you'll be fine.
  • Except when carriers, especially Verizon, rolls out RCS they are going to nickel and dime you for the options. They'll give a basic option then charge you for the full experience. Verizon still charges for visual voicemail that Youmail has always had for free.
  • And then due to anti competitive laws, Google will be able to flip the switch anyway. But millions of sheep will install the carrier app that is nefarious at least.
  • Still working on my 3axl
  • Still working on my Pixel 3. I still kinda expect it to break because Google is good a breaking things just like the carriers.
  • Same! Wonder if it's carrier specific? T-Mobile here.
  • Broken on my pixel XL 2. Gives double texts to my brothers pixel XL 2, but not my dad's or any of my friends. Plus it only shows when he's read my text to him, not when he's sending. Plus it doesn't do anything to anyone else's text. Also on Verizon we all are on except my friends using Sprint and att.
    Do they need to have it installed to work fully, does it work only over WiFi?
  • Both parties must have RCS enabled to get the benefits of RCS. (typing indicator, read receipts, large file transfers)
  • Same issue with me on Pixel 3. Don't know how to roll back the change.
  • Still working on my Unlocked Galaxy S10+ even after the most recent Messages beta update was installed.
  • It stopped working on my BlackBerry K2.
  • OG Pixel on Google Fi and Pixel 3XL on TMo, both still working
  • This whole mess is 100% Google fault. Apple will never open its walled garden of ecosystem lock in and the carriers have never done anything to make anyone think that they would ever do anything to make it easier for users to move between carriers. Google should have stuck with Hangouts which has had all the capabilities of RCS and more for years. Or just have put SMS fallback in Allo. Did they really think anyone on iPhone was going to use Allo for Chat over iMessage Whatsapp or FB Messenger. Of course not. All Google has succeeded in doing is sticking their customers with subpar services for years. Teenagers in the US are begging for iPhones for the express reason of being able to use iMessage because they will be left out of the loop of their peer group if they are on Android. It's amazing to me that Google can be such a successful company while being so willfully blind to it's completely failed messaging strategy.
  • I agree 100%. I remember using SMS on hangouts and it worked great. In fact, Hangouts had name recognition and people were actually starting to use it. It would have caught on.
  • Hangouts was awesome. Huge but awesome. Even if they just took video chat out and morphed Hangouts into Allo but kept the name we would be a lot further along that we are now. I'm sure not putting SMS failover into Allo was to try and push the carriers to move forward with RCS. Which failed in spectacular fashion.
  • Imagine how good Hangouts would be now if Google had kept working on it...
  • If you dislike Google so much - use another provider. Google is like any entity, there are successes and failures. Your comments are extreme.
  • Still works on my pixel 3A XL on tmo
  • Did the instructions work for you?? Was an additional step necessary for tmo.? I have a 3axl on tmo and cant get it to pass phone verification. Any info on how you got it setup would be appreciated thank you
  • I'm on T-Mo and still working. No additional steps needed than what are listed in the article. Working on S8 and Note9. DM me If you get it to say connected and we'll test it.
  • Still working on my note 9 tmobile.
  • Works fine for me on my Nokia 5.1+
  • OnePlus 7 pro connected here!
  • Still working on my Moto G7 on TMO
  • Still works on my pixel 3a
  • Couldn't have said it better myself. Google is really screwing the pooch on this. Nice while it lasted for a few days though.
  • I enabled it on my unlocked Huawei P30 (on Straight Talk) and it broke once the latest Messages beta came out. I simply went through the steps again, remembering to keep WiFi off during the process, and now it works like before.
  • Still working great for me on my Pixel 3a on Visible wireless. Posted via the BlackBerry keyboard from my Pixel 3axl
  • It never worked for me on either my OnePlus 6t or my Pixel 3a. Oh, well...
  • Still working on my OnePlus 7 pro but it broke on my wife's pixel 2xl then I fixed it again. Funny thing, my daughter's LG G4 was working without her even doing anything. When I opened the settings on her phone it was already enabled.
  • Still working on my 2XL on Verizon. Was having connection issues yesterday for awhile, though.