Apple is reportedly working towards improving the texting experience between iPhone and Android devices by adopting the RCS (Rich Communication Services) protocol in 2024. The new RCS standard will work alongside iMessage and bring several messaging features including read receipts, typing indicators, the ability to share high-quality images and videos, and more. RCS can work over mobile data or Wi-Fi. Currently, Android phones and carriers support the RCS messaging standard. The feature is said to reach iPhone models through a software update next year.
As per a report by 9to5Mac, an Apple spokesperson said in a statement that the iPhone will be gaining RCS (Rich Communication Services) support starting next year. The report quotes the statement — “Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users”. We’ve reached out to Apple for a comment.
The RCS feature will launch on iPhone models via a software update next year and add a wide range of iMessage-style features to messaging between iPhone and Android users including read receipts, and typing indicators. Also, users will be able to share and receive high-resolution photos and videos between iPhone and Android handsets with the new protocol. The adoption of RCS on iPhone models will also let people share their location in text threads and operate group chats quickly. Unlike regular SMS, RCS can work over cellular and Wi-Fi as well. RCS messages could be shown in green, like SMS messages.
Apple had pushed back the RCS standard backed by the GSM Association for more than a year, despite repeated requests from Google and Samsung. The messaging standard has already been adopted by Android phones and carriers nationwide. The implementation of RCS on iPhone will pave the way for a balanced communication experience between Android and iPhone models. However, iMessage will remain exclusive to Apple devices.
In response to Apple’s new announcement, Google’s Senior Vice President of Platforms and Ecosystems Hiroshi Lockheimer posted on X (formerly Twitter)— “Everybody should have secure and modern messaging without worrying what kind of phone they’re texting to. So glad to see Apple joining our ongoing work with the GSMA on RCS to make texting better for all!”.
The announcement also comes just days after Carl Pei-led Nothing announced that its Android phones would support iMessage via a new feature.