Apple in mid-November introduced that it can undertake Wealthy Communication Companies (RCS) in 2024, upgrading messaging requirements for non-iMessage conversations. Apple’s information got here as a shock as a result of Google had been aggressively pushing Apple to implement RCS for a number of years, however Apple hadn’t budged.
This information explains every thing that you have to find out about RCS, together with the way it works, how you may apply it to Apple units, why Apple determined to undertake it now, and the advantages which you can anticipate to see when assist is added.
Wealthy Communication Companies, or RCS, is a communication protocol developed by the GSM Affiliation and championed by Google. As a communication protocol, RCS is utilized by smartphone producers and carriers to ship text-based messages, photos, and movies between units. It is principally what’s going to energy the textual content messages that you just ship to individuals together with your iPhone and different Apple units.
RCS is a substitute for SMS (Brief Messaging Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), each of that are used for information sharing over mobile networks. RCS combines the options of SMS and MMS, and provides further performance. It is going to be what means that you can ship texts to individuals who haven’t got iPhones for iMessage.
There are an a variety of benefits to RCS in comparison with the prior MMS and SMS options. A lot of the enhancements will likely be seen in iPhone to Android chats as a result of for conversations between Apple machine house owners, iMessage will proceed to be the default.
- Help for greater decision images and movies.
- Help for bigger file sizes and file sharing.
- Audio messages.
- Cross-platform emoji reactions.
- Actual-time typing indicators.
- Learn receipts.
- Skill to ship messages over mobile or Wi-Fi (SMS is mobile solely). There isn’t any price to ship an RCS message over Wi-Fi.
- Improved group chats.
- Higher safety. Google’s model of RCS has end-to-end encryption, which Apple doesn’t intend to make use of. Apple will as an alternative work with the GSMA to develop a safer type of encryption that’s baked natively into RCS.
RCS vs SMS/MMS
SMS or Brief Messaging Service is supported by nearly all cell phones, and it’s designed to permit you to ship textual content messages from machine to machine. It’s accompanied by the Cell Messaging Service extension that helps images, movies, and longer textual content messages. Each of those requirements have been round for greater than twenty years and have fallen behind extra trendy chat apps by way of options.
RCS is actually a modernized model of SMS/MMS that carriers and good telephone producers began adopting proper round a decade in the past, nevertheless it has taken time for it to be supported and never all firms have added assist (akin to Apple), so the extra common (and extra restricted) SMS/MMS requirements have caught round too.
Maybe one of many largest adjustments is the best way that SMS/MMS and RCS work. SMS and MMS are service supported and require a mobile connection to perform. RCS is supported by carriers, however RCS messages will be despatched over a mobile or Wi-Fi connection, just like iMessages, so there isn’t any particular mobile connection requirement.
RCS is the truth is way more like WhatsApp, iMessage, Messenger, and related chat apps, however baked right into a smartphone’s default textual content messaging app. It helps options that SMS/MMS don’t, like typing indicators, high-resolution photos, file transfers, and video calls.
RCS and iMessage
RCS works alongside iMessage, and it doesn’t substitute iMessage. For iPhone to iPhone conversations and texts on any Apple machine to a different Apple machine, iMessage would be the default.
After RCS assist is applied, should you flip off iMessage in your iPhone, it can doubtless default to RCS on supported units as that would be the textual content messaging customary for non-iMessage communications.
iMessage will proceed to perform precisely because it does now with no change for communications between Apple machine customers.
What RCS Means for iPhone Customers
When you have pals or relations which have an Android machine, you may see an enchancment in a few of the frustrations that include cross-platform messaging.
Group texts between Android and iPhone customers will likely be much less buggy, and there will not be the identical limitations on photograph and video dimension that may trigger media to not ship. The tapback reactions that you just use on an iPhone may have an emoji response equal on Android, so tapbacks will not be fairly as complicated to your Android utilizing pals.
Learn receipts and typing indicators will likely be obtainable for iPhone to Android communications and will not simply be restricted to iPhone to iPhone iMessages when RCS rolls out.
Generally, iPhone house owners and people with different Apple units do not want to consider RCS or fear about it. It is a change that is going to occur within the background with no person interplay required. Communication is just not altering between iPhones, and between iPhone and Android customers, messaging would be the identical, however improved by way of reliability.
RCS and Android
Textual content conversations with Android customers are the first manner iPhone customers will expertise RCS when it comes out. RCS will solely be obtainable when all individuals within the dialog have a tool and a service that assist it, however that ought to embody most Android customers in america.
Android units have had RCS for a while as Google and Samsung have supported it for a number of years and have been pushing Apple to undertake it.
Proper now, sharing images and movies with Android customers will be difficult for an iPhone person, and typically images and movies are too massive or will not ship. There are additionally typically points with group conversations between Android and iPhone customers, each by way of supported options and stability.
Speaking to an Android person must be much less of a trouble than it’s now when RCS rolls out as a result of options like emoji reactions will likely be supported, there will likely be typing indicators, and information and pictures mustn’t fail to ship.
Inexperienced Bubbles vs. Blue Bubbles
Whereas it will likely be much less irritating to speak with “inexperienced bubble” individuals on an Apple machine, chat bubble colours usually are not altering.
iMessage conversations will proceed to be denoted with blue chat bubbles, and RCS messages will proceed to be inexperienced, the identical as SMS/MMS messages at the moment are. Notice that SMS and MMS aren’t going away. They will proceed to be obtainable on networks that do not assist RCS and in conditions the place RCS is unavailable.
RCS requires the entire units collaborating in a dialog to have assist for the function, and the community must assist it too. So should you occur to message somebody who makes use of a service that does not assist RCS or who has RCS turned off, it can fall again to SMS.
A Notice on Encryption
Google’s implementation of RCS for Google Messages helps end-to-end encryption on Android units, however it’s price noting that Apple is adopting the RCS Common Profile created by the GSM Affiliation and never a model of RCS modified by Google. RCS messages will likely be safer, however will not be end-to-end encrypted as iMessage conversations are, no less than not till updates are made to the usual.
Apple says that it plans to work with the GSM Affiliation on additional enhancements for RCS, together with higher encryption.
Google, Samsung, and all U.S. carriers have adopted RCS, however in some nations, native carriers might want to add assist earlier than RCS between iPhones and different units will likely be purposeful.
Why Is Apple Supporting RCS Now?
Google has been virtually begging Apple to implement assist for RCS since 2022, launching a web site, beginning a social media marketing campaign, filming adverts, and organising billboards all with the goal of convincing Apple to assist the messaging customary.
In September 2022, Tim Cook dinner stated that adopting RCS was not a precedence for Apple. “I do not hear our customers asking that we put loads of power into that at this level,” he stated. So what’s modified? It is not completely clear, however regulatory points have doubtless performed an element.
Apple is going through scrutiny over App Retailer, iMessage, and different proprietary applied sciences in a number of nations world wide, so by adopting a common messaging customary, Apple is displaying a willingness to assist machine interoperability.
Within the European Union, legislators are growing legal guidelines that might require Apple to make adjustments to iMessage to make it obtainable on different platforms in order that iMessage customers aren’t locked in to Apple units. With RCS, iMessage may have fewer advantages which can be unavailable cross-platform, and nearer function parity will likely be obtainable on iPhone and Android units.
When Will Apple Undertake RCS?
Apple stated that it plans to undertake RCS “later subsequent yr,” which implies in some unspecified time in the future in 2024. The “later” wording means that it may come extra towards the top of the yr, maybe in iOS 18, however that’s not confirmed as of but.