Apple has recently announced that it will integrate the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard into iPhones through a software update scheduled for “later next year.”
This move is seen as a response to pressure from regulators and competitors like Google and Samsung. RCS is set to enhance messaging between iPhone and Android users by introducing iMessage-style features such as read receipts, typing indicators, high-quality image and video sharing, and more.
The implementation of RCS on iPhones will work alongside the existing iMessage platform, which will continue to be the primary messaging service for Apple users. RCS aims to improve cross-platform messaging by offering better interoperability compared to traditional SMS or MMS.
It’s important to note that RCS does not currently support encryption as strong as iMessage’s end-to-end encryption.
Apple’s adoption of RCS is a significant shift from its previous stance, where it focused solely on enhancing iMessage. The company has also been working on improving SMS experiences between iPhone and Android users, with features like Tapbacks in iOS 16 and threaded replies in iOS 17.
Apple plans to collaborate with GSMA members to further enhance the RCS protocol, particularly in terms of security and encryption.
This development is expected to greatly improve the messaging experience between iPhone and Android users, reducing the limitations of SMS and MMS.
The availability of RCS may vary depending on the carrier, but it is supported by all three major US carriers and most others worldwide. Apple’s decision to adopt RCS aligns with its support for other open standards in various technology sectors.