Apple to support Google RCS messaging on iPhone


In a significant shift, Apple has announced it will adopt the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard, yielding to years of pressure from competitors like Google and Samsung. This strategic move, scheduled for a 2024 release with iOS 18 marks a big change for cross-platform messaging between iPhone and Android users.

Responding to Google's persistent push for adoption, Apple's decision aims to enhance interoperability, addressing issues like poor image and video quality for Android users in group messages receiving scaled-down media via traditional MMS.

Apple has stated that iMessage, distinguished by its iconic blue bubbles, will remain the preferred and secure messaging experience for iPhone users. RCS, denoted by green bubbles, will coexist as an upgrade to SMS and MMS but won't integrate with iMessage-exclusive features such as stickers and games.

This means the debate over green vs. blue bubbles will persist with Apple maintaining blue for iMessage and introducing green for RCS and SMS. This choice aligns with Apple's commitment to distinguishing iMessage and upholding its reputation as the premier messaging platform.

RCS introduces a suite of iMessage-style features to cross-platform messaging, including read receipts, typing indicators, high-quality media, and the ability to share locations within text threads. While RCS lacks iMessage's end-to-end encryption, Apple reassures users of its commitment to security and privacy. The company plans to collaborate with GSMA members to enhance the RCS protocol, focusing on improving security and encryption without introducing proprietary elements.

Apple's adoption of RCS next year should improve cross-platform communication while preserving the distinctiveness and security of iMessage. Look for the upcoming iOS 18 update to introduce RCS in late 2024.