Google's RCS messaging is coming to iPhone in 2024

Posted:
in iOS edited November 2023

Following years of pressure from Google for Apple to adopt the presently flawed RCS system within iMessage, Apple has committed to doing so during 2024.

Messaging on iPhone will include RCS support in 2024
Messaging on iPhone will include RCS support in 2024



Android does not have a true equivalent alternative to Apple's iMessage on iPhone -- despite the Nothing company trying -- and Google's previous attempts have failed. Consequently, Google has been trying to argue that Apple is failing customers by not supporting its nearest attempt, RCS, and finally Apple has caved in.



In a statement to AppleInsider, and other venues, an Apple spokesperson was clear about the RCS debut.

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.



Part of the pressure on Apple to adopt RCS has been to do with how -- in the US -- there is a perceived stigma between the blue and green text messages of iMessage and other users. It's a distinction that is simply not noticed in the rest of the world, where WhatsApp has typically far greater penetration than iMessage.

It's not clear whether Apple's support of RCS will give Android users the same blue button appearance as iMessage users.

However, it should improved issues such as sending images and videos between iPhone and Android. At present, Android users in a group message chat will receive scaled-down images sent over traditional MMS.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Apple will obviously retain a visual distinction between iMessage & other protocols. The green bubble stigma is one of the greatest marketing tools ever, and it’s free.
    jas99headfull0winelordjohnwhorfinchasmgregoriusmappleinsideruserpulseimagesForumPosttdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,293member

    Following years of pressure from Google for Apple to adopt the presently flawed RCS system within iMessage, Apple has committed to doing so during 2024.

    Android does not have a true equivalent alternative to Apple's iMessage...
    Ummm, yes they do. The equally secure and private Google Messages. Unfortunately, the initial implementation of RCS on the iPhone will not be end-to-end encrypted. Still showing a bit of stubbornness I suppose.

    Keeping the blue bubble/green bubble distinction would be an advantage for Android users using the E2EE Google Messages (Apple users too if they understand what it means) since it will designate the conversation as potentially insecure. But I've been seeing claims the bubbles are going away. I don't know how true that is, as I thought blue and green indicated the level of encryption. 
    edited November 2023 ctt_zhgregoriusmAlex1Nnamethespruce
  • Reply 3 of 48
    So, Pink Bubbles are coming.
    coolfactorAlex1Ndee_deewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 48
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,346member
    Maybe switch to poop-brown bubbles. 
    jas99williamlondoncoolfactordee_deewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 48
    No, RCS is coming. Not Google’s implementation of it. 
    jas99williamlondonthtlordjohnwhorfinchasmgregoriusmericthehalfbeeomasouAlex1NAnilu_777
  • Reply 6 of 48
    Apple will obviously retain a visual distinction between iMessage & other protocols. The green bubble stigma is one of the greatest marketing tools ever, and it’s free.
    It wasn’t done for marketing purposes. It was done to distinguish the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS. The bubbles were all green originally. 
    jas99StymyxwilliamlondonthtchasmgregoriusmdewmeAlex1NAnilu_777ForumPost
  • Reply 7 of 48
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 
    aderuttergregoriusmtdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 48
    nubusnubus Posts: 419member
    After a decade of being tone-deaf... what a surprise! Nice to see Apple become smart about politics. It would have been better if Apple had taken part in the design of the standard, but this is good. Much better than being forced as with USB-C, right-to-repair, and soon AppStore alternatives.
    muthuk_vanalingamwilliamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 48
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    So, Pink Bubbles are coming.
    I was thinking a nice cheery yellow.
    chasmAlex1Ndee_deewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 48
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 
    It wasn’t done for marketing purposes. It was done to distinguish the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS. The bubbles were all green originally. 
    Exactly, because the iPhone user needs to know what messaging protocol is being used for a conversation so they can decide what's appropriate to say in that conversation (e.g., you probably don't want to share a password when seeing green bubbles).

    I think they will go with a third color in the red family, with pink being the most likely. If the RCS standard gets E2EE, there might be a 4th color (purple?) that denotes that. Why 2 different colors for RCS? Because older implementations that don't support E2EE will still be around for quite a while and you need to be able to distinguish them from those that do.
    gregoriusmAlex1Njas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 48
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 

    RCS requires data, just like iMessage. SMS is the fallback for both when data (over cellular or wifi) is not available.

    RCS supports Delivery and Read status. I suspect that the bubbles will remain green, but with the extra indicators to distinguish RCS from SMS.
    gregoriusmwilliamlondonAlex1Ntdknoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 48
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,347member
    Now if only Google would fix their version, and fully implement it on their own stuff …

    (Note: RCS ≠ Google, Google is just pushing their own version of it, which Apple appears to have rejected in favor of the base standard)

    I am happy to hear that Android users in a group chat will start getting full images/videos under RCS. That was indeed a flaw of SMS/MMS, and something that needed to be fixed out of common courtesy. I’m glad found an acceptable alternative to support.

    PS. GatorGuy earning his commission today LOL
    edited November 2023 gregoriusmwilliamlondonauxioAlex1Nroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 48
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,738member
    nubus said:
    After a decade of being tone-deaf... what a surprise! Nice to see Apple become smart about politics. It would have been better if Apple had taken part in the design of the standard, but this is good. Much better than being forced as with USB-C, right-to-repair, and soon AppStore alternatives.
    Because hey, if you invest in the R&D and come up with a well designed technology from the get-go, you should be forced to either give it away to everyone or switch to someone else's once they clone it. No point in being a company which actually tries to make money from creating well-designed new technology products when you can be an advertising company which gives all the technology they create (typically clone) away for free.

    I'm wondering if this business model is going to start making its way into other professions too. Where, say, architects and engineers create buildings for free, and make money by installing cameras, microphones, and special wireless signal monitoring systems into those buildings. How far do we take this "everything must be free" mentality?

    I get the fact that, eventually, interoperability is needed/desired. Would would be ideal is compensating the creator of the technology when it's decided that it should be opened up for interoperability. Much like the FRAND system on the hardware side of things. That would ensure that companies which want to focus on innovating and creating technology products can avoid being forced to fund their work via advertising, or cloned and owned by competitors who come along after them. And yes, the technology they create should be evaluated to determine if they truly added value to it rather than just repackaging something which already existed.
    edited November 2023 williamlondonAlex1Njas99watto_cobrastrongy
  • Reply 14 of 48
    gatorguy said:

    Following years of pressure from Google for Apple to adopt the presently flawed RCS system within iMessage, Apple has committed to doing so during 2024.

    Android does not have a true equivalent alternative to Apple's iMessage...
    Ummm, yes they do. The equally secure and private Google Messages. Unfortunately, the initial implementation of RCS on the iPhone will not be end-to-end encrypted. Still showing a bit of stubbornness I suppose.

    Keeping the blue bubble/green bubble distinction would be an advantage for Android users using the E2EE Google Messages (Apple users too if they understand what it means) since it will designate the conversation as potentially insecure. But I've been seeing claims the bubbles are going away. I don't know how true that is, as I thought blue and green indicated the level of encryption. 
    It's not stubbornness, it's simply that the extensions which Google has made to RCS which support E2E encryption are proprietary and only available via the closed-source Google Messages app, and with service providers that run their customers' messages on Google (proprietary) Jibe platform. 

    The reality is that Google end-to-end messaging system, while built on RCS, is as proprietary and closed as iMessage. That's why non-Google versions of Android such as Graphene which ship the stock (open source) messages app don't have support for encrypted RCS. If you want that on Android, you and all your friends have to be using Google's closed-off software. 
    gregoriusmauxiowilliamlondonAlex1Nroundaboutnowjas99Anilu_777watto_cobrastrongy
  • Reply 15 of 48
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,738member
    gatorguy said:

    Following years of pressure from Google for Apple to adopt the presently flawed RCS system within iMessage, Apple has committed to doing so during 2024.

    Android does not have a true equivalent alternative to Apple's iMessage...
    Ummm, yes they do. The equally secure and private Google Messages. Unfortunately, the initial implementation of RCS on the iPhone will not be end-to-end encrypted. Still showing a bit of stubbornness I suppose.

    Keeping the blue bubble/green bubble distinction would be an advantage for Android users using the E2EE Google Messages (Apple users too if they understand what it means) since it will designate the conversation as potentially insecure. But I've been seeing claims the bubbles are going away. I don't know how true that is, as I thought blue and green indicated the level of encryption. 
    It's not stubbornness, it's simply that the extensions which Google has made to RCS which support E2E encryption are proprietary and only available via the closed-source Google Messages app, and with service providers that run their customers' messages on Google (proprietary) Jibe platform. 

    The reality is that Google end-to-end messaging system, while built on RCS, is as proprietary and closed as iMessage. That's why non-Google versions of Android such as Graphene which ship the stock (open source) messages app don't have support for encrypted RCS. If you want that on Android, you and all your friends have to be using Google's closed-off software. 
    Great point! I always forget about the GMS certification end of things. Which is essentially Google's way of ensuring that, if you're going to use their "free and open" technology, you can't bypass their data harvesting mechanisms (apps and services). We're open, right up until the point where it affects our bottom line. Same reason why Apple doesn't open up their technology.
    williamlondonAlex1Njas99watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 48
    I’m a little surprised by this, but wouldn’t be surprised if this was Apple’s way of getting around the EU’s gate keeper law, they’ll just say messages supports RCS therefore if RCS meets the EU’s requirement so does the messages app. 
    Alex1Nroundaboutnowdee_deejas99Anilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 48
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,988member
    nubus said:
    After a decade of being tone-deaf... what a surprise! Nice to see Apple become smart about politics. It would have been better if Apple had taken part in the design of the standard, but this is good. Much better than being forced as with USB-C, right-to-repair, and soon AppStore alternatives.
    Two leg overs in one day, one for the premiere of China, and one for Google. :smile: 
  • Reply 18 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,293member
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 
    It wasn’t done for marketing purposes. It was done to distinguish the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS. The bubbles were all green originally. 
    Exactly, because the iPhone user needs to know what messaging protocol is being used for a conversation so they can decide what's appropriate to say in that conversation (e.g., you probably don't want to share a password when seeing green bubbles).

    I think they will go with a third color in the red family, with pink being the most likely. If the RCS standard gets E2EE, there might be a 4th color (purple?) that denotes that. Why 2 different colors for RCS? Because older implementations that don't support E2EE will still be around for quite a while and you need to be able to distinguish them from those that do.
    You understand that Apple's implementation will be the unencrypted one, left in the hands of carriers to manage? That will mean you as an iPhone user are not the only one who should know what protocol is being used. When you're in a conversation with Google RCS users, their messages may not be as private as they otherwise would be would be due to your RCS exposing them to carrier snooping.

    But at the moment the only way to E2E encrypt your RCS messages will be for Apple to secure them on Apple servers or use Google to do so. It doesn't appear Apple wants to go to that trouble and expense and will wait out carriers to take responsibility for it whenever GSM finalizes. 
  • Reply 19 of 48
    gatorguy said:
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 
    It wasn’t done for marketing purposes. It was done to distinguish the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS. The bubbles were all green originally. 
    Exactly, because the iPhone user needs to know what messaging protocol is being used for a conversation so they can decide what's appropriate to say in that conversation (e.g., you probably don't want to share a password when seeing green bubbles).

    I think they will go with a third color in the red family, with pink being the most likely. If the RCS standard gets E2EE, there might be a 4th color (purple?) that denotes that. Why 2 different colors for RCS? Because older implementations that don't support E2EE will still be around for quite a while and you need to be able to distinguish them from those that do.
    You understand that Apple's implementation will be the unencrypted one, left in the hands of carriers to manage? That will mean you as an iPhone user are not the only one who should know what protocol is being used. When you're in a conversation with Google RCS users, their messages may not be as private as they otherwise would be would be due to your RCS exposing them to carrier snooping.

    But at the moment the only way to E2E encrypt your RCS messages will be for Apple to secure them on Apple servers or use Google to do so. It doesn't appear Apple wants to go to that trouble and expense and will wait out carriers to take responsibility for it whenever GSM finalizes. 
    Apple's implementation will be the Standard one. If E2EE becomes part of the standard then Apple will likely support it. As far as Android users knowing what messaging protocol is in use, that's Google's problem to solve, not Apple's. 
    williamlondonroundaboutnowAnilu_777watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 48
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,738member
    gatorguy said:
    I think they’ll still have blue and green bubbles. It’s just that the green bubble fallback option will be RCS and have more functionality than SMS. They won’t have the same level of encryption or the “surprise and delight” features like Memoji. Hence the need to still distinguish RCS from iMessage. 
    It wasn’t done for marketing purposes. It was done to distinguish the difference between iMessage and SMS/MMS. The bubbles were all green originally. 
    Exactly, because the iPhone user needs to know what messaging protocol is being used for a conversation so they can decide what's appropriate to say in that conversation (e.g., you probably don't want to share a password when seeing green bubbles).

    I think they will go with a third color in the red family, with pink being the most likely. If the RCS standard gets E2EE, there might be a 4th color (purple?) that denotes that. Why 2 different colors for RCS? Because older implementations that don't support E2EE will still be around for quite a while and you need to be able to distinguish them from those that do.
    You understand that Apple's implementation will be the unencrypted one, left in the hands of carriers to manage? That will mean you as an iPhone user are not the only one who should know what protocol is being used. When you're in a conversation with Google RCS users, their messages may not be as private as they otherwise would be would be due to your RCS exposing them to carrier snooping.

    But at the moment the only way to E2E encrypt your RCS messages will be for Apple to secure them on Apple servers or use Google to do so. It doesn't appear Apple wants to go to that trouble and expense and will wait out carriers to take responsibility for it whenever GSM finalizes. 
    It'll work both ways. Sure, iPhone users who use RCS to message Android users won't be able to encrypt their messages, but the same goes for Android users who message iPhone users. So it's both Apple and Google won't pay for the server costs required to do E2E encryption for messages sent to the other's platform.
    williamlondonAlex1Nroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
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