iOS 18 RCS rollout coming in the fall to bridge Apple & Android messaging gap

Posted:
in iOS

Apple is set to replace an aging texting protocol with a newer one to enhance compatibility with Android. Here's when it will roll out.

RCS support will be added to the iPhone sometime in 2024
RCS support will be added to the iPhone sometime in 2024



RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is an upgrade to a smartphone's traditional text messaging system (SMS). It makes text messages more like iMessage with iOS 18.

The RCS messaging protocol supports features like seeing when someone is typing, sending high-quality images and videos, and knowing when messages are read. Unlike the old SMS, RCS can use Wi-Fi and cellular data, making it more versatile and user-friendly.

Apple's decision to adopt RCS comes after years of reluctance. In 2022, Apple CEO Tim Cook remarked that RCS was "not a priority" for the company.

However, increasing regulatory pressures and the need for better interoperability have influenced the shift. The European Union, for example, required Apple to open iMessage to other platforms, which accelerated Apple's decision to adopt RCS.

While RCS will improve cross-platform communication, it won't replace iMessage. Apple's iMessage will remain the primary messaging platform for iPhone-to-iPhone communication, retaining its blue bubbles. RCS messages, on the other hand, will appear as green bubbles, much like current SMS and MMS messages.

When will RCS roll out on iPhone



Apple said in its WWDC 2024 announcement on Monday that RCS support will be introduced in a software update later in the year.

However, it may not coincide with the initial release of iOS 18. Users might see RCS features become available in subsequent updates.



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,146member
    Here's what I'm looking forward to with RCS - an end to carrier charging.

    While most cell plans here in NZ offer unlimited text, there's still a few old plans that charge 20c per text. Even with free text plans, they still charge for MMS (the real reason texting to Android users gives them crappy images). Going RCS will basically screw over the cell providers which I'm all for.
    bala1234gilly33Alex1NCrossPlatformFroggerappleinsideruserOferwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    This is really the only feature I'm looking forward to. The rest was meh. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 3 of 6
    ivauaivaua Posts: 8member
    I can't understand the excitement, really. RCS as SMS is the same - mobile operator depending service. I do not see it as a step forward, whatever the regulatory requirements could be. I will dare to say that nobody cares about it outside of USA. The phone could support the service but operator might be refusing to implement it in the network. Everyone is reacting as if it is platform agnostic system which doesn't require anything but support of the service on the user side. Meanwhile everyone (operators which declared support) relying on Google RCS servers but it is not replacing SMS to any stretch of imagination in the meantime. It is just a version of any other messenger relying on data connection (like iMessage or WhatsApp). Google pushed RCS forward but at the end of the day created an app which Google's response to Messages app on iPhone, falling back on SMS support when data is not available or person on the other side doesn't have iDevice (or doesn't support RCS). The only messenger know to me which was not relying on servers and was able to operate even without internet just on LAN was Skype (that was 20 years ago). Too much of hype over RCS. "Breaking news", iPhone is not a dominant platform outside of USA (barely 20%).

    PS: sorry for rant, I was holding it for too long.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    ivaua said:
    ...Meanwhile everyone (operators which declared support) relying on Google RCS servers but it is not replacing SMS to any stretch of imagination in the meantime. It is just a version of any other messenger relying on data connection (like iMessage or WhatsApp)...
    At least for everybody tech savvy enough to have an RCS compliant messaging app, this pushes things forward for their friends using iPhones refusing any other messaging app.  I am not sure that you can send any high quality media or get read receipts over a non data connection. A 7-bit encoded SMS is very small because it's the data size required to connect a call. Anything beyond that will be data/server based.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    OferOfer Posts: 259unconfirmed, member
    Any chance that Apple will create an end-to-end encryption implementation of RCS down the road?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 6
    ivauaivaua Posts: 8member
    Ofer said:
    Any chance that Apple will create an end-to-end encryption implementation of RCS down the road?
    RCS is a mobile communication industry standard (GSMA), Apple can only implement the existing standard unless industry will ask Apple to be a part of the process, but I doubt that Apple has any interest in it. Look at the presentation, they've spilled a bunch of functionality in iMessage which won't be supported elsewhere and with this just affirming position of iMessage.
    watto_cobra
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