Apple holds out in adopting next-generation RCS texting standard

Posted:
in General Discussion
As Android and mobile carriers plan to adopt the next-generation RCS standard for texting, Apple appears to be one of the sole remaining holdouts.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


Verizon on Tuesday announced that it would adopt the Rich Communications Service (RCS) standard beginning in 2021, joining AT&T and T-Mobile. It marks the final step toward replacing SMS with RCS on Android.

As The Verge points out, Apple has yet to announce any plans or interest in adopting RCS support for iPhone.

Through iMessage, Apple users have long had the features that RCS offers to Android owners. Likely because of that, Apple has been absent from conversations about adopting RCS.

What this means, essentially, is that both Android and iPhone users will be able to take advantage of rich texting features and end-to-end encryption, just not when messaging with each other. If an Android user messages an Apple user, or vice versa, the text will default back to SMS, which isn't end-to-end encrypted and has no enhanced texting features.

However, with Google's Android and all three major carriers in the U.S. adopting the RCS standard, Apple may be more interested in bringing support for the next-generation texting standard to its iPhone.

It likely won't replace iMessage, but RCS adoption could make communications between Android and iPhone users more feature-rich and secure.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,753member
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 30
    If Apple switched to RCS, how would a government be able to to silently spy on you by sending it an iMessage?
  • Reply 3 of 30
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,525member
    I wouldn’t trust this standard. 
    rcfa
  • Reply 4 of 30
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    Just had a quick read through the history and current status of RCS on the Wikipedia page.  Sounds like a real mess of carriers trying to market it as their own (joyn, message+, etc) and different levels of support.  Not surprising Apple wants to steer clear of it for now.

    EDIT: Not to mention there are security issues
    edited July 20 Japheyrepressthisrcfawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 30
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    Carriers will always be relevant!

    I like your second thought of having your carrier determine whether your fall-back option is RCS or SMS. So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 30
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    FileMakerFellerwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 30
    DangDaveDangDave Posts: 59member
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    As it stands right now SMS is not encrypted, but in my example RCS will be encrypted between AT&T users. What we don’t know is what will happen between carriers in the future?
    llamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 30
    DangDave said:
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    As it stands right now SMS is not encrypted, but in my example RCS will be encrypted between AT&T users. What we don’t know is what will happen between carriers in the future?
    So, in effect, this fall-back solution wouldn’t be able to achieve E2E encryption, since there is a weak link between Apple and the carrier (in both directions).
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 30
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,005member
    Beats said:
    I wouldn’t trust this standard. 
    No doubt your opinion is based on solid facts after researching the issue thoroughly.  
    avon b7CloudTalkinwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 30
    swat671swat671 Posts: 89member
    If Apple switched to RCS, how would a government be able to to silently spy on you by sending it an iMessage?
    Did your cat walk across the keyboard to type that? Or did you have a stroke or something?
    Rayz2016StrangeDaysmarc gwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 30
    swat671swat671 Posts: 89member
    Beats said:
    I wouldn’t trust this standard. 
    Why? It's just a new text messaging standard  
  • Reply 12 of 30
    swat671 said:
    Beats said:
    I wouldn’t trust this standard. 
    Why? It's just a new text messaging standard  
    Read the article linked to by Auxio - it's eye-opening.
    marc gwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    auxio said:
    Just had a quick read through the history and current status of RCS on the Wikipedia page.  Sounds like a real mess of carriers trying to market it as their own (joyn, message+, etc) and different levels of support.  Not surprising Apple wants to steer clear of it for now.

    EDIT: Not to mention there are security issues
    This thing is a dog’s regurgitated breakfast. 

    The GSMA claimed that it already knew of the issues SRLabs highlighted, and that "countermeasures and mitigation actions are available" for carriers to fix their RCS flaws. Nohl countered that those fixes haven't been implemented yet for any of the issues SRLabs presented on at Black Hat.
    So rather than fix the flaws, they’re going to leave it to the implementers to come up with fixes that’ll add even more flaws?

    For the good of humanity, Apple should release Messages for Android. 

    But of course, they’d end up in court if they did. 

    edited July 20 auxiollamawatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 30
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    DangDave said:
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    As it stands right now SMS is not encrypted, but in my example RCS will be encrypted between AT&T users. What we don’t know is what will happen between carriers in the future?
    Right, but RCS is supposed to be "the future" and fix all of the problems with SMS (including end-to-end encryption).  For there to be true end-to-end encryption, your iPhone needs to have the ability to encrypt everything before it's sent out.  Which would mean that Apple does need to care (add support for encrypting messages sent via RCS).  The Wikipedia article discusses why this could be a problem for carriers:

    Amnesty International researcher Joe Westby criticized RCS for not allowing end-to-end encryption, because it is treated as a service of carriers and thus subject to lawful interception.

    rcfawatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 30
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    Rayz2016 said:

    The GSMA claimed that it already knew of the issues SRLabs highlighted, and that "countermeasures and mitigation actions are available" for carriers to fix their RCS flaws. Nohl countered that those fixes haven't been implemented yet for any of the issues SRLabs presented on at Black Hat.
    So rather than fix the flaws, they’re going to leave it to the implementers to come up with fixes that’ll add even more flaws?
    Oh c'mon.  The carriers do such a great job of supporting devices, what could possibly go wrong when they have to update complex software??? /s
    edited July 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 30
    DangDaveDangDave Posts: 59member
    IMO, Apple will never abandon iMessage, nor will it ever create an Android App. The advanced messaging apps from Samsung, Google, and Verizon are all going the way of the dinosaur, as mobile carriers finally adopt RCS, and eventually implement the cross-carrier protocols. 

    Probably starting with AT&T, carrier and Apple software will be modified such that non iMessage text will go out as RCS instead of SMS. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 30
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,753member
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    Carriers will always be relevant!

    I like your second thought of having your carrier determine whether your fall-back option is RCS or SMS. So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    Not quite what I said. I get that Android phones are carrier-bitches but SJ had AT&T over a barrel & contracted Apple out of the carrier ‘firmware’ stranglehold.

    In Messages settings, I get to decide how the iMessage drops back to the lowest-common-denominator technology and I’d expect that to continue.  Let’s face it, non-Apple products are likely to screw this up so I’ll be needing that control.
    rcfawatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    As it stands right now SMS is not encrypted, but in my example RCS will be encrypted between AT&T users. What we don’t know is what will happen between carriers in the future?
    Right, but RCS is supposed to be "the future" and fix all of the problems with SMS (including end-to-end encryption).  For there to be true end-to-end encryption, your iPhone needs to have the ability to encrypt everything before it's sent out.  Which would mean that Apple does need to care (add support for encrypting messages sent via RCS).  The Wikipedia article discusses why this could be a problem for carriers:

    Amnesty International researcher Joe Westby criticized RCS for not allowing end-to-end encryption, because it is treated as a service of carriers and thus subject to lawful interception.

    Ah, I was wondering why this spec had such an obvious security flaw: it’s deliberate. 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 30
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    auxio said:
    Rayz2016 said:

    The GSMA claimed that it already knew of the issues SRLabs highlighted, and that "countermeasures and mitigation actions are available" for carriers to fix their RCS flaws. Nohl countered that those fixes haven't been implemented yet for any of the issues SRLabs presented on at Black Hat.
    So rather than fix the flaws, they’re going to leave it to the implementers to come up with fixes that’ll add even more flaws?
    Oh c'mon.  The carriers do such a great job of supporting devices, what could possibly go wrong when they have to update complex software??? /s
    Well, that’s just it. 

    Carriers never allow “ship with the phone” software to get updated. They’d rather you buy a new phone. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 30
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,165member
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    auxio said:
    DangDave said:
    mcdave said:
    I don’t see what this has to do with the carriers, are they trying to stay relevant?  

    Apple should just add RCS to  SMS as the fall-back option in iMessage.
    So here is the logic for iMessage users:
    1.) If you are an iPhone iMessage user and you try to chat/message a non-iMessage phone number it currently falls back to your carrier. 
    2.) Say your carrier is AT&T and you have an RCS capable phone, AT&T then checks to see if the phone number you are calling is an AT&T RCS number and if so, it will initiate a carrier chat. Apple shouldn’t care!
    3.) Eventually when AT&T successfully implements cross-carrier persistent RCS with other carriers you will be able to chat with anyone on those other carriers. Apple shouldn’t care!
    So how is it end-to-end encrypted if I type a message and Apple hands it off without encryption to the carrier?
    As it stands right now SMS is not encrypted, but in my example RCS will be encrypted between AT&T users. What we don’t know is what will happen between carriers in the future?
    Right, but RCS is supposed to be "the future" and fix all of the problems with SMS (including end-to-end encryption).  For there to be true end-to-end encryption, your iPhone needs to have the ability to encrypt everything before it's sent out.  Which would mean that Apple does need to care (add support for encrypting messages sent via RCS).  The Wikipedia article discusses why this could be a problem for carriers:

    Amnesty International researcher Joe Westby criticized RCS for not allowing end-to-end encryption, because it is treated as a service of carriers and thus subject to lawful interception.

    How end-to-end (RCS) encryption works

    When you use the Messages app to send end-to-end encrypted messages, all chats, including their text and any files or media, are encrypted as the data travels between devices. Encryption converts data into scrambled text. The unreadable text can only be decoded with a secret key. 

    The secret key is a number that’s:

    • Created on your device and the device you message. It exists only on these two devices.
    • Not shared with Google, anyone else, or other devices.
    • Generated again for each message.
    • Deleted from the sender's device when the encrypted message is created, and deleted from the receiver's device when the message is decrypted.

    The Messages delivery server, and any person or third-party who might gain access to data for messages and content sent between devices, won’t be able to read end-to-end encrypted messages because they don’t have the key.

    https://support.google.com/messages/answer/10262381?hl=en

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