Apple is finally bringing RCS messaging to the iPhone

RCS on iPhone
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It’s finally happening! After years of public outcry and marketing campaigns from brands like Google and Samsung calling out Apple, the company is finally bringing RCS messaging support to the iPhone in 2024. It’s still not getting rid of the whole “blue bubble vs green bubble” debate but iPhone users will finally be able to enjoy features like read receipts, high-res media, and more with RCS when texting with Android users.

RCS on iPhone: An overview

According to Apple, “We believe the RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS”. This seemingly unexpected decision is most likely Apple’s response to the increasing pressure from the European Union (EU)’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which requires Apple to make its service interoperable with other platforms.

Last week (November 16, 2023) was the deadline for Apple to argue to the EU regulators that iMessage shouldn’t be designated as a core platform service. Therefore, it’s clear that Apple’s move to support RCS messaging is to appease the regulators.

What problems will it solve?

The introduction of RCS in iPhone will eliminate the disparity in messaging features between iPhone and Android users. As mentioned before, issues like pixelated media files, the absence of read receipts, and the lack of iMessage-style functionalities will become a thing of the past when texting between Android users. So with RCS, Apple gets to offer a seamless, feature-rich experience for all users, regardless of their choice of smartphone.

RCS on iPhones

But why is RCS better than SMS or MMS?

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is not an app, but a messaging protocol that enhances the traditional SMS/MMS experience. It introduces high-quality media transfer, tap-back reactions, read receipts, and Wi-Fi texting. Bringing it closer to the iMessage experience.

RCS over SMS

The struggle with SMS and MMS limitations is a thing of the past with the introduction of RCS in iPhone. So while iMessage is quite dominant in the US, this move marks a significant step towards easier cross-platform messaging.

Is it a big deal outside the US?

But outside of the US, it’s a different story entirely. iMessage is really not that popular in other parts of the world as most people prefer other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, and Messenger. Nonetheless, Apple’s plan to adopt RCS messaging is a welcome move for iPhone-owners everywhere.