Apple Adopting RCS in 2024 →

Chance Miller has some big news over on 9to5Mac:

In a surprising move, Apple has announced today that it will adopt the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard. The feature will launch via a software update “later next year” and bring a wide range of iMessage-style features to messaging between iPhone and Android users.

Here’s a statement Apple made to the publication:

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.

RCS will replace SMS/MMS as the fallback when iMessage is not available, and is not replacing iMessage as the default protocol for messaging between users in the Apple ecosystem. It will bring a bunch of features to Green Bubble Chats, including read receipts, high-resolution media sharing and more.

Unlike iMessage, RCS does not offer end-to-end encryption of the box, but Google added it via its Messages app earlier this year. In speaking to 9to5Mac, Apple said it plans on working with the partners behind RCS to improve security across the system. According to TechRadar, “Apple says it won’t be supporting any proprietary extensions that seek to add encryption on top of RCS and hopes, instead, to work with the GSM Association to add encryption to the standard.”

This comes after pressure from Google, Samsung and others, and after Tim Cook poked fun of it in 2022. Regardless of why Apple is suddenly willing to play ball,1 this change should make cross-platform texting better for everyone involved. Hopefully Apple’s efforts will make it more secure as well.

  1. It’s almost as if regulation can be a good thing…