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What Apple’s RCS Support for iPhones Means for You

Apple has unexpectedly announced that iPhones will now support RCS texting, a move that has been long awaited by many. This is a significant development that goes beyond just smartphone communication and could potentially change the dynamics of social interactions.

But what exactly is RCS and what does it mean for iPhone users? RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a communication protocol for text messaging that is designed to replace SMS. Unlike SMS, RCS requires a data plan or Wi-Fi to function and supports longer texts, high-resolution multimedia, read receipts, encryption, and more. It has been developed for over 15 years and was heavily invested in by Google as the successor to the SMS protocol.

Despite the introduction of RCS, SMS will not go away anytime soon as it still provides stability and reliability and is supported by every phone and carrier. When an Android phone user texts an iPhone, the message is still sent as SMS, which can be identified by the green bubbles in the messaging app.

With the introduction of RCS, iPhone users will now be able to send and receive longer messages, high-resolution photos and videos, read receipts, typing indicators, group chats, stickers, reactions, and more when texting Android users. However, Apple will only support the baseline RCS Universal Standard, and not Google’s proprietary extension, meaning end-to-end encryption will not be available for messages between Apple and Android users.

It is expected that RCS support on iPhones will go live sometime in 2024, with the release of iOS 18. Once RCS is introduced, iPhone users will be able to send text messages via Wi-Fi and mobile data, receive read receipts, typing indicators, and share locations. For iPhone-to-iPhone texting, the iMessage service will remain unchanged even after the adoption of RCS.

Despite the introduction of RCS, the identifiable green bubbles for SMS/MMS messages on iPhones will still remain. All in all, the introduction of RCS support for iPhones could greatly enhance the texting experience for both Android and iPhone users, but some limitations may still persist.

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