Apple could take a big step toward improving texting between iPhone and Android devices by adopting the Rich Communication Services standard in 2024.
According to 9 to 5Mac on Thursday, an Apple spokesperson said in a statement that RCS – a feature-rich SMS sending standard available on Android phones – will appear on iPhones and will work with iMessage. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Later next year, we will add support for RCS Universal Profile, a standard currently published by the GSM Association,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to 9to5Mac. “We believe that the RCS Universal Profile will provide better interoperability compared to SMS and MMS. It will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”
No exact time frame was given. This move could lead to significant improvements in the way text messages are sent between Apple iPhones and other phones, as RCS supports typing indicators, high-quality media sharing, and in-line reactions. RCS currently supports these features for text messages between Android phones using the Google Messages app, which is the default texting app on most Android phones.
“Everyone deserves to communicate with each other in a modern and safe way, regardless of the phone they have. That’s why we’ve been working closely with the mobile industry to accelerate RCS adoption, and we’re pleased that Apple is considering it.” Today we’ll take the first step by joining RCS,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We welcome Apple’s participation in our ongoing work with GSMA to advance RCS and make messaging more fair and secure, and we look forward to working with the company to implement this on iOS in a way that works for everyone.”
If this indeed happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of Apple’s best iMessage features will suddenly become available to Android users. Both Apple and Google have added their own exclusive features to their texting apps, such as the Apple Check In feature for location sharing and Google Magic Compose feature which uses artificial intelligence to create texts. It cannot mean death either green bubble and blue bubble situation.
Updated at 2:18 PM PT: Adds a comment from a Google spokesperson.