Hell freezes over – Apple Plans to support RCS messages from Android phones next year

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
November 16, 2023
2 min read

Lance Ulanoff, writing for TechRadar:

RCS or Rich Communication Services, a communications standard developed by the GSM Association and adopted by much of the Android ecosystem, is designed to universally elevate messaging communication across mobile devices. Even though Apple has been working with the group, it has until this moment steadfastly refused to add RCS support to iPhones. Now, however, Apple is changing its tune.

“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe the 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,” said an Apple spokesperson.

[…]

When RCS does arrive on your best iPhone, though, it means the end of the “green bubble shame” for your best Android phone-owning friends, family, and coworkers. They’ll be able to send and receive high-resolution photos and videos from their phones to your iPhone. Group messaging could become platform agnostic. And they’ll be able to share their location with you through RCS-supported messaging.

There is, naturally, a wrinkle here. The RCS standard still doesn’t support end-to-end encryption. Apple, which has offered encrypted messaging for over a decade, is kind of a stickler about security. 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.

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