Apple is finally adding RCS to the iPhone – and I couldn’t be more excited

iPhone iMessage with Windows laptop

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Apple iOS 18 is becoming one of the most important upgrades in software history. Amidst it all AI features and the user interface is tweaked with extensive customization options, it looks like Apple is revamping the iOS experience as we know it, which will change everything for iPhone owners in years next.

Also: 5 iOS 18 features I’ve been using on Android for a while

But by far one of the best features of iOS 18 has nothing to do with Cupertino’s latest innovations. In fact, it originates from another part of California: Mountain View. RCS.

A few years ago, a new text messaging standard called Rich Communications Service or RCS was introduced by Google. It is designed to replace the SMS messaging feature that has been around since the 1990s. RCS supports a range of modern messaging features such as higher quality photos and videos, read receipts, clear audio messages clearer, etc., making it feel more like a messaging service like Telegram or iMessage.

It took a while for the new standard to be implemented but it eventually reached everyone Android phone Use the Google Messages app thanks to extensive carrier support.

Even though this feature has been available on Android phones for years, Apple still refuses to bring it to the iPhone. The company relied on the poorer experience to remind users that talking to other iPhone users using iMessage is better than talking to Android users via SMS. Naturally, it’s a huge disappointment not only for tech-savvy people who are begging for high-quality video sharing between platforms, but also for users who just want a better messaging experience.

Also: You’ll soon be able to text 911 via RCS on your Android phone. Here’s how it works

Luckily, we’re getting that. Right before Apple was forced to Bring RCS to iPhone Through European regulators, the company announced that this technology will be implemented on its devices by the end of 2024. We have now confirmed that this feature will officially arrive. now as part of iOS 18.

Apple didn’t spend much time talking about it on stage during WWDC. In fact, Craig Federighi mentioned it for about two seconds at the end of his iOS 18 demo. They didn’t mention all the capabilities it would bring to the iPhone nor its benefits over SMS, which suggests the company doesn’t want to make it the pinnacle of the iOS experience. You can review the brief mention in Monday’s keynote below.

Despite Apple’s efforts to minimize that, RCS will improve the time you spend texting your Android friends with more multimedia support, read receipts, and more.

Unfortunately, we don’t know everything that RCS will enable on your iPhone. On Android, you can do things like share files, send messages over Wi-Fi, and even see the typing indicator. In iOS 18, we only confirmed some features thanks to the feature tag above Apple website: read receipt, (presumably) higher quality photos, and audio message. The text field will indicate when you’re texting using RCS, and all of your bubbles will remain green.

Also: Everything you need to know about Apple’s AI features coming to iPhone, Mac, and iPad

While we don’t know everything about RCS on iPhone, this is my most anticipated feature of iOS 18. Yes, the Apple Intelligence stuff looks great and I dig all the customizations Apple is working on. added to home screen. But my biggest problem when using my iPhone on a daily basis is sending messages to Android users via SMS, which is often extremely slow and unreliable on poorer connections.

There have been many times when I’ve tried texting my brother – who has a Pixel 7 Pro – only to discover that he never received my text for one reason or another. Try sending a photo via SMS and you’ll pray it works. And you can forget about sharing videos; I just use Telegram for that.

Also: Apple’s iOS 18 will let you record phone calls without the need for a third-party app

I found I could use a third-party messaging app to solve this problem. After all, that’s what I did with video sharing. But I want all my message threads to be in one place, and I like it to be the same app where I have all my iMessages. With RCS, I can finally do that, even if it doesn’t have all the features this technology can offer.

Of course, we still have time before using RCS on iPhone. Apple won’t release iOS 18 until the fall, and the feature isn’t out yet Live in beta. Until then, I’ll be anxiously waiting for that sweet “RCS” indicator to pop up in my Messages app, and you’ll probably hear from me when it happens.


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