Google, Verizon are bringing RCS messaging to Android users — but not Apple

What you need to know

  • Verizon is enabling RCS on all Android phones by shipping them with Android Messages.
  • RCS is the replacement for SMS, but Apple is set to be the odd one out.

At least for now.

Verizon has today announced a move that will see all of its future Android phones ship with Android Messages, enabling RCS as default for everyone. RCS is the replacement for the outgoing SMS platform and enables features like encryption, better message support, and more. But Apple isn’t in on the act.

Verizon’s announcement means that the big three major US carriers now all support RCS as standard on Android phones, with T-Mobile and AT&T having already signed on.

Messages by Google will be preloaded, starting next year, on all Verizon Android devices, enabling consumers to enjoy rich messaging features, such as sending and receiving higher-quality photos and videos, chatting over Wi-Fi or data, knowing when your message is read, enjoying more dynamic and engaging group chats, and securely chatting with other Messages users in available one-on-one conversations with end-to-end encryption.

This all of course leaves Apple as the only one still using SMS when iPhone users send messages to people with Android devices. Those sending messages to iPhone users will take advantage of iMessage and all the features that brings with it.

Whether Apple will support RCS via the Messages app in the future remains to be seen, but Google has already put the pressure on by reminding everyone that sending messages from iPhones to Android phones won’t be as good of an experience as sending them between Android devices.

In an ideal world we’d all just use the same service and protocols, but with Apple clearly not keen to bring iMessage to Android, RCS is the best way forward in many regards.

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