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Google confirms long-awaited iPhone reaction in Messages, still sad about RCS

Google Imessage
Google Imessage (Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google has confirmed a Messages upgrade for users communicating with their friends on iPhone.
  • Reactions are going to show up as emojis when sent from iPhones.
  • Google still wants Apple to adopt RCS.

Google has confirmed improvements to Messages on Android that will show iPhone users' reactions as actual emojis rather than text but says that Apple's continued resistance to RCS is hurting users.

The company stated:

When people with Android phones and iPhones message each other, not everything works the way it should. That's because these conversations rely on SMS, an outdated messaging standard, instead of RCS, a modern, more secure industry-standard Android uses that enables high-quality videos, emoji reactions, end-to-end encryption and more.While our latest updates can't fix everything about Android and iPhone conversations, here are a few ways we're addressing some of the biggest issues we've heard from you.

Those fixes are better reactions when sent from iPhone to Android, and improved video sharing from Android to iPhone thanks to Google Photos.

Google says these measures will help, but "can only do so much." "We encourage Apple to join the rest of the mobile industry and adopt RCS so that we can make messaging better and more secure, no matter what device you choose," the company stated. Apple's iPhone and iOS 15 platform continue to support SMS and iMessage, a topic of growing discussion. It has also been noted by some as a tool that helps Apple draw users to iPhone and keep them from switching to Android.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.

1 Comment
  • So Google is using RCS in their messages app, with a fallback to the standard SMS if the participants don't support RCS.
    Apple uses iMessage with a fallback to the standard SMS if the participants don't support iMessage.
    It would be different of THE universal standard was RCS, then Apple could fall back to RCS rather than SMS. As it is, Apple would likely keep iMessage, and have to support both RCS and SMS to retain universal compatibility.
    For most of the world, if people want compatibility across their friends they adopt a third party alternative altogether, WhatsApp, Baidu, whatever.