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

Ios 14 Messages Groups Inline Replies Mentions
Ios 14 Messages Groups Inline Replies Mentions (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

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.

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.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.