Strange iOS 17 iPhone bug claims SMS messages sent to Android phones have been 'read' as iOS 18's RCS support nears

Beeper Mini iMessage on Android
(Image credit: Future / Apple / Android)

When iOS 18 ships later this year it will bring support for RCS to the iPhone for the first time. RCS will allow iPhones to send and receive rich messages with Android devices and function similarly to iMessage, but some people report that they're seeing RCS-like behavior with older versions of iOS as well.

Read receipts are part of the RCS specification and they're one of the features iPhone owners are already looking forward to when chatting with their Android-toting friends and family. But some people say that they are already seeing SMS messages marked as "read" even when using older versions of the iPhone's operating system and long before iOS 18 ships to the public.

Some of those reporting this experience say they are using iOS 17, but oddly others say that they have experienced the same thing as far back as iOS 13, suggesting that this is more a bug than a feature.

Getting the message

A new post on Reddit includes a screenshot from an iPhone reportedly running iOS 17 complete with "Read" text beneath a green bubble. The poster says that the status started to appear on messages last week, while others have chimed in to say they're experiencing the same thing.

However, others say that this has been happening for a long time now, suggesting that perhaps Apple has a bug that it's yet to squash rather than this being some pre-launch RCS configuration on Apple's end that is bleeding over into iOS 17 devices.

As for iOS 18, that's currently available in developer beta while a public beta program will go live later this month. A final global public release isn't expected until September, though.

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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.