Apple could be making a big step toward improving texting between iPhone and Android devices by adopting the Rich Communication Services standard in 2024.
According to 9to5Mac on Thursday, an Apple spokesperson said in a statement that RCS — a more feature-rich texting standard that’s available on Android phones — will be coming to the iPhone and will work alongside iMessage. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.
“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement to 9to5Mac. “We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.”
An exact time frame wasn’t given. The move may lead to a vast improvement in how texts are sent between Apple iPhones and other phones, as RCS has the capability to support typing indicators, high-quality media sharing and in-line reactions. Currently, RCS handles these features for texts between Android phones that are using the Google Messages app, which is the default texting app on most Android phones.
“Everyone deserves to communicate with each other in ways that are modern and secure, no matter what phone they have. That’s why we have worked closely with the mobile industry to accelerate the adoption of RCS, and we’re happy to see Apple take their first step today by coming on board to embrace RCS,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “We welcome Apple’s participation in our ongoing work with GSMA to evolve RCS and make messaging more equitable and secure, and look forward to working with them to implement this on iOS in a way that works well for everyone.”
Should this indeed take place, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of Apple’s best iMessage features would suddenly be available to Android users. Both Apple and Google have included their own exclusive features in their texting apps, such as Apple’s Check In feature for location sharing and Google’s Magic Compose feature that uses artificial intelligence to draft texts. It also might not mean the death of the green bubble vs. blue bubble situation.
Update 2:18 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Google spokesperson.