Apple has strengthened iMessage for iPhone with iOS 13. Just when Apple users started to think they were having fun with iMessage, Google threw a wrench into the RCS messaging efforts. The service is expected to help Android users connect more people and businesses as well as provide better messaging.
If you enjoy texting your family and friends all day on your Android device, you will love this new form of messaging coming to your smartphone.
Read on to learn what RCS messaging is and how you can enable it on your phone.
What is Android RCS Messaging?
Rich Communications Services, also known as RCS, is a new form of messaging that enhances the experience on your phone, with a similar look and feel to popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook.
Long before Google started promoting its version of RCS Chat in 2018, RCS existed as it was proposed nearly a decade ago.
Today, it is a standard protocol available to all mobile operators and expected to replace the old SMS text messaging.
Carriers have already started rolling out RCS along with other exciting features that take advantage of 4G LTE cellular infrastructure and possibly 5G in the future.
For Android users in the US, the feature is now fully available and enabled on your devices. However, for other users around the world, you will be able to send text messages to anyone using RCS messages when all carriers are on board and fully support the service.
How RCS Messaging Works
Like iMessage available on Apple devices, RCS messaging lets you start conversations with individuals or groups, share media messages including full-resolution images, get notifications when someone replies to your texts, and even see read receipts like on WhatsApp.
You can also see when the other person is online and available to chat, with no restrictions on the number of characters you can type. Unlike SMS, which limits you to 160 characters, RCS offers up to 8,000 characters. So you can send even longer messages if you want.
RCS messaging will standardize many of the features Apple users already have in iMessage. This means that since the service relies on your data and not your cellular connection, Android and iPhone users can message or communicate with each other and use similar features regardless of the smartphone they are using.
RCS Messaging Challenges
The main challenge, especially for privacy-conscious users, is that RCS messaging does not support end-to-end encryption like WhatsApp and other messaging apps do.
This means that messages sent to and from it can easily be intercepted and read by online snoopers or unauthorized third parties. Such messages are less secure than those sent and received via iMessage or Signal.
If security and privacy is your priority, you’d better contact your friends and family using other options.
How to Enable RCS Messaging on Android
There are several clever workarounds that people have found to enable RCS messaging on their phones, albeit manually, but they don’t always work.
However, if you already have the RCS service on your Android phone, you can check if you have the service using these steps:
Stage 1: Download and install Google Messages (Android Messages) from Google Play Store if you don’t have it on your phone, then open the app. You’ll get a prompt to set it as your default messaging app, or the option to skip the step, so tap Set as Default.
Step 2: If you set Messages as your default messaging app, a pop-up message will appear saying that you cannot use some features of your phone’s apps. Tap Yes to continue.
Stage 3: The app will fill and update all your text messages. You’ll also see a blue bubble labeled Start Chat, which you can tap to start chatting with your contacts.
Step 4: Tap the three-dot icon at the top right of the screen.
step 5: Tap Settings.
Step 6: Tap Chat Features. If not immediately available (depending on your phone), tap General>Chat Features.
Step 7: Turn on Enable chat features (blue).
Step 8: Type your phone number and wait for the status to change from Setting to Connected (green).
Now you can use the RCS messaging feature and enjoy all its features.
Do More with Messages
While RCS messaging is still not on every Android user’s smartphone, you can expect it to be fully rolled out in 2020. If you are one of those who are still waiting for this exciting service and the great features it brings to your device, you can keep this information in mind while you wait so you know what to do when it is activated on your phone.
Next: If you’re using a Samsung device to send your messages, you have a few options besides using the RCS service. Check out our native Samsung Messages vs Android Messages comparison and find out which is more exciting.