Apple's Bringing RCS Support to iPhone Next Year

Apple is adopting the texting standard and it will work alongside iMessage, a company spokesperson told 9to5Mac.

Imad Khan Senior Reporter
Imad is a senior reporter covering Google and internet culture. Hailing from Texas, Imad started his journalism career in 2013 and has amassed bylines with The New York Times, The Washington Post, ESPN, Tom's Guide and Wired, among others.
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Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
Expertise Phones, texting apps, iOS, Android, smartwatches, fitness trackers, mobile accessories, gaming phones, budget phones, toys, Star Wars, Marvel, Power Rangers, DC, mobile accessibility, iMessage, WhatsApp, Signal, RCS
Imad Khan
Mike Sorrentino
2 min read
blue green iphone android text message bubbles imessage

Apple adopting RCS could vastly improve how texts are sent between iPhones and other phones. 

James Martin/CNET

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 respond to a request for comment from CNET.

"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.

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"Everyone deserves to communicate with each other in ways that are modern and secure, no matter what phone they have," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "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.

"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 versus blue bubble situation.

Update, 2:18 p.m. PT: Adds comment from the Google spokesperson.