Banyan - September 2023

Apple to Enable More Texting Features Between iPhones and Android

iPhones, Android, iMessage, RCS, texting, Apple

Apple has reportedly revealed its plans to adopt the technological standard known as RCS (rich communication services) for smoother text messaging between iPhones and Android devices. 

This decision marks a significant change for the company, which had previously resisted adopting RCS despite pressure from industry players like Google, Bloomberg reported Thursday (Nov. 16). 

RCS is an upgraded version of SMS and MMS texting, backed by the GSM Association, that allows for more advanced features across different platforms, according to the report. With RCS, Apple users will be able to text Android users over Wi-Fi, send larger video and photo files, easily operate group chats, and track message delivery and read receipts. 

Apple has long been protective of its iMessage system, which offers exclusive features to Apple device users, the report said. However, the company now plans to integrate RCS alongside iMessage. Apple said in a statement that the RCS Universal Profile will provide a better interoperability experience compared to traditional SMS or MMS, Bloomberg reported. 

Previously, Apple CEO Tim Cook had resisted RCS, suggesting that those seeking better texting capabilities should consider purchasing iPhones for their family members, per the report. However, Apple’s decision to embrace RCS indicates a change in its stance. 

There is a possibility that Apple will incorporate RCS into the upcoming iOS 18 release, according to the report. 

Google has welcomed Apple’s decision, expressing satisfaction with Apple’s participation in the ongoing work with the GSM Association to evolve RCS and enhance messaging for all users, the report said. 

Apple’s move to adopt RCS comes at a time when the company is facing increased regulatory scrutiny, per the report. In compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple plans to revamp its iPhone and iPad software in the region. 

Additionally, this announcement coincides with the news that phone brand Nothing is working on enabling iMessage on Android devices, the report said. 

It was reported in October that the iPhone is on track to remain the mobile device of choice of nearly nine in 10 teens. Eighty-seven percent of teens own an iPhone, and 88% of teens expect to have one as their next mobile device, according to investment bank Piper Sandler Companies.