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What is RCS, this new iPhone feature that changes everything for your messages ?

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If you use an Android smartphone, it is very likely that you already use RCS when you exchange a text message with another Android user. On the other hand, if you are an Apple customer, this will be a big news for you. Indeed, until now, the Cupertino firm does not support this technology, favoring its proprietary iMessage protocol. But soon, iPhones will support iMessages, SMS, but also RCS technology for texts to Android devices.As a reminder, Apple announced that it will support this protocol in 2023. And this month of June 2024, during its WWDC conference, it indicated that this technology will be included in the update. up to date iOS 18.

The successor to SMS and MMS on iPhone

First of all, it is important to clarify that although the adoption of RCS technology was strongly pushed by Google, it is not a technology from the Mountain View firm. RCS or Rich Communication Services is a standard developed by the GSMA, an association of telephone operators, to replace SMS and MMS. While SMS is being abandoned in favor of modern messaging services, the RCS standard offers more or less the same functionalities (Google has even added end-to-end encryption). But this allows for interoperability between applications and platforms that use it.

For example, a person who uses the Messages application on a smartphone Google Pixel will be able to communicate via RCS with another person using a Samsung device, even if Galaxy devices use a different app for texting. And from iOS 18, the iPhone will also be interoperable with these applications, thanks to RCS support. Among the advantages, compared to SMS , there is the ability to send attachments, group chats, typing notifications, etc.

Easier communication between iPhone and Android

In any case, Apple's adoption of RCS will make discussions with Android users more enjoyable, thanks to these modern messaging features. Indeed, as iMessage is only available on iOS, iPhone users must use SMS or a service like WhatsApp to communicate with Android users.

At this time, it is unknown not exactly what features will be available for RCS texting on iPhone. Indeed, Apple has not given many details on the subject. For example, it is not yet known whether RCS text messages will be end-to-end encrypted. And since iOS 18 is still under development, features that are missing in the beta version may be added later.

Why Has Apple finally adopted RCS ?

It's natural to wonder why Apple is only adopting the RCS standard now. This technology has existed for years, and Google even campaigned for the Cupertino company to make this update to make Android and iOS messaging interoperable. However, the absence of RCS technology on iPhone could help Apple's sales. Indeed, some people might be more inclined to buy an iPhone, instead of turning to other brands, to be able to communicate easily (via iMessage) with their friends.

Initially, it was thought that Apple decided to include the RCS protocol on the iPhone in order to comply with the Digital Markets Act, the EU legislation which regulates the digital giants. However, if this were the case, RCS should have been part of the updates rolled out by Apple in March to comply with this law. Furthermore, iMessage is not included in the list of Apple products affected by this. “After a thorough evaluation of all arguments, taking into account the contributions of relevant stakeholders, and after hearing the Digital Markets Advisory Committee, the Commission considered that iMessage, Bing , Edge and Microsoft Advertising could not be considered as access control services”, said a press release from Brussels, published in February.

On the other hand, the adoption of RCS on the iPhone would have been decided in order to comply with the rules that apply in China.

  • In 2023, Apple announced support for the RCS protocol on the iPhone
  • This GSMA standard, already available on Android, will facilitate text message exchanges between the two main mobile platforms
  • Compared to SMS, the RCS standard allows you to benefit from functionalities advanced messaging, similar to those we have on services like WhatsApp
  • But for the moment, we do not know what RCS features will be offered by Apple
  • Apple finally gave in in order to comply with new rules that apply in China

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116