Apple ‘in discussions’ over bringing RCS messaging to iOS

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Messages replay
Is Messages due for a big upgrade on iOS?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is said to be “in discussions” over adding Rich Communications Services (RCS) to iOS.

The upgrade to traditional text messaging would allow for some iMessage features — like read receipts and typing indicators — when talking to friends who use Android and other platforms.

RCS support is already baked into Android devices, but it has never made its way to iOS. Apple has instead chosen to focus on iMessage, which offers everything you would get from RCS — and more. But iMessage only works between Apple devices.

When you message someone who uses Android from your iPhone, then, you’re using the aging SMS standard. RCS could come to iOS soon, however.

RCS could make its way to iOS

Apple is “in discussions” with the GSMA — the trade body that represents cellular operators — as well as operators themselves over bringing RCS to iOS, according to a slide from an October GSMA event.

The slight highlights the benefits of bringing RCS to iOS, including improved text messaging between “Apple-to-non-Apple” devices. It would also allow for things like read receipts, typing indicators, group messaging, and support for sharing higher-quality images.

GSMA RCS to iOS
Does this mean anything?
Photo: GSMA

The GSMA indicates that “operators are putting pressure on Apple to launch RCS,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Apple doesn’t typically give in under pressure — not even when it’s fighting its own government.

We’ll have to wait and see whether those “discussions” lead to anything, then. RCS support would certainly be beneficial for iPhone users, but Apple would prefer it if everyone bought an iPhone and used iMessage instead.