Apple’s adoption of RCS eases texting woes between iPhone and Android

Apple’s adoption of RCS eases texting woes between iPhone and Android

Beginning sometime this year, texting between iPhone and Android users will be a lot less troublesome as Apple has agreed to add support for RCS Universal Profile. It will pave the way for Android and iOS users to share high-quality videos and images. As of now, videos shared between iOS and Android are crunchy and have low bandwidth making them less appealing for sharing between the two separate platforms. RCS support will fix this issue.

Android phone showing an RCS chat.

Currently, when I use my Android phone to send a text or an image to an iPhone or receive an image from an iPhone-wielding friend, it only goes through as standard SMS/MMS. The media often gets compressed to maintain the size and data limitations of standard SMS and MMS, to the point where it is essentially unwatchable for videos.

The amount of compression varies by carrier, but both T-Mobile and Verizon limit files size to around 3 MB, while AT&T cuts off at a paltry 1 MB.

What is RCS (Rich Communication Services)?

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a new standard in mobile communications that will be superseding SMS messages by replacing them with richer text messages and supporting media-based communication.

What is the RCS Universal Profile?

GSMA’s Universal Profile or Rich Communications Universal Profile is a globally agreed-upon standard for implementing RCS in a way that allows subscribers of different carriers to communicate with each other and increase interoperability to deliver a consistent and advanced messaging experience for its consumers worldwide.

This is important because carriers should not only allow communication between their subscriber group but also other subscribers that are outside of their network as well. The outcome is that it enables all operators worldwide to provide an open, consistent, and globally interoperable messaging service. The standard is already in use on most Android smartphones.

Read more: Why Are My iPhone Messages Green?

How RCS will let Android and iOS users share high-quality videos and images?

RCS is built right into the carrier’s network. It does not rely on internet connectivity like many other messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. This helps it provide uninterrupted services through mobile data connection even in regions that have limited access to the Internet or places that face frequent network outages.

Another issue that both Android and iPhone users encounter while exchanging media files is the compression of video and image files. It occurs because, the cellular network is aiming for efficiency, resulting in less-than-stellar or grainy picture quality under MMS standards.

RCS doesn’t over-compress media and so, the result you get is the video or image files in more detail. Simply put, with Apple embracing RCS, if a friend captures an amazingly good picture on their Android device that you couldn’t get with your iPhone, they can now share the image with you via a message maintaining the same image quality. It will eliminate the grainy and unsatisfactory media quality associated with traditional MMS, offering a better sharing experience.

Read more: How to Find and Recover Recently Deleted Text Messages on Android

However, the process isn’t entirely seamless, yet. We found in our testing that directly adding a photo or video to an RCS chat can still result in some level of compression, taking our FullHD videos (1080) down to SD (480). However, you can work around this by attaching the video as a file, instead. This retains the FullHD resolution when sent – at least up to RCS’ current 100 MB file size limit.

RCS also supports more than basic media files. You can use it to send documents and other unique file types that aren’t supported by the SMS or MMS standards. Plus, it doesn’t require users to download an extra app to send images in higher resolutions or create a new account. It will work in tandem with the native messaging app that’s built into iOS devices (iMessage).

Read more: How to Free up Space on Your iPhone and Android Phone

How to check if you’re talking to someone with RCS?

  1. To check RCS availability and status, open Google Messages.
  2. Tap your profile photo or icon.
  3. Go to ‘Messages’ settings and then tap ‘General.’
  4. Select ‘RCS chats’ option. If the RCS Chats option is not available, tap ‘Chat features.’
  5. Toggle on the ‘RCS chats’ option.

Two screenshots of Google Messages settings. On the left you See General Settings with RCS chats pointed out. On the right, you see the RCS chats screen showing the status as connected and available for RCS chats.

There’s no word on when this development will officially roll out on Apple devices this year, we might have to wait until Apple hosts the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), which is expected to be in June 2024, for more information on the update.

[Image credits: Screenshots via Techlicious, phone mockup via Canva.]

As a lifelong tech enthusiast, Hemant Saxena is always looking for the latest gadgets that intersect with his hobbies. For more than a decade, he has been writing about consumer gadgets, popular apps, and social media tips for publications, including Windows Club and Techmate Tricks.

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