NIXsolutions: Google Messages is Preparing for RCS Support in Group Chats with Apple Users

Until now, messages between Android and iPhone users were sent using the legacy SMS protocol, making text conversations between the two operating systems less secure than alternative messaging apps that provide end-to-end encryption. Using SMS also meant that cross-platform chats couldn’t take advantage of advanced features like read receipts, typing indicators, sending low-compressed media, and more.


Apple and Google’s RCS Integration

Apple has finally given in to years of pressure from users and manufacturers and announced at its WWDC event that RCS support will come to the iPhone with the release of iOS 18, which is likely to come out this September. The first signs of RCS on iOS 18 have already appeared in beta 2, introducing access to the protocol for AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers. Now, as Android Authority reports, Google is preparing its Messages app for a large number of iPhone users to be able to send messages to Android users via RCS soon. We’ll keep you updated on this exciting development.

The latest lines of code in the beta version of the Google Messages app indicate that the app will update existing group chats between iOS and Android users to RCS. Previously, such group chats used the MMS protocol. This process will most likely be automatic, notes NIXsolutions.

Upcoming Features and Implementation

Android Authority’s APK analysis found two key flags:

  • bugle.enable_mms_group_upgrade_ui_home_screen
  • bugle.enable_mms_group_upgrade_ui_conversation_screen

These flags will reportedly be responsible for informing users that some of their group chats have automatically been upgraded to RCS, with a pop-up message appearing: “Your chats have been updated,” and that they can now “send clearer photos and reaction videos – free on Wi-Fi” in a group chat.

The exact launch date for this feature is not yet known, but we can expect it to be ready for widespread use before Apple’s planned RCS rollout date of September 2024.