Google may have revealed when iMessage will support RCS — why that's important

rcs messaging coming to ios 18
(Image credit: 9to5Google/Google)

In December, Apple announced that RCS is finally coming to iOS, but left a possible release date vague, stating support would be added "later next year." In a recent landing page for Google Messages — which has since been removed — Google revealed that "Apple has announced it will be adopting RCS in the fall of 2024," giving iPhone users a more concrete timeline to look forward to (via 9to5Google). 

Most people assumed that Apple would release RCS support with iOS 18 rather than an iOS 17 update later in the year, but this 'fall of 2024' information basically confirms it'll be an iOS 18 feature. RCS support will likely be added as a feature for the first iOS 18 release, but it's possible that it could launch in October or November as an update feature and still meet the 'fall of 2024' deadline.

Regardless, support for the RCS text protocol is "Coming soon on iOS," and Google says "it will mean a better messaging experience for everyone.

Why is RCS support significant for iOS?

The most obvious reason it's a big deal that Apple's finally adopting the RCS messaging standard is the ability to finally send videos between iPhones and Android phones without them being heavily compressed. No more 'buy your mom an iPhone' jokes when talking about the pixelated, distorted videos sent between iMessage and Android messaging platforms.

On top of sending cross-platform high-res photos and videos, RCS support will also bring typing indicators, read receipts, and better group chat features. Google also notes that animated emojis and reactions are "Coming soon with RCS."

rcs messaging coming to ios 18

(Image credit: 9to5Google/Google)

Many Android messaging apps can display emoji reactions from iPhone users, but can't reciprocate the action. Google Messages rolled out a similar iMessage-like emoji reaction feature, but it's only possible between Google Messages users.

If animated emoji reactions become a part of the RCS specification — which seems to be what Google is implying — Android phones and iPhones might finally be able to simultaneously interact with messages via emojis and see the same thing displayed on-screen.

Google has clearly wanted Apple to add RCS support for years, so the company is probably excited to start executing even more RCS-related features they've planned just in case. RCS support won't get rid of the green message bubbles for Android users, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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