Apple Says It Will Add RCS Support in Messages

Lance Ulanoff, TechRadar:

RCS or Rich Communication Services, a communications standard developed by the GSM Association and adopted by much of the Android ecosystem, is designed to universally elevate messaging communication across mobile devices. Even though Apple has been working with the group, it has until this moment steadfastly refused to add RCS support to iPhones. Now, however, Apple is changing its tune.

“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe the RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users,” said an Apple spokesperson.

Just last year, Tim Cook demurred on a question about support for the standard. For what it is worth, I am expecting an updated SMS-like experience, but I will be pleasantly surprised if it is more full featured. As Ulanoff notes, RCS does not itself support end-to-end encryption. The latest spec, released in 2019, does not even mention end-to-end encryption, nor does it prohibit text message bubbles from having a green background.