Apple has announced that it will adopt the Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging standard for iPhones starting next year. Apple’s move to support RCS may have come after facing pressure from regulators and competitors, including the European Commission, Samsung, and Google.
“Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe 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 in a statement to 9to5Mac.
Apple is not replacing iMessage with RCS. iMessage will remain the default messaging platform for communications between iPhone users. RCS will only replace SMS and MMS and work separately from iMessage when required. However, Apple will still use SMS and MMS as a backup option. Apple also believes that iMessage is more secure and privacy-friendly than RCS.
RCS is a new messaging protocol that replaces the outdated SMS and MMS technology with more advanced features, such as high-quality media sharing, read receipts, typing indicators, end-to-end encryption, and more. Apple implementing RCS will allow advanced and secured cross-platform messaging between Android and iPhones. Apple will also let users share their locations in text threads. RCS messages are likely to appear in a green bubble on iPhones, similar to SMS messages are shown now.
Moreover, Apple will collaborate with the GSMA members to enhance the RCS protocol, including the security and encryption of RCS messages. The company also said it will not use its own end-to-end encryption over RCS and will focus on improving the RCS standard.