3 min read

Apple Enables RCS in iPhones

June 18, 2024
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In the future, this week may well be remembered as a defining moment in the mobile industry. …

In the future, this week may well be remembered as a defining moment in the mobile industry. Earlier this week, Apple software chief Craig Federighi announced during his keynote address at World Wide Development Conference (WWDC24) that the new  operating system iOS 18, will support the GSMA Universal Profile enabling RCS (Rich Communications Services) messages to properly be sent and delivered on iPhones.

RCS messaging has been poised to replace SMS as the standard messaging protocol. While Google, Samsung, the GSMA (which manages the industry standards), and nearly all the major players supported RCS, Apple refused to implement it in its iPhones. For nearly 1 billion iPhone users, this meant that they  could enjoy a rich RCS-like experience when chatting with fellow iPhone users. However, chats between iOS and Android device users reverted back to SMS, and could not support confirmed receipt and other features of rich communications channels, resulting in a substandard customer experience for cross-platform conversations.

That started to change last November, when Apple unexpectedly announced that it would support RCS in its devices, and the details were confirmed this week.   

What is RCS?

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the next generation of messaging, offering features far beyond the limitations of SMS and MMS. Imagine group chats with high-resolution photo and video sharing, seeing when your messages are delivered and read, and even getting live typing indicators – all within your existing messaging app. RCS provides a richer, more interactive messaging experience that feels closer to what you might expect from a chat app.

For years, a major hurdle to widespread RCS adoption was the lack of support on iPhones. This created a two-tiered messaging system. Messages between iPhones (iMessage) utilized all the bells and whistles of RCS, and all Android chats used RCS. However, cross-platform chats between iPhones and Android devices (defaulting to SMS/MMS) were relegated to a less functional experience, often reflected by the green vs. blue message bubble distinction.

What Does Global RCS Interoperability Mean for Businesses?

RCS incompatibility with iPhones forced businesses to use other means to reach their services. Organizations didn’t want to develop campaigns that couldn’t be delivered to a sizable portion of their customer base. Fully interoperability across platforms is a gamechanger for businesses, who can upgrade their messaging campaigns to take advantage of every RCS has to offer. 

Businesses can utilize video, images, and interactive buttons while engaging with their customers. As enterprises sending RCS messages need to be verified to be allowed to send on the platform, end users can be certain that the identity of the business they are communicating with has not been compromised. Messages can be branded with company logos and colors, and the use of popular tools like carousels and suggested replies will make it easier to engage with users. 

Many of these features are already available on chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber, but these apps reach a limited audience of users who are on the platform. With Apple on board, RCS enables universal campaigns that can be delivered to everyone with a smartphone. 

A Brighter Messaging Future

Apple’s embrace of RCS marks a turning point in the messaging landscape. This shift is particularly exciting for businesses, who can leverage RCS features across all platforms. From engaging marketing campaigns to streamlined customer support, the potential for growth and deeper customer connections is vast.

Looking ahead, we can expect a wave of innovation fueled by RCS. Imagine chatbots powered by AI, seamless integration with other communication channels, and even RCS-based commerce functionalities. 

RCS adoption means a brighter future for messaging, where businesses can connect with customers more effectively than ever before, and where users can enjoy a truly unified messaging experience, regardless of the device in their hand.

About MessageWhiz

MessageWhiz is a leading SMS and business messaging service platform powered by MMDSmart, as part of its integrated CPaaS platform. Our platform provides robust solutions for A2P2 way SMSbulk SMS servicesOTP SMS, and smart messaging. Leveraging our unique optimization tools, we enable more efficient, engaging, and profitable interactions across the customer journey.