What is RCS Messaging? How to Enable RCS Chats?

What is RCS Messaging? A Complete Guide to RCS Chats

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While billions of people send SMS yearly, many are unaware of the more advanced messaging options - Rich Communication Services (RCS) - which goes beyond traditional SMS.

RCS messaging has been around for years, benefiting Android users through the “Google Messages” app - it enables high-resolution photo sharing, video messaging, group chats, read receipts, and typing indicators.

Now, with Apple introducing RCS in its iOS 18 update in September 2024, iPhone users will also gain access to these advanced messaging features. It promises a unified and enriched messaging experience for Android and iOS users worldwide. 


What is RCS Messaging?

RCS messaging, or RCS chats, is a communication protocol that enhances traditional SMS. It integrates with other smartphone features and allows you to share locations, transfer larger files, and interact securely through verified IDs.

Unlike SMS, which relies on the cellular network and is limited to text and basic media, RCS uses an Internet connection to send messages (with no character limit) and transmit multimedia content.

When you send an RCS message, it is converted into an IP packet and transmitted over the Internet to the recipient’s device, where it is then converted back into an RCS message.

RCS provides a more interactive and engaging messaging experience, similar to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

👉Also Read: SMS vs RCS Messaging: Key Differences

History of RCS

GSM Association (GSMA) introduced RCS messaging in 2007 when the GSMA introduced it as a modern alternative to SMS and MMS. RCS addressed the limitations of traditional messaging, but despite its potential, initial adoption was slow due to technical challenges and the popularity of OTT messaging apps like WhatsApp.

The turning point came in 2015 when Google acquired Jibe Mobile and integrated RCS messaging into the Android Messages app. In 2017, GSMA introduced the Universal Profile, which standardized RCS features across different networks and devices.

Apple has announced that iPhones would support RCS messaging in the upcoming iOS 18 update in September 2024.

Features of RCS

RCS has advanced features, including group chats, high-resolution photo sharing, read receipts, typing indicators, and multimedia sharing, for enhanced user experience and interaction.
 

  1. Read Receipts and Typing Indicators: RCS provides real-time interaction and feedback through read receipts and typing indicators. Users can see when their messages have been read and when the recipient is typing a response.
     
  2. Multimedia Sharing: RCS enables the sharing of videos, audio messages, and GIFs, offering a richer and more expressive way to communicate compared to traditional SMS.
     
  3. Larger Files: With RCS, users can send larger files than SMS. Images up to 2 MB and videos up to 10 MB can be shared, allowing you to send high-quality content easily.
     
  4. Group Chats: RCS supports secure group messaging, allowing users to connect with multiple friends, family members, or team members without needing another chat app.
     
  5. No Character Limits: Unlike SMS, which restricts messages to 160 characters, RCS allows for much longer text messages, ensuring detailed conversation without multiple messages.
     
  6. Location Sharing: Users can easily share their geographic location. RCS messaging makes it convenient to provide directions or share their whereabouts with friends, family, or colleagues.
     
  7. Verified Sender IDs: RCS thoroughly verifies sender IDs to ensure that mobile subscribers know precisely who they communicate with. It helps you build trust and drives better engagement.
     
  8. Easy, One-Tap Replies: RCS messages offer suggested replies customized to your brand, making it easy for users to respond quickly with just one tap.

Geographic Coverage for RCS Messaging

RCS messaging is fully supported in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and India; however, for Android users only. These countries have integrated RCS services through local mobile operators, allowing users to enjoy rich messaging features. More countries are gradually integrating RCS, expanding its global reach and making it a standard in mobile communication.

How to Turn On RCS Chats?

Turning on RCS chats is straightforward if your carrier supports it and you use the Google Messages app. Follow the steps below to enable RCS messaging on your Android phone:
 

  1. Launch the Messages app on your phone.
     
  2. Tap on your profile picture in the top-right corner to open the menu.
     
  3. Select Messages Settings.
     
  4. Tap RCS Chats.
     
  5. Toggle the RCS Chats switch on.
     

Note: The recipient’s phone also must support RCS to receive RCS messages. If the recipient’s phone does not support RCS, your messages will be sent as SMS.

Does iPhone Support RCS Chats?

IPhones do not support RCS chats; however, its iMessage offers features similar to RCS, such as read receipts, typing indicators, and multimedia sharing.

Apple is set to integrate RCS support in its Messages app with the iOS 18 update in September 2024. It will replace SMS as the default messaging protocol between Android and iOS devices.

Right now, when people on iOS and Android message each other, the service falls back to SMS. Messages from Android phones show up as green bubbles in iMessage chats.
 


The update will allow iPhone users to send and receive RCS messages for a richer experience. Until then, iPhone users will continue using iMessage or fallback to SMS when messaging Android users.

👉 Also Read: Apple Brings Call Recording to iPhones, with AI Magic on Top

Wrapping Up

RCS messaging represents the future of messaging, with features far beyond the traditional SMS and MMS. With high-resolution media sharing, read receipts and typing indicators, RCS provides a more engaging and interactive messaging experience.

As Android users are already enjoying these features through the Google Messages app, iPhone users will soon join them with the upcoming iOS 18 update.
 

For businesses, embracing RCS means improved customer engagement and satisfaction. Calilio supports RCS messaging to help you stay connected with your clients more effectively. Sign up with Calilio today to take your customer service to the next level.

FAQs

What is RCS messaging used for?

RCS enhances messaging with features like high-resolution photo and video sharing, group chats, typing indicators, and read receipts. It allows businesses to engage customers with richer, more interactive messages.

How is RCS different from SMS?

Unlike SMS, where you can send only text messages - with 60-character limits, RCS allows you to share multimedia content and have group chats without character limits.

Is RCS messaging free?

RCS messaging itself does not incur additional charges beyond your regular data plan. However, since it uses internet data, data usage fees may apply.

Should I turn off RCS messaging?

If you experience delivery issues, have concerns about data usage, or communicate with contacts who do not support RCS, you should consider turning RCS chats off.


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