Google SMS RCS conversations with iPhones have some quirks

Earlier this week, Apple introduced… iOS 18 Beta 2 With support for Rich Communications Services (in the US). The experience of using Google Messages to talk to someone with an iPhone via RCS is very simple, although it’s clearly a first.

After updating to iOS 18 Beta 2, the RCS Messaging toggle (Settings > Apps > Messages) is enabled by default if you use Compatible carrier, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. Currently, it is not possible to enable RCS on iOS if you are using an MVNO, such as Google Fi. However, it doesn’t matter which carrier your Android recipient uses once you activate RCS on your iPhone.

In Google Messages, opening an iPhone conversation will reveal “RCS Message” in the text field. Delivery/read receipts and typing indicators work, as do high-resolution photos and videos.

iPhone and Android Chat via RCS

Google Messages will indicate that the conversation is not end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) with a padlock icon with a slash. The Message Details will indicate the Type as “RCS Message” instead of “RCS End-to-End Encrypted Message.”

Google offers its own E2EE service for 1:1 and group messaging on Android. Apple wants to add encryption to the RCS Universal Profile standard, so Google will presumably move to whatever the industry group comes up with in the future.

Meanwhile, going to the conversation details page reveals some missing settings. When talking to someone using an iPhone, there is no “Send SMS and MMS only” on/off switch for this. There is also no card showing the E2EE status in most cases (unless the SIM cards were switched from Android to iOS and were previously active).

Android vs iOS

In group chats, you can change the name and sync it with all members, while there is also an option to “leave the group”.

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Before iOS 18 launches in the fall, Google will supposedly update Messages to address these inconsistencies. Other than that, the experience is pretty straightforward, and should have happened a lot sooner.

More about Google Messages:

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