Explained: What is RCS and how it changes SMS text messaging completely

While RCS has been available with many smartphones and applications, the easiest way to access it is through Google’s own Messages application.

Updated:Mon, January 10, 2022 6:02pm

By Danny Dcruze


Rich Communication Service or RCS was pegged as the next big thing after the advent of SMS. Most of us relate to SMS right since the time we first held a mobile phone (smartphone or not). It has been the stable choice for most official communication. However, things needed to change. Smartphones had the capacity to do much more than just share texts. So, carriers, network providers, and smartphone manufacturers came together to introduce RCS messaging services. Google has been spearheading the transition and has also introduced it to most carriers, devices across the globe.

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But what is RCS?

To put it simply, RCS is the next stage in the evolution of SMS. It comes with plenty of features that you often come to expect from popular instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp. You can share high-res photos and larger files, chat with a group, know when messages are read, or make video calls, once RCS is activated.


Another big reason why users should switch to RCS is security. With RCS, messages are end-to-end encrypted, in a way similar to WhatsApp. In comparison to SMS, this technology is much superior.

How will users get RCS on their devices?

While RCS has been available with many smartphones and applications, the easiest way to access it is through Google's own Messages application. Only Android devices are currently using RCS but the availability also depends on the carriers and the smartphone maker.


In order to check if you have RCS available on your Android device, just download Google's Messages application and in the Settings go to 'General' and then go to 'Chat Features'. There you can simply hit on 'Enable Chat Features' to access the RCS technology. There are also options to turn on or off specific features.

Why is Apple not showing interest in RCS?

Recently, some top executives from Google and Android called out Apple for its 'bullying' of the messaging ecosystem. RCS in itself has gone through many obstacles to make it the messaging default. Considering that there were numerous stakeholders in the process from different countries, making RCS the default took more time than expected. Even now users aren't aware of the new tech.

Apple is just making things more difficult as the company is already providing a messaging service called iMessage, which pretty much offers the same features as Android after the RCS update.

Apple focuses on keeping its customers glued to its ecosystem. The introduction of RCS messaging might be counterproductive in this case. If Apple ever decides to adopt the tech, they might still make sure that iOS users are benefited in some way or the other.

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