Google begins enabling RCS messaging for all Android users in the U.S.


Just a few weeks after T-Mobile and the other major U.S. carriers announced plans to launch their own RCS messaging service in 2020, Google says that it’s starting its own RCS push in the U.S.

Starting today, Google will begin broadly pushing RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging to all Android users in the U.S. Android users that already have Google’s Messages app installed should get a notification to enable RCS chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have the Messages app installed, you can get it from the Play Store.

Google expects that RCS should be broadly available to Android users in the U.S. by the end of 2019.

RCS messaging offers several benefits over the traditional SMS texting that most folks are used to. Those include typing indicators and read receipts, support for high-resolution photo and video sharing, and the ability to chat over Wi-Fi as well as mobile data. Better group chat is also included, letting you name groups as well as add and remove people from groups.

While RCS messaging isn’t exactly a new feature, it hasn’t gotten a ton of support from carriers in the U.S. Sprint is the only carrier that’s fully embraced it, and while T-Mobile does support RCS, it’s only available on handful of devices. Google’s RCS push means that everyone should get this improved messaging experience that’s built into the Messages app that’s on their phone.

Have you used RCS messaging?

Source: Google

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  • Nate

    Figures, they wait till we all figure out how to get it enabled on our own and then they go and make a push to enable it.

  • jeff campbell

    The only issue will be sending messages to iPhone users. Will it send high quality photos and videos and all that good stuff? If not then it’s still going to use sms most of the time. How did apple create iMessage to do what they want RCS to do without carrier support and it just works, and why is it taking so long for Android. and there should be a way to allow high-quality messages between Android and Apple and allow iMessage messages to come into Android at high-quality too. Until that happens both iMessages and RCS messages are just a gimmick

    • steveb944

      Apple used their own servers. Now I think Google took matters into their own hands as the carriers were fumbling.
      Apple won’t allow RCS, but RCS would allow Apple to join the fray.

      • blokeinusa

        That’s why iMessage is internet dependant. If you don’t have a data plan or wifi, then you can’t send or receive messages

        • dcmanryan

          Is that not true with RCS too? How can you send anything without data or WiFi?

    • Yeah, that’s my biggest issue because my friend’s and family all have iPhones. So if it won’t be enabled for them, I don’t get to use it.

  • steveb944

    Finally! Been waiting years at this point.

  • ferruccio83

    I’m not able to get Googles rcs enabled message app to properly sync messages to my galaxy watch.
    I.e wife sent an rcs message from her s10 to my s9+, but my galaxy watch gives me a prompt. Along the lines that i need to use default message app to see the message on my phone.
    Why not just filter it to an sms to my watch and allow rcs?

  • riverhorse

    This is live on all my phones, even old models. It’s labeled Chat, not RCS per se.

    • dcmanryan

      It’s live on my T-Mobile branded Z2 Force but says it’s not compatible with my carrier on my unlocked Pixel 3 XL…..WTF?

      • riverhorse

        Sorry to hear that.
        If you could compare your APN to one of another NEWER MODEL working phone sold thru the carrier instead, and make a new apn. RCS now on all my phones – old, unlocked, ported out.

        • dcmanryan

          The Z2 Force is now saying the same thing so T-Mobile must be blocking it somehow.

        • riverhorse

          Wow, I’m still OK. Maybe they did it thru firmware update.

        • T Redd

          It seems the carriers still have their dirty fingers in the mix.

  • Francisco Peña

    for those that have the Galaxy S9 and 10 (look at the other article), they just released a new update that has the Nov1 Security patch AND activates the RCS on Google Messages.

    Didn’t have RCS even though I use Messages, and once the system updated installed, RCS was included.

    trying to update the app alone before the system update did nothing. So I’m pleased. not sure how much I will notice it. I don’t care for approving read receipts, and “yeah /s” I have a typing bubble.

    • Reagan1

      Does the typing bubble show for anyone sending you a text or does the text have to come from an Android phone? I really haven’t noticed any change since the update. I think I activated Chat in Messages.

      • Francisco Peña

        no one in my family has the messenger app,and if someone did, I close it after I send a text, so I don’t pay attention.

      • Francisco Peña

        Actually, I texted someone and left the window open. the person then had a spinning icon next to it after a moment. I got a text shortly after.

  • Eric A

    I had RCS/Chat on my 10e UNTIL the Nov1 update. Now I don’t have it anymore so the update actually deleted RCS from my phone.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Nothing on my end

  • NardVa

    RCS does not play well with a DIGITS line.

  • BlackAce15

    Mines just turned on today

  • T Redd

    Chat features unavailable for your device. your carrier does not currently support this feature. What’s the point if carriers still have a say so?