Why Apple Should Adopt RCS for iMessage and Why it Should Matter to iPhone Users

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iMessage has been in the news lately, with Google SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer calling out Apple for bullying users into switching from Android to iPhone. He invited the iPhone maker to adopt RCS, calling information technology the “industry standard for mod messaging,” instead of developing an iMessage app for Android. And I hold. I think that RCS for iMessage could benefit both iPhone and Android users, read on to find out why.

What is RCS?

Rich Communications Services (RCS) is a advice protocol that is touted to supplant SMS and bring information technology on par with modern messaging services such as Bespeak, Telegram, and WhatsApp. It was developed past a group of industry promoters back in 2007 and adopted by the GSM Clan the post-obit year.

The standard was hobbled past bureaucratic inertia and languished in obscurity until 2022 when Google announced that it was teaming up with mobile carriers across the world to bulldoze RCS implementation. The RCS standard is currently supported on Android devices via the native Messages app.

RCS offers features such as read receipts, typing indicators, and the power to share attachments with larger file sizes, along with end-to-stop encryption for i-on-1 letters. Information technology also lets you react to texts, add GIFs and stickers, and share your current location — all standard features in mod messaging apps.

RCS works over mobile networks and Wi-Fi. However, it nonetheless requires carrier back up, which makes its adoption by the three major carriers in the Us — AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile a big deal.

End-to-terminate encryption indicators highlighted in orange.


SMS has been around since the 1980s and essentially offers no added features apart from the basic texting feel. In other words, it doesn’t support modernistic conveniences such as read receipts. Unlike WhatsApp and Telegram, SMS is squarely dependent on cellular connection to transport and receive messages.

However, it has had quality of life improvements over time. One of those being MMS, which is an extension of SMS that enables basic filesharing. Unfortunately, it is hobbled by a iii.5MB limit. This severely limits the quality of images and videos transferred over the messaging protocol.

But the biggest ruby flag when information technology comes to SMS is its inadequate security. Currently, SMS is used as a fallback for Android users texting iMessage users. This ways that the overall messaging experience will exist downgraded for both, the iPhone as well as Android user.

iMessage’s Privacy Gotcha– the iCloud

Apple tree’due south iMessage service uses secure stop-to-terminate encryption, which ensures that only yous and the person you’re talking to tin can view your messages. But iMessage comes with a large privacy gotcha, and that’due south iCloud. When iCloud Fill-in is enabled, your iCloud messages are encrypted so backed upward to the iCloud. This backup is stored on Apple tree’s servers.

However, Apple receives a re-create of the key that is used to encrypt that fill-in. This implies that the backups themselves aren’t cease-to-end encrypted. And so, if Apple tree’s servers were compromised, unwanted elements could view the contents of your messages. Retrieve how the Pegasus spyware hacked iMessage? Though Apple did want to offering finish-to-terminate encryption for iCloud backups, information technology seemingly had to driblet its plans owing to pressure from the FBI.

I workaround is to disable iCloud backups entirely. Just with that, you lose the convenience of recovering your data on whatsoever device, putting you lot in a Catch-22 state of affairs where you have to choose between privacy and convenience.

The “Green Bubble” Stigma Plaguing Android Users

iMessage is a huge benefaction for Apple and its ecosystem, and then the iPhone maker has no incentive (autonomously from upholding consumer interests) to make it uniform beyond diverse devices. The Cupertino-based company appears to favor make-loyalty over user experience, which could explicate why information technology prefers its walled garden strategy.

When iPhone users communicate amidst themselves via iMessage, their bulletin bubbling are bluish. Notwithstanding, when an Android user joins the chat, their message bubbles turn green. This lets the iPhone users know that the mere presence of the non-Apple tree user has essentially robbed them of all modern messaging features.

Left: Blue bubbles for iPhone users. Right: Light-green bubbling when Android users enter the conversation

You don’t need an bookish breakdown of The Lord of the Flies to know that this will incite derision towards the Android device user. And sure enough, what is purported as a fallout of platform incompatibility, has taken the form of a class split up between iPhone and Android users.

In an interview with
The Wall Street Journal,
Grace Fang, a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, said, “I don’t know if it’s Apple tree propaganda or merely like a tribal in-group versus out-grouping affair going on, simply people don’t seem to like green text bubbles that much and seem to accept this visceral negative reaction to it.”

Information technology came every bit no surprise when a survey claimed that a whopping 87 percent of American teenagers own an iPhone. Apple’southward strategy sure seems to exist working in its favor.

Ironically, Facebook Gains from Apple’south Stubbornness

Last year, Marker Zuckerberg suggested that Apple uses its “ascendant platform position” to interfere with how other messaging apps work for its benefit. He said that iMessage is 1 of the key features that locks users into the Apple ecosystem, since it’south the default app on the iPhone and doesn’t play well with industry messaging protocols and standards.

However, a less-than-platonic messaging experience with non-iPhone users led many to opt for other messaging services such as Betoken and Facebook-owned WhatsApp.

Why Apple Refuses to Budge on Anti-RCS Opinion

Apple clearly refuses to prefer the industry-wide RCS standard to safeguard its iMessage lock-in strategy. A recent Wall Street Journal article outlined how the green iMessage texts have been pushing teenagers to switch from Android to iPhone. Emails that were brought to light during the Apple versus Epic lawsuit last year already confirmed that the iPhone maker uses iMessage to lock users into its ecosystem.

RCS: Far from Perfect

RCS is certainly a superior alternative to the antiquated SMS; even so, information technology is far from perfect. But similar with iMessage, messages could get lost when switching phones. Grouping chats do not have terminate-to-stop encryption. RCS is a standard that is spearheaded past Google, merely not universally agreed upon by all carriers. Many carriers across the world haven’t agreed to implement the standard.

So far, Google has rolled out worldwide support for information technology through its Google Messages app. However, RCS support ultimately depends on your device and service provider.

Furthermore, RCS onboarding isn’t equally seamless as it is with iMessage. Yous will need Google Letters if y’all want to use RCS on an Android phone. Information technology comes pre-installed on many Android phones, merely if it isn’t, you’ll have to caput on over to the Play Store to download it. And so you will have to go to the settings and plough on “conversation features.”

The Ball is in Apple tree’s Court

When it comes to adopting RCS, the ball is in Apple’due south courtroom. The company should consider support for RCS, at least for the sake of security. This is peculiarly important considering how iOS users are at risk every time they dare text an Android user.

Incorporating support for RCS doesn’t even require Apple to requite upwards its divisive green bubble/ blueish bubble caste system. It tin even so let iOS users know that they are interacting with Android peasants, but embracing RCS will at least allow bones security features such as encryption for all parties involved. More importantly, the RCS standard could encounter further adoption worldwide and grow further with Apple’s backing.

The merely ones losing out with this arrangement are the NSA and other malicious actors. However, considering Apple tree’s silence on the affair, it’s obvious where its priorities lie.

Source: https://www.iphonehacks.com/2022/01/why-apple-should-adopt-rcs-imessage-iphone.html

Posted by: Sadiyev.com