How To Manually Enable RCS On Android Right Now

Photo: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock

It’s been a while since Google announced plans to push RCS adoption so that Android users could finally move on from the outdated SMS technology, but most users are stuck waiting for their mobile carriers to flip the switch at some point in 2020—that is, unless you decide to take matters into your own hands and flip those switches yourself.

If you’re not sure what RCS is or why you would want to enable it, our RCS primer has all the details, but the most important reason is that RCS text messages are better and support far more features than SMS does. You know how Apple’s iMessage lets you see when your friends are typing or carry on conversations across multiple devices? RCS lets Android users finally do both—plus tons more—in their core texting app.

Google updated the Android messages app with RCS support a while back, but it’s up to each mobile carrier to enable it on its network. However, Android Police recently reported that Reddit users have successfully enabled RCS features in their Android Messages app without needing carrier approval. The process might take a few tries before it sticks, but it seems to work for most Android devices running a variety of Android versions.

How to manually enable RCS messaging on Android

  1. You’ll need to shut off your device’s Wi-Fi during this process. Swipe down on your phone’s screen to show the quick settings and notifications menu, then find and tap the “Wi-Fi” shortcut to disable it.

  2. Next, open the Activity Launcher app and select “All Activities” from the drop-down menu.

  3. Tap “Messages” then scroll down and tap “Set RCS Flags.”

  4. Scroll down to “ACS Url” and select http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com.” from the drop-down menu.

  5. Next, in the “OTP Pattern” drop-down menu, select “Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6}).”

  6. Scroll down and tap “Apply.”

  7. Force close the Messages app, then re-open it. If there’s a banner asking you to “Upgrade Now” so you can see what your friends are typing, tap “Upgrade Now.” If not, refer to the steps above and double-check you didn’t miss anything.

After you have upgraded, you can tap “...” > Settings > Chat features in the Messages app to see which RCS features are available for you. If you are shown a warning message at the top of the screen, it may mean your phone number cannot be verified—don’t worry, though, this is fixable. First, make sure you followed the above steps correctly. If that doesn’t solve anything, try each of the following fixes until you find one that works

  • Force close Messages again, re-open it, then reboot your phone.

  • Install the “Carrier Services” app if you haven’t already, then go to Settings and search for “All Apps.” Find Carrier Services and clear its app data.

  • In the Messages app, go to “...” > Settings > Chat features > Status: Setting up then tap “Verify,” and type in your phone number.


Comments

    I can confirm this works, but you must be on the beta version of Messages, which no one seems to be particularly clear about.

    If you're not on the beta, you'll waste hours (or maybe just minutes) trying to get this working. Enroll in the beta first, wait until you have the beta installed, then follow these instructions.

    What is the Activity Launcher app?

        Wow, so this is some WAY out there hack to get RCS operational. First you need to be in the Beta program, running the beta version of Messages, then download a 3rd party, non-official app before making some obscure setting changes. Interesting advice from Lifehacker...

          What's even weirder, it that carriers and manufacturers are dragging their feet so much that you can't just turn it on normally!

            There is probably a lot of software changes, costly hardware and more importantly thorough field testing involved, to iron out any bugs before it's introduction in 2020

        Thanks.
        The article implied this was in Android settings.

    Hello, thanks for the instructions. I have the beta and I've tried the above but I do not receive the 6 digit verification message from Google after inputting my phone number. Any thoughts? Thanks

      Done it on OnePlus 7. Says connected.
      Clearing Storage of Google Messages at the beginning of these instructions sorted it for me.

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