How to Use SMS Automatically When RCS or iMessage Don’t Work

How to Use SMS Automatically When RCS or iMessage Don’t Work
Photo: Soloviova Liudmyla, Shutterstock

iMessage revolutionised texting for iPhone users. It replaced SMS with a new, better, faster protocol. Now, Android is trying to do the same with RCS. And while it’s getting there, it does have one issue: It doesn’t automatically fall back to SMS if a message doesn’t go through — instead, you’re asked to manually send it as an SMS. There is a feature in settings, though, that makes sure your message is sent automatically via SMS if RCS doesn’t work, and there’s a similar feature for iPhone users.

How to enable SMS fallback for RCS on Google Messages

Google Messages is how RCS works on Android. It comes pre-installed on many popular smartphones, and you can download it from the Play Store for free. Before you start using it regularly, it’s best to enable the SMS fallback feature.

To do that, go tap the three-dotted Menu button in the top left, go to Settings > Chat Features, and enable the “Automatically resend as text (SMS/MMS).” From the popup, tap the “Allow” button.

Now, when a message doesn’t go through the RCS platform (which can happen for myriad of reasons), the recipient will still receive your message.

If this keeps happening repeatedly, and if the SMS fallback feature isn’t working, turn off RCS temporarily. Go to Settings > Chat Features and turn off the “Enable chat features” option.

How to enable SMS fallback for iMessage on iPhone

If you’re an iPhone user, it’s best to enable the SMS fallback for iMessage, just to be safe. You can do that from the Settings app. Here, open the “Messages” section, and enable the “Send as SMS” option. The next time iMessage is unavailable, the Messages app will automatically send the message as an SMS.

If the auto fallback also doesn’t work, turn off iMessage altogether for a while (if you’re travelling, or in a spotty coverage area). Go to Settings > Messages and turn off the “iMessage” feature from the top.

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