How to Make Texting With Androids Better in iOS 18

How to Make Texting With Androids Better in iOS 18

Texting Android phones from an iPhone is finally getting a lot less stupid. After years of complaining from people on both sides of the fence, Apple is finally bringing RCS to the iPhone. The more robust messaging standard will be replacing SMS when communicating with Android phones, allowing for more secure texts and higher quality image and video sharing more akin to messaging between two iPhones. iPhones will continue to use a proprietary standard when chatting with each other, although because said standard relies on an internet connection, they will also be able to lean on RCS in situations where it isn’t isn’t available.

RCS will even allow you to send reactions to Android phones, just like when using iMessage to chat with another iPhone. Androids started getting access to RCS when talking to each other in 2019, and it’s been disappointing to me to lose these features when chatting with an iPhone.

The arrival of RCS on the iPhone is, perhaps, one of the biggest changes coming to the smartphone with iOS 18. That’s because many have been waiting a long time for Apple to embrace the newer standard for text messaging, and the Justice Department has even gotten involved in the situation in the past.

There’s still caveats: RCS on the iPhone won’t quite eliminate the blue-bubble/green-bubble nonsense divide, as RCS messages are still green in iOS. But it will hopefully help alleviate some of the concerns over how insecure regular SMS services are, while also giving iPhone and Android users options to communicate more richly.

How to try RCS on iPhone

If you don’t want to wait until the full release of iOS 18 later this year, you can actually get ahead of the game and try RCS on iPhone right now. To do that, you’ll need to to update a compatible iPhone to the latest iOS 18 beta (at the time of writing, that is developer beta 2). Your carrier will also need to have activated the feature on its network.

RCS should be turned on by default when you install the latest iOS 18 beta. But, just in case it isn’t, here’s how to find the toggle for it.

Credit: Joshua Hawkins
  • Open Settings on your iPhone.
  • Navigate all the way to the bottom of the Settings page and tap on Apps.
  • Find Messages in the list (or search for it at the top) and tap on it.
  • Scroll down until you see RCS Messaging. Make sure it is toggled on.
  • Open a conversation with a non-iPhone user, and if RCS is supported, it will say Text Message RCS in the message field.

As I noted above, a big component of using RCS in iOS 18 beta 2 is whether or not your carrier supports it. I’ve seen reports from friends on AT&T that they are able to use RCS to text on beta 2, and I’ve been able to use it on T-Mobile myself. However, I have yet to find any confirmation about Verizon users currently having RCS on iPhone, at least not before the time of publishing. However, that could change within the next day, hour, or even minutes, as carriers enable support on their backend.

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