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I’m a longtime iPhone user, and I don’t care about RCS support in iMessage

Published Aug 10th, 2023 6:40PM EDT
iPhone Messages
Image: José Adorno for BGR

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Google just announced that Google Messages now offers full end-to-end encryption for all chats and that RCS is the new default instant messaging app on Android. That’s amazing news for Android users, and it might be seen as the move Google needed to make in order to get Apple to embrace the RCS standard for iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

However, as a longtime iPhone user, I have to say that I absolutely don’t care about RCS support on iPhone. If anything, I’m slightly annoyed that the European Union might force it on us by imposing interoperability between iMessage and RCS.

It’s not about the blue and green bubbles Google is pushing in its campaigns. That’s never been a problem for me. It’s about the compatibility issues that I foresee.

There’s no blue vs. green chat bubble war

Google is dying to have Apple adopt RCS on iPhone as this would eliminate Apple’s iMessage advantage over Android. But in my experience, I’ve never been concerned about the color of my chat bubbles.

I’ve been using an iPhone long before older and younger family members got their first iPhones or Android devices. To this day, some of them are on iPhone, and some are on Android. That hasn’t hindered mobile communications between us.

I told every person in my family never to text me via SMS when they got their first smartphone. It would be iMessage on iPhone (or WhatsApp, or their app of choice) and WhatsApp on Android (or their app of choice).

Image showing the blue bubbles vs. green bubbles from Google's latest campaign against iMessages.
Image showing the blue bubbles vs. green bubbles “problem” from Google’s latest campaign against iMessages. Image source: Google

This was years before Google decided to focus on turning RCS into the iMessage rival it desperately needed.

I used the example of my family above because those are the most important people in our lives. They’re the ones you’ll communicate the most with. But I applied the same concept to all my chats. The only SMS messages I receive are spam or accidents.

Years later, the green vs. blue chat bubble war doesn’t affect me or those closest to me. We use an amalgam of iPhone apps that include iMessage and WhatsApp. But there are other apps that we rely on, as well, depending on age, context, and relationships.

It’s not about RCS either

I would have no problem using an RCS app to chat with an Android user if Google made a separate RCS app for iPhone. Google could always do that, and Apple would have to allow it. Such an app would have limitations, as it wouldn’t be the default chat app on iPhone. That’s not what Google wants.

I’d never replace my default chat app on iPhone with anything from competitors. But I also don’t want the headaches that will surely come from different chat apps working with each other.

It’s not about iMessage supporting RCS. It’s about the EU forcing tech companies to open their chat apps to other platforms. I’d experience the regulation first-hand, just as I’ll have access to iPhone sideloading, another iPhone feature I don’t want.

Messages by Google will be the default messaging app for Android phones on AT&T. Image source: Google

I hate the idea of having to worry about someone’s device not working properly in chat apps. Imagine having to figure out why your RCS texts do not reach the iMessage group. Or the other way around. Or why you can’t text from your WhatsApp account to my iMessage? I’m not saying this will happen, but it might.

I need chat apps to do their thing within that ecosystem. I’m happy to install as many of them as I need rather than have iMessage flooded with support for RCS, Meta’s apps, and who knows what.

Just like I don’t want an X everything app on my iPhone, the kind Elon Musk wants to transform Twitter into. And yes, X would probably have chat apps it would want to work with iMessage. Or replace it.

It’s all about convenience, about simple apps that work as intended. Because the more parties and devices involved, the higher the chances something goes wrong. And as the tech guy in the group, I do not want to fix interoperability chat problems. On that note, I bet some of those lawmakers coming up with these regulations routinely need help managing their iPhones and/or Androids.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.