It took excruciatingly long for Google to roll out RCS (Rich Communication Services) texting features on Android devices. Last year, the company killed its Allo messaging app and moved its developer team to implement RCS to the Messages app.
Fast forward to the present, and Google has partnered up with dozens of carriers from around the globe to bring RCS on Android. The Messages app aims to provide the same rich and dynamic experience as Apple’s iMessage, which is a considerable feat to the Android ecosystem.
As of now, only the Google and Samsung Messages app offers RCS integration. You can follow this guide to set up RCS chat on your Android device, provided that your mobile carrier supports the feature.
Set up RCS chat in Google Messages
If your Android device doesn’t use Google’s Messages app by default, go to the Play Store and install it. Tapping the link below will redirect you straight to the download page.
- Messages by Google LLC [Play Store]
Once you have Google Messages installed and set up as the default SMS app on your Android device, follow the steps below to enable RCS. The process is straightforward and doesn’t require you to go through advanced options.
- First, launch the Messages app from your device’s home screen or app drawer.
- Next, tap the overflow (⋮) icon in the upper right-hand side of the app, then select Settings from the drop-down menu.
- After that, tap the Chat features option at the top of the Settings menu.
- Now select your country code, enter your phone number, and tap Continue.
Once you go through the following steps, you will see the “Setting up…” status in the Chat features menu. Assuming your carrier is supported, the status will change to “Connected” in a few moments. When it happens, you should be able to have conversations with your contacts over RCS.
From the Chat features menu, you can also disable or re-enable chat features, as well as toggle typing indicators and read receipts.
Set up RCS chat in Samsung Messages
If you have a Samsung phone, you can enable RCS within the Samsung Messages app. However, you can’t force the RCS activation, unlike what you can do with Google Messages.
Even if your carrier supports Google’s “Chat features,” it needs to be separately compatible with Samsung Messages for RCS to work on your Samsung phone.
When available for use, you will get a splash screen the next time you open the Messages app. All you have to do is tap Agree, followed by the Start button on the Settings screen. Your phone number will be automatically verified and enrolled for RCS.
Tap the overflow (⋮) icon on the top-right corner of the conversations, then select Settings to go to the Settings menu. From the Chat settings page, you can toggle on/off RCS-related features.
RCS chat features are being widely rolled out on Google Messages. You can give it a try today as long as your carrier supports it. Samsung users will have to wait for a bit, considering the company’s taking a staged approach to rolling out RCS messaging on its devices.
It’s worth mentioning that RCS provides significantly better security than traditional SMS. As it uses end-to-end encryption, your private conversations will always stay anonymous over RCS, with zero external inferences of third-parties. You can expect to take full advantage of the feature by 2021 on all Android devices.