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Google Messages is now officially encrypted for all RCS chats and on by default
- Google has turned Google Messages encryption on by default for all current and future users.
- Group RCS chats are also now fully encrypted.
- Some users might need to agree to a TOS alert before RCS will work, depending on your wireless carrier’s rules.
RCS chats on Google Messages between yourself and another person are fully end-to-end encrypted (E2EE). However, some group chats — even those with users all using RCS — have been unencrypted if one or more of those users wasn’t using the beta version of the app. Additionally, all users have had to enable RCS support when they first start using Messages.
Today, all that changes. Starting now, globally, RCS will be on by default for all new Messages users. Likewise, Google Messages encryption is active for all group chats with RCS-using members, regardless of their participation in Messages’ beta program.
Google made this announcement today on its community support forum.
RCS being on by default is probably the most significant change here. Up until now, when you first fire up Messages on a new phone or after switching messaging clients, you need to manually opt-in to RCS support. Now, that won’t be necessary, which will make Messages safer overall. After all, how many people don’t opt-in to RCS because they don’t know what it’s about?
Google is quick to note that, for some users, RCS support won’t be seamless. Depending on the wireless carrier, some users might still need to agree to a terms-of-service agreement before RCS will activate. Hopefully, that won’t deter too many people from agreeing. Additionally, if you previously turned RCS support off manually, that state will not change.
Likewise, the fact that all group chats are E2EE now is terrific. This moves Google Messages encryption much closer to competitors, including iMessage, WhatsApp, etc.