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iMessage reaction support in Google Messages rolling out now

You'll need to be using the beta version of Google Messages, but it will likely roll out to the stable version soon enough.
By
January 31, 2022
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Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • iMessage and Android users can now communicate with reactions to chats.
  • Android users will no longer get a new text. Instead, they’ll see a similar reaction as other iMessage users would.
  • Unfortunately, this is a hacky workaround and not full support for iMessage on non-iPhones.

If you’re an Android phone user, you’ve likely gotten that text from an iPhone user. You know the one: “Loved…” or “Liked…” followed by the text you originally sent. This happens because iPhone users react to your message with an emoji, but only iMessage users can “read” this emoji. The SMS your phone receives just regurgitates the reaction and the original text. It’s very silly.

See also: The best texting apps and SMS apps for Android

Last year, news broke that Google was working on a simple workaround to this problem. Using Google Messages, the app would notice the “Liked…” or “Loved…” pretext, understand what it is, and then apply an emoji to the text you sent, creating a facsimile of iMessage on Android.

iMessage and Android reactions: Rolling out now

According to Droid-Life, this feature is finally rolling out to Messages beta. If you’re a beta user, you should start to receive Emoji reactions on your texts and no longer see that annoying “Loved…” text back.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect workaround. The way reactions look to the iMessage user is different from how they look on Android. For example, a “laughing” reaction on iMessage is a speech bubble with “Ha Ha” in it, whereas the Android user will see the traditional “face with tears of joy” emoji (😂). Not the same, but similar.

Also, this only works one way. iMessage users can react to Android users, but Android users can’t react to iMessage users. In order for that to work, Apple would need to create its own workaround — or just support the RCS standard, which Google would really like Apple to do. But we’re not holding our breath for that.

If you’re not already using Google Messages, you can download it here. If you want to join the beta program, you can sign up on that same page.