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RCS is finally sorting out cross-platform reactions and replies for Android and iPhone

Now we just have to wait for everyone involved to actually impellent these latest standards.

Published onJuly 9, 2024

RCS on iMessage reactions
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Standardized reaction support would let everyone see the same emoji — and even support custom uploads.
  • Threaded replies promise to keep your messy group chats organized.
  • A robust set of editing and deletion tools will give you new control over how and what you share.

Slowly but surely, it feels like Rich Communication Services (RCS) is finally starting to come into its own as the universal cross-platform messaging solution we’ve been craving for years. And access is only improving, like what we’re seeing with this new wave of iOS 18 beta 3 users, and new functional extensions occasionally arrive to add a little more polish to the experience. That’s just the sort of progress we’re seeing now, with the publication of the latest RCS specs that include support for threaded replies, message editing, and reactions across platforms.

RCS Universal Profile v2.7 and the RCS Advanced Communications Services and Client Specification v14.0 reflect the latest enhancements to the standard, shared on Reddit by /u/rocketwidget. Native support for reactions sounds particularly interesting, and would presumably resolve the sort of cobbled-together solution we have right now, where reaction emoji don’t necessarily align 1:1 across platforms. With this change, all participants would be on the same page, seeing the same responses. There’s even support for custom reactions, where you’d upload an image to the chat.

Replies in RCS would let users keep conversations organized, and even if you lose track and get confused, support for message editing, recall, and deletion will let you tweak those texts until they make sense (or just trash them altogether). There’s also a bunch of under-the-hood changes regarding things like authentication, as well as extended spam reporting functionality, but really, it’s the cross-platform replies, reactions, and edits that sound like the meat of this update.

So, when can you expect RCS clients and servers everywhere to support these latest additions? Well, there’s the rub, and having witnessed the glacial pace at which existing RCS functionality has spread, we’re not about to be holding our breath. That said, these are some very important changes to a standard with as much potential as RCS, and getting them on the books like this is absolutely the first critical step.

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