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RCS is used by 800 million users, just not any Apple users

Google is once again hoping that Apple "gets the message" and adopts RCS.

Published onMay 10, 2023

Google IO 2023 RCS monthly active users
  • Google says the RCS messaging standard now has over 800 million users.
  • Apple is still the biggest holdout here, falling back to SMS in iMessage instead.

RCS is the successor to the old SMS standard, and Google has been pushing this feature hard over the past few years.

Now, at Google I/O, the company confirmed that over 800 million people now have RCS on their phones. The firm added that the messaging standard is on the way to reaching the billion-user mark by the end of the year.

Apple and its iPhones are the main holdouts here, and Google couldn’t resist a dig at the iPhone maker for its refusal to adopt the standard.

“We hope every mobile operating system, gets the message and adopts RCS. So we can all hang out in the group chat together, no matter what device we’re using,” said Android vice-president Sameer Samat, alluding to the company’s Get The Message campaign.

Do you think iPhones will get RCS by the end of the year?

1298 votes

Right now, iMessage falls back to the legacy SMS standard when texting with Android and feature phone users. That means these users don’t get high-quality multimedia transfers, typing indicators, read receipts, and other perks when texting with Apple-toting users.

This isn’t the first time Google has criticized Apple for holding out on the RCS-enabled protocol, though. Earlier this year, Google vice-president Hiroshi Lockheimer claimed that he “feels bad for iPhone users” not being able to use RCS. Back in December, the company even said that Apple’s texting was “stuck in the 1990s.”

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