RCS on iOS 18: Apple finally steps in

Coline Constant
18 Jun, 2024

Apple has announced the arrival of RCS on its smartphones from iOS 18. This is expected to happen in September 2024. The integration of RCS (Rich Communication Services) by Apple marks a key moment in the evolution of the world of telecoms, and a new era for communication on iPhones. Let’s take a closer look at it.

What is RCS?

The rising star of the messaging world, RCS, or “Rich Communication Services”, is an evolution of SMS. In other words, RCS combines the advantages of SMS with new technological developments to meet new user needs. So, in short, this messaging system enables “rich” messages to be shared, i.e. messages that are more complex and interactive. For example, with RCS, it’s possible to send images or photos, share a location, integrate buttons into a conversation, have read receipts, and so on. If you’d like to find out more, we talk more about what RCS is and how it can benefit your business in another blog post.

As you can see, RCS delivers a rich, seamless user experience. A bit like that of messaging applications like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

The big difference is that RCS is used directly via the phone’s native messaging application, without downloading a third-party application.

RCS on iOS 18: a new era for Apple

While RCS has been around and available on Android devices for several years, its arrival on Apple’s iOS 18 is a major announcement. And for several reasons:

  • Apple has always been reluctant to adopt technologies developed by other companies. Apple’s confirmation of the introduction of RCS (developed by Google) on iOS 18 is therefore a revolution in the telecom world.
  • The success of RCS depended largely on its availability on all operating systems. Indeed, a messaging system that wasn’t compatible between Android and iOS would have made the user experience very complicated and, ultimately, of little interest. Especially since both Android and iPhone users are numerous. But the announcement of the arrival of RCS at Apple paves the way for this technology to take off.
  • RCS offers many of the same features as other popular messaging applications. We’ve already mentioned them above. But the fact that it is integrated directly into the operating system is an undeniable advantage for RCS over these competing applications.

The launch of RCS on iOS 18 enables Apple to catch up and offer iPhone users the same advanced features as Android fans.

RCS, the end of iMessage?

But what about iMessage? Well, Apple isn’t letting go of its application. Because yes, the similarities between RCS and iMessage are obvious. And, finally, with iMessage, Apple already has a messaging application that enables “rich” conversations. But only from iPhone to iPhone. The arrival of RCS on iOS 18 will therefore mainly enable the homogenization of advanced message communications, whatever the device’s operating system.

So for the moment, Apple plans to let iMessage and RCS coexist. RCS will in fact replace SMS and MMS, while iMessage will retain functionalities available exclusively to iPhone users. As if to emphasize the difference between the two systems, iMessage’s conversation bubbles will retain their blue color, while those of RCS will be green.

Why it’s good news for businesses

For businesses, Apple’s support for RCS from iOS 18 is a bargain.

A wide coverage

As we explained above, without RCS on iPhones, you wouldn’t be able to reach a large part of your target audience with “rich” communications. Nonsense.

But no need to worry about that now! We know that RCS will be present on all operating systems, enabling RCS to have the largest possible reach.

Richer communications

SMS is now widely used as a means of communication between companies and their customers. Promotions, appointment or payment reminders, one-time passwords… SMS is everywhere. And soon, you’ll be able to use RCS for these communications too. The only difference is that you’ll be able to add advanced functionalities to enrich your content (images, buttons…), make it interactive thanks to a bot or a virtual agent (conversations) and therefore improve customer engagement.

Security first

With RCS, businesses can have their profile authenticated by Google. Basically, Google checks every profile to make sure it’s genuine and trusted, for maximum security. As a result, every user will be able to clearly identify the brand sending them a communication (even in terms of colors, logo, etc.) and be sure it’s from a trusted source.

If RCS was already a real revolution in the world of mobile communications, its integration on Apple’s iOS 18 marks a major turning point. The advantages of this technology, coupled with the fact that it will soon be available on most mobile devices, open up exciting perspectives for users and businesses alike. And if you haven’t already, it’s high time you took an interest.

We’re experts and leaders in SMS for more than 30 years, and we can easily switch your SMS to RCS. And now, with Apple joining the movement, there’s no counterargument. Offer your customers a unique, interactive and secure experience: switch to RCS. We are here to help.

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