iOS 18 makes Google Messages RCS chat work on iPhone, but with some quirks

In RCS chats on iOS 18, toggle for “Only send SMS & MMS messages” is absent when talking to someone with an iPhone
An undated, representational image of messaging apps. — Pexels
An undated, representational image of messaging apps. — Pexels

Fulfilling its promise made at the WWDC 2024 conference held earlier this month, earlier this week Apple released iOS 18 Beta 2 with seamless support for Android-like RCS conversations.

Although the beta version of the iOS update was launched exclusively in the US, the exposure to Google Messages to converse (in text) with someone with an iPhone supporting RCS is very clear and nominal considering its availability by the developer's first take.

As reported by 9to5Google, when users update to iOS 18 Beta 2, an “RCS Messaging” toggle (located under Settings > Apps > Messages) is enabled by default on the condition of AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon being the compatible carrier. 

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At the moment, it's not possible to enable RCS on iOS 18 using MVNO like Google Fi. However, that is not the case for the Android recipient once the sender has RCS active on his iPhone.

"RCS message" appears in the text field when an iPhone user's conversation is opened on Google Messages app, with delivery receipts, read receipts, typing indicators, and sharing of higher-resolution multimedia working smoothly as they do on WhatsApp.

Such conversations on Google Messages are not to be end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) with a lock icon that features a slash. Meanwhile, the type of messages will be “Rich Communication Service Message” instead of “End-to-End Encrypted Rich Communication Service message.”

That becomes a point to ponder for Apple as Google offers its own end-to-end encryption for 1:1 and group conversations for Messages on Android, leaving it in limbo for Apple to have encryption integrated into the RCS Universal Profile standard.

Meanwhile, there are some missing settings, too, when heading to a conversation’s Details page: absence of a toggle for “Only send SMS & MMS messages” when talking to someone with an iPhone. On top of that, the card detailing E2EE status cases is not added, mostly, unless they switched SIMs from Android to iOS and it was previously active.