How to activate RCS messaging on Android and iOS

RCS or Rich Communication Services is being pitched as the next generation of the text messages of yore. RCS is also being considered to bring text messages at par with modern communication platforms such as WhatsApp, iMessages, or Messenger. In that vein, RCS is even being conceived to combine the best of the above mentioned messaging services. In this post, we will talk about RCS, and how you can activate RCS messaging on your phone.

How to activate RCS messaging on Android and iOS

Note: Apple is yet to fully commit to the new communication standard, which means, iPhone users will have to wait some more time to have RCS enabled on their devices.

What is RCS?

For those not in the knowledge or might have been living under the rock, RCS essentially is a new protocol that was proposed by a few industry bigwigs back in 2007. The initial response has been lukewarm at best though Google took upon itself to promote the idea of RCS. The company said it worked with almost all the major carriers around the world to sell the idea of RCS. Finally, it has reached a point where the protocol has attained a level of maturity in 2018.

During the time, the protocol has also come to be known as Chat. Let’s be clear on one aspect. Chat isn’t another Android app that you need to install on your phone. Instead, it’s inherent to your smartphone irrespective of the platform it runs, the carrier it is based on, the country you are residing in, and so on.

More specifically, Chat can be considered to be an extension of the message feature already present in your phone. However, the only other app that is supporting the RCS protocol, and hence Chat, is Samsung Messages. That is still large enough to make Chat universal, given that Android alone makes for the overwhelming majority of smartphones currently in operation worldwide, including those from Samsung.

How RCS differ from SMS?

However, a crucial difference between SMS and Chat is that unlike the former that uses your cellular connection, Chat relies on your data connection to transmit information. Another area and which can also be considered to be a huge let down is that it does not support end-to-end encryption.

Instead, Chat follows the same security feature as its predecessor and is therefore open to the same levels of legal scrutiny as the SMS is liable to. It is quite unlike most other communication apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and such the features of which Chat aims to emulate. It also contrasts what the original RCS protocol envisaged, that of implementing client-to-server encryption.

How is RCS better than SMS?

Nonetheless, Chat does come with a host of improvements, which includes the ability to share high-quality audio and video files apart from of course images as well. You will get read receipts too once the receiver has gone through the message while you will also get to know if someone is typing something in response.

How to activate RCS messaging on your phone?

Enable RCS in Android Smartphone

All of this does make Chat extremely desirable. If you are already impatient to have it enabled on your phone, here are the steps you need to follow. You might be required to turn off Wi-Fi before proceeding, or else you might not get the desired results. So make sure your Wi-Fi is turned off.

  1. The process starts with launching Activity Launcher. I, in reality, is an Android app that you can download from the Play Store. So, if you don’t have the app yet, first have it installed on your phone.
  2. Tap on the Recent Activities link, and from the menu option that appears, choose All Activities.
  3. Under All Activities, search for Android Messages.
  4. Tap on Android Messages and scroll down to Set RCS Flags.
  5. Tap on Set RCS Flag and select ACS Url.
  6. In the menu option, select http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com/.
  7. Follow setup in Android Messages. The process should take hardly about 5 mins.
  8. If this does not seem to be working, continue reading until it can.
  9. You can also try clearing Carrier Services data, besides force stopping Android Messages.
  10. Repeat the first four steps.
  11. Select the OTP pattern.
  12. In the menu, click on Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6})

It should be all that you need to do to enable RCS on your Android phone.

To be sure, go to Settings > Chat Features > Status. The status should be shown as ‘connected’ if you have RCS messaging active on your phone.

However, if you are still having issues, make sure your carrier is supporting RCS. It is highly unlikely if it isn’t, but there is no harm to seeing it. They care to comply with the terms.

Conclusion

In the end, what can be said is that Chat is indeed a new generation messaging feature that is ages ahead of SMS. However, there is still some more that needs to be done for it to achieve the universal status that SMS has reached over the years. It includes more thorough industry participation. Till then, anyone not having Chat enabled on their device will receive a message as a regular SMS even if the sender is using Chat to communicate.

Hope the steps were easily followed, and you were able to activate RCS messaging on your Android and iOS.

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