It was something of a shock when Apple announced it was going to support the RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging standard from next year – but it's now clear that Apple is only going to adopt the tech on its own terms.
Apple has told 9to5Mac that Android users are still going to show up as green bubbles inside the Messages app on iOS. We've reached out to Apple ourselves for confirmation, but it seems as though nothing is going to change as far as colors go.
The green vs blue bubble issue has become rather ridiculously overblown in recent years, with messages from users on Apple's own iMessage service showing up in blue in conversations, and Android users messaging via SMS appearing in green.
Ultimately, these colors don't actually matter too much – though a significant number of people seem to think they do. What does matter is that from 2024, Android users will be able to take advantage of RCS messaging features like high-resolution photo and video sharing, read receipts, and location sharing when they text their friends with iPhones.
We've still got a lot of questions on how RCS support on the iPhone is going to work, but it would appear that a lot of iMessage features – like unsending messages and animated screen effects – are going to remain exclusive to Apple users. Of course, there's not going to be an iMessage app for Android anytime soon either.
This is still an important step forward though. Google has been pushing RCS as a replacement for the now ancient SMS standard, as it introduces features (such as group chats) that are now standard in modern day messaging apps.
Up until now, Apple has been reluctant to adopt RCS – potentially to stop iPhone owners straying from iMessage. If you're locked into iMessage for all your conversations, then you're going to be less likely to want to switch to an Android phone at some point.
The arrival of RCS on iPhones in 2024 won't change that dynamic too much, but it will mean better chats between iOS and Android users. Apple also knows it needs to show willing in order to prevent users switching to alternative options – in several parts of the world, everyone just uses WhatsApp instead.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.