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What are RCS messages: compatible apps and smartphones

What are RCS messages: compatible apps and smartphones

One of the peculiarities of the smartphones we use on a daily basis is the ability to communicate instantly with anyone around the world. This is technically possible thanks to the fact that the tariff plans of the telephone operators assure us essentially constant and omnipresent connectivity. Therefore, the platforms of instant messaging they are the masters of the most used apps ever.

In addition to the well-known instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, we have often heard an acronym for messaging for a couple of years. Let’s talk about Rich Communication Servicesa standard for instant messaging that Google has focused heavily on in recent years.

So let’s see the general operation, the main peculiarities and which apps and smartphones are already operational with the RCS standard.


RCS messaging: birth and main functions

RCS type messaging was created as standard in 2007 and was adopted by the GSM Association in 2008. RCS offers messaging richer, consistent with the name it was given, in terms of content compared to what is offered by the classic GSM-7 standard. The latter is the same standard adopted for the management of classic SMS.

Speaking in more practical terms, RCS messaging can include images, emojis, animated content, links to websites among the content to be included in the messages. This is clearly a huge step forward compared to what is offered by SMS. If we do a little, we can remember how it was necessary to switch to the MMS standard if you wanted more elaborate content than the texts allowed in SMS.

It is also possible with RCS messaging customize content also by individual producers. These can in fact integrate the management of digital payments, sharing of geographic location and compatibility with video calls.

Differences with WhatsApp and Telegram

From a technical standpoint, RCS messaging works in a similar way to what is offered by global instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram. Technically, the RCS standard requires the internet connectivity to work. Without internet connection, RCS messages will not be available. To find a counterpart on the iOS side we can certainly mention iMessage.

The main differences with WhatsApp and Telegram, and in general with third-party instant messaging platforms, lies precisely in the fact that RCS is a standard and not a third-party platform. This means that RCS messages can be sent from any app that supports them. And above all, the RCS standard does not require a third-party service, as are WhatsApp and Telegram on Android and iOS.

This aspect is of great importance, especially from the point of view of privacythe reliability of the service and the security in data management, which depend exclusively on the user and on the manufacturer of the device and of the software that is used on the same device.

Compatible apps and smartphones

In the current panorama, the best app to exploit the full potential of RCS messaging is Messages, the Google app created for SMS management and which has recently been enriched with support for the RCS standard. Google’s Messages app has been supporting RCS messages for a couple of years now and official support has arrived in the last year also for Italy.

To use RCS messages via your telephone number, although RCS messages will not affect the available SMS traffic in any way, you will need to activate the chat mode in the Messages app. There procedure to do this is quite simple:

  1. Open the Google Messages app and make sure you are connected to the internet.
  2. Tap on the context menu at the top right.
  3. Select the item Settings and then Chat features.
  4. Then enable the Enable chat features option.
  5. Restart the app and go to the same previous section to verify that the chat features are connected correctly (as you can see from the screenshot below).

THE smartphone templates compatible with the RCS standard are essentially all those on which the Google Messages app can be installed, practically all the models that we find on the current market.