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iPhone adding RCS support (and copying these Google Messages features in iOS 18)



As expected, Apple announced RCS support for the iPhone’s Messages app with iOS 18 at WWDC 2024. This was first teased last November.

“RCS Messaging Support” was announced at the end of the iOS 18 section when software chief Craig Federighi was highlighting other new features. You can see it in the features grid above with a green bubble.

Update: After the keynote, Apple shared an image and is highlighting “richer media” and delivery/read receipts aspects of RCS.

Apple did not share any further details (last year it specified RCS Universal Profile support), like when it’s launching. People were speculating whether it’s releasing with the initial iOS 18 release this fall or whether it’s coming later in the year in a point release.

Notably, Rich Communication Services was not mentioned when Apple was talking about the new features coming to Messages this year.

Some of those capabilities are straight from Google Messages, including the ability to react to a message with any emoji. These Emoji Tapbacks are accompanied by a vibrant color redesign of the defaults: heart, thumbs up/down, haha, exclamation marks, and question mark.

Then there’s the simple ability to schedule messages. 

In terms of new features, Messages in iOS 18 is adding support for text formatting with bold, italicize, underline, and strikethrough. There are signs that Google Messages is working on this capability, but it’s unclear whether it’s actually going to launch.

Apple is also adding “Text Effects” that animate certain words/phrases: Big, Small, Shake, Nod, Explore, Ripple, Bloom, and Jitter.

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