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May 15, 2024
5 minutes read

Unified Messaging With RCS on iOS

RCS is a rising star among the messaging channels. It combines the reliability of the SMS network with the added benefits of rich media and other modern messaging features. Its only hiccup was reach - iOS didn't support RCS. Until now.

What is RCS Messaging?

RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is often seen as the successor of SMS. It's an upgraded messaging protocol that offers many features available on popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Messaging. Similar to SMS, RCS messaging makes use of a phone’s native messaging app and relies on leveraging carrier networks or internet to deliver its messages. RCS messages are sent over Wi-Fi when it's available, or mobile data. It's not reliant on internet access to send and receive messages.

This would mean that RCS benefits from the same powerful reach of SMS, right? Well, there was one big caveat - RCS was not natively supported on all operating systems.

iOS currently does not support RCS messaging, but last november, Apple confirmed that it was working on adding support for RCS.

RCS Unifies Android and iOS

According to Statista, Apple's operating system iOS is becoming increasingly popular. While more than half of the smartphone users worldwide own Android operated phones, iOS is on the rise among the younger generations. Around 35% of Millennials owned an iPhone 2023, followed closely by 31% of Generation Z.

RCS not being available on iOS was a big threat to its popularity, because it meant less reach and an unoptimized messaging experience between Android and iOS users. Now that Apple has confirmed that it'll adopt RCS messaging (after years of pressure from users, competitors and lawmakers), the future for RCS looks very promising.

RCS boasts a lot of features similar to Apple's iMessage and other popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, including typing indicators, high-resolution media sharing and stickers and gifs. With the added benefit that it'll align with messaging protocols of other operating systems, unifying the way users communicate and bridging the gap between iPhone and Android interactions.

Currently, interactions between iPhones and Android phones feel archaic, to put bluntly. SMS is the only native messaging channel that can be used to communicate between the two operating systems, which means that the messages cannot contain rich media or modern features. Apple supporting RCS on its devices means that users texting between iPhone and Android phones can now benefit from rich features such as:

  • Group chats

  • Read receipts

  • High-res media sharing

  • Stickers and gifs

Apple intends for iMessage and RCS to exist alongside each other. iMessage will still have features exclusive to iPhone users, while RCS will (eventually) replace SMS and MMS.

When Can We Expect Apple to Support RCS?

It is unclear when Apple will release support for RCS messaging, but there are some speculations. In November 2023, Apple confirmed it was working on adding RCS support, and according to 9to5google, Apple is bringing RCS to iPhones in the fall of 2024.

There are speculations that this update might arrive with iOS 18, which Apple is expected to launch in June. It’s not clear whether it will arrive with the initial iOS 18 release or at a later date with a separate update later in 2024.

Benefits of RCS for Businesses

The fact that Apple will support RCS in the close future is great news for businesses. When a communication channel is not supported by an operating system, up to half of the target group of a business cannot be reached - which is an issue for obvious reasons.

Now that Apple has confirmed its adoption of RCS, messaging across operating systems will be unified while simultaneously expanding the reach of RCS messaging.

Whereas businesses now rely on SMS, both as a main communication channel and as a fallback, to reach their customers, RCS will soon be able to do the same - but with added benefits!

RCS offers businesses verified user profiles for added security, while also offering the rich media features that have become a staple of modern messaging such as:

  • Full enterprise (verified) branding profiles including business information pages

  • Verified sender IDs

  • Clickable response buttons

  • Multiple-choice carrousels

RCS Business Messaging via CM.com

With over 25 years of experience and connections with 1000+ mobile carriers worldwide, CM.com will get your message out there. The 6.7 billion SMS messages we send out each year can easily be upgrade to RCS messaging with verified profiles to build that trust with your customers and offer a seamless customer experience, regardless of smartphone OS preference. Send promotional messages with personalized offers and strengthen security with verified sender profiles and two-factor authentication (2FA).

Don't just take our word for it - hear it from our customers! Cymba, a trusted partner for top UK charities, including the RSPCA, UNICEF and Macmillian Cancer Support, achieved a 50% uplift compared to SMS in response rates with RCS, elevating engagement to and for its charity partners.

cymba-logo

Integrate RCS via our Connectivity platform and profit from our expertise in the field and our omnichannel capabilities. We offer one platform for all conversations. Benefit from multiple communication channels via one easily integrated API. Reach your customers on their preferred communication channels and elevate your customer engagement.

Get Started With RCS Today!

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Christel Brouwers
Copywriter at CM.com. Passionate about language and getting CM.com’s message out there. Shares content about CPaaS, Payments and more.

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