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May 27, 2024
4 minutes read

Unified messaging with RCS on Apple's iOS

RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a rising star among conversational channels. It combines the reliability of SMS with the added benefits of rich media and interactive features from modern messaging apps. Yet, its only hiccup was that RCS didn't have the same reach without support from Apple's iOS. Well, until now, Apple has now confirmed it will support RCS in iOS 18.

What is RCS Messaging?

RCS is often seen as the successor of SMS. It's an upgraded messaging protocol that offers many features available on popular messaging platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram Messaging. Similar to SMS, RCS messaging uses mobile phones' native messaging and leverages the internet and carrier networks to deliver its messages; RCS messages are sent over Wi-Fi when it's available, if not, it will use mobile data. Therefore, it's not reliant on internet access to send and receive messages, increasing its reach and reliability.

Many think this would mean that RCS benefits from the same powerful reach of SMS. Yet, there's one big caveat, RCS is currently not natively supported on all operating systems. Well, that was until June 2024...

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 in 2023, followed closely by 31% of Generation Z.

RCS being unavailable on iOS was a big threat to its popularity, it meant less reach and an unoptimised messaging experience between Android and iOS users. However, Now that Apple has confirmed it will adopt RCS messaging in iOS 18, the future for RCS looks 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, stickers and GIFs. With the added benefit that it will align with messaging protocols of other operating systems, unifying the way users communicate and bridging the gap between iOS on iPhones and Android interactions.

Currently, interactions between iOS on iPhones and Android phones feel archaic, to put it 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 users messaging 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.

Benefits of RCS for businesses

The fact that Apple will support RCS in the near 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 upgraded to RCS with verified profiles to build that trust with your customers and offer a seamless customer experience, regardless of smartphone preference. Send promotional messages with personalised offers and strengthen security with verified sender profiles and two-factor authentication (2FA).

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

Integrate RCS via our Connectivity Platform and benefit from our expertise in the field and 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 messaging for your business

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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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