What Does RCS Message Mean?

What to Know

  • RCS is a communication standard that allows you to use read receipts, group chats, and more without having to use iMessage.
  • RCS is more secure than SMS since it uses end-to-end encryption.
  • RCS will be coming to iPhones in 2024, but you will still be able to use iMessage.

Last year, Apple announced that it will be bringing RCS messaging to the iPhone. But what does this mean? Will you still be able to use iMessage? Let’s go over the meaning of RCS messaging and how it will affect the way you text moving forward.

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What Is RCS Chat?

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services. This is a communication standard that is currently used for Android phones. It is designed to replace SMS and MMS messaging. RCS messaging offers many of the same features that iMessage does, such as typing indicators (the dots you see when someone else is typing), read receipts, reactions, high-quality photo/video files, group chats, and more. Unlike iMessage, however, all types of phones can use RCS instead of just iPhones.

While we don’t know exactly how Apple will implement RCS, it is assumed that it will work similarly to how iMessage currently works, except that you’ll be able to text your Android friends using it. To ensure you’re the first to know when RCS messaging comes to iPhone, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

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Every cell phone uses SMS messaging to some extent. It’s been a standard for decades that allows for sending text messages over your cellular network. MMS works hand-in-hand with SMS to allow you to add photos to a text on iPhone. However, these outdated standards are not very secure and cannot send high-quality media files. This may be why, if you send a photo or video to a friend using an Android, the quality of the image may be severely degraded when your friend receives it.

RCS, on the other hand, is end-to-end encrypted and allows for sending messages over Wi-Fi and data. Because it uses data instead of the cellular network, RCS can send higher-quality images and videos similar to iMessage.

What Does RCS Message Mean for iMessage?

More than likely, iMessage is not going anywhere. You’ll still be able to use iMessage to communicate with your fellow iPhone users.

However, what will change is that it will be much easier to text with non-iPhone users. You’ll even be able to take advantage of many of the same features available through iMessage, like typing indicators, read receipts, reactions, and much more.


  • What does SMS mean? SMS stands for Short Messaging Service. SMS allows you to send 160-character text messages between different cell phones.
  • Is RCS good or bad? RCS is absolutely a good thing. It’s much more secure than SMS and comes with more features than SMS.
  • Is RCS messaging free? Technically speaking, RCS is not free, since it requires a cellular data plan or Wi-Fi. However, if you are already paying for a data plan or you have Wi-Fi at your home, RCS messaging is free.
  • How do you enable iMessage? If you don't want to use RCS or SMS messaging, be sure to check out our article on how to enable iMessage. You'll be able to text iPhone users with ease through iMessage.

Top image credit: chainarong06 / Shutterstock.com

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.