June 16, 2024
iMessage on an iPhone.
Greg Mombert / Digital Tendencies

I’ve been utilizing an iPhone ever since 2008, beginning with the unique after which each technology since. For a number of years, the iPhone was solely able to SMS texting, with MMS help arriving with iOS 3 in 2009.

However in 2011, Apple created one thing new: iMessage. It first arrived on iOS after which went to the Mac in 2012 to exchange iChat. iMessage is mainly an prompt messaging service that’s unique to all Apple merchandise: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac. You may ship textual content, pictures and video, paperwork, wealthy preview hyperlinks, stickers, and extra between each other. It’s also possible to see if a message is delivered, ship learn receipts (if you’d like), and all the things is encrypted. With iOS 16, you may even edit and unsend messages inside a sure timeframe.

iMessage can be used for sending textual content messages and multimedia messages to non-iMessage customers — aka Android telephones. Nevertheless, a lot of the iMessage performance you get with different iMessage customers is not possible for the reason that SMS/MMS protocol is older. However Android telephones have moved over to wealthy communication companies (RCS) for messages, and Google has repeatedly tried to disgrace and push Apple to open up iMessage to help it. Its newest efforts embrace getting regulators concerned.

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Although it feels prefer it’s solely Google and Android followers pushing for Apple to help RCS, as a diehard iPhone person, I actually would like to see RCS come to iPhone. Let me clarify why.

The inexperienced bubble of disgrace

iMessage showing a green chat with an Android user.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Tendencies

I contemplate myself a little bit of an introvert, and typically I simply discover group chats exhausting. I’m not consistently juggling a number of group chats on my iPhone 15 Professional, however I do have some group chats with my rapid household. My mother and brother use iPhones, however my sister makes use of an Android telephone. So, in our group chats, she’s the outlier with the inexperienced bubbles.

With an iMessage-only group chat, you’re in a position to go away for those who’re simply bored with the countless notifications and conversations. I usually get overwhelmed by the back-and-forth between my siblings, and I actually want I might simply take myself out of the chat. However since my sister makes use of an Android telephone, I’m unable to try this. I’ve completely muted notifications on that group dialog as a result of I don’t need to be bombarded day by day.

One other annoying side I’ve to take care of because of my sister not utilizing an iPhone is the truth that I can’t ship lengthy movies to everybody in a gaggle chat. I take a variety of images and movies of my daughter to share with household, and most occasions, I simply need to ship them via iMessage. But when I try this with a gaggle chat with my sister, it should find yourself compressed and pixelated to the purpose the place it’s just about unwatchable. It’s the identical when she sends movies of her canine. To keep away from this trouble, I simply ended up utilizing a kind of apps the place a number of individuals can add and look at images and movies as an alternative after I need to share my daughter’s antics.

These may be minor inconveniences, but it surely actually makes me want Apple would simply get on board with RCS.

What’s RCS, precisely?

Android smartphone showing Google RCS features.
Google

There’s a variety of historical past and context behind RCS and the way it’s (slowly) rising to develop into the usual alternative for SMS. With Google’s efforts with carriers to undertake RCS, the result’s “Chat,” which is a protocol based mostly on the RCS Common Profile. That is the worldwide commonplace for implementing RCS on completely different carriers and international locations that might let everybody talk with one another.

Chat is offered on two apps: Google’s Messages and Samsung Messages. Although that sounds limiting, most Android telephones include Google’s Messages app pre-installed. It’s mainly like iMessage, the place you may ship messages and high-resolution images and movies to one another. It additionally helps typing standing, learn receipts, supply standing, tapbacks, and extra. For these anxious about safety, Google has enabled end-to-end encryption for RCS messages, giving it a bonus over SMS.

It might not supply the entire options that Apple at present has for iMessage, similar to enhancing and unsending messages, but it surely has been evolving over time — simply at a slower tempo.

It’s time for Apple’s iMessage to open up

iMessage on an iPhone 14 Pro Max, plus iMessage on an Android phone using the Beeper app.
Joe Maring / Digital Tendencies

Although Google has made quite a few makes an attempt to push Apple in direction of adopting RCS, Apple has continued to simply go away Google on “learn” standing. Apple feels that the majority of its buyer base doesn’t care about RCS, and whereas that could be true, there are a few of us who really do care and need to see RCS adopted in iMessage.

Personally, the largest cause I would like RCS adoption is in order that I can ship high-resolution images and movies in my group chats with out having to depend on one other app or service. I additionally like understanding that my messages have been really delivered or that I get a response. It could even be nice if I might simply go away a gaggle chat if I needed to moderately than be compelled to remain in that chat like I’m now.

RCS, regardless of its gradual progress and adoption because the SMS alternative, has a variety of potential. I feel it might be wonderful to have carried out in iMessage, even when it was simply the power to ship high-res media. Why am I nonetheless seeing pixelated movies in 2023? Why is texting nonetheless so sophisticated? I wouldn’t must preserve asking these questions if Apple would simply swallow its delight and cease being so stingy with iMessage.

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