Google has been busy as of late, advancing its users past the decades-old protocol of SMS. The new universal option that the company is trying to bring to light is Rich Communication Servies, or RCS.

What’s it do?

We first outlined what RCS does and what Google’s intentions were in post back in November 2019. In short, the RCS protocol gives Android Message users the opportunity for more data packed messages between chats. Think “iMessage for Android”.

The fallback is still going to be SMS, but if both parties have RCS, they can share larger groups, videos, and pictures in conversations.

How to turn it on

To be sure, the road has been long and there are still caveats with a rolling release. What’s more, you have to use Android Messages as your client. Getting your phone to take advantage of RCS is just a few menu clicks away after you verify Android Messages is installed.

Let’s do it!

  • Open Android Messages from the application tray
  • If you’ve never used Messages you may get prompted to immediately turn on Chat (RCS)
  • Otherwise, select the hamburger menu in the top right and go to¬†Settings
  • Tap Chat features
  • Make sure status is Connected and Enable chat features is toggled to ON

Chat Away

It’s worth noting that this new RCS option is dependent on multiple variables. So far, there’s no apparent list or reasoning as to which devices are capable of RCS Chat and which are not.

Also, it can also take up to 30 minutes for the Messages app to show Connected.

We do know that most Pixel phones seem to be enabled as do many Samsung phones. I can also verify that Essential phones seem to have the option’s server-side switch to show Chat enabling. Unfortunately, my BlackBerry Key2 LE has yet to present me with the ability to turn on Chat.

Google has voiced that it is actively working to push support to more devices. For those that already have the ability, we hope this tutorial helps you expand your Chat options with your friends and family.

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