Apple’s iOS 18 update adds RCS to iMessage

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"iOS Update"

Apple’s forthcoming update to iOS 18, reportedly adding Rich Communication Services (RCS) to iMessage, is causing a flurry of excitement within the tech communities. Deemed as the most significant iMessage update, RCS promises to revolutionise user communication through better quality imaging, enhanced group chats and interactive interfaces.

A step above SMS, RCS is currently the default protocol for Google Messages, similar to iMessage for Android. However, it’s essential to note that RCS on iPhone won’t provide end-to-end encryption, unlike Android, which sparks concerns over user privacy.

The concern lies in the fact that Apple and Google have not had any discussions on extending iMessage’s end-to-end encryption to Google’s messaging application.

Exploring iOS 18’s RCS integration in iMessage

This may be a determining factor for those prioritising secure communication.

Despite privacy concerns, iPhone users in Japan have been using RCS via the +Message app. The app, conforming to the global GSMA’s RCS standards, enhances text messaging with features like read receipts, higher resolution imaging and indicator typing. This early adoption may pave the way for broader acceptance of RCS-based applications.

The overall market reception for RCS might have been hindered by the robust security features of competetive applications like Line, with its intuitive user interface and wide range of services, from messaging to digital content and entertainment. Yet, with continuous innovation, there is hope and expectation for RCS-based apps like +Message to gain stronger market presence in the future.

While iOS 18 with RCS integration offers a glimpse of the future, the absence of end-to-end encryption and the prevalence of tried-and-tested applications like Line may slow down widespread adoption. This is another challenging episode for tech giants like Apple and Google, as they continue to shape the evolving face of digital communication.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.