• Millions of Japanese iPhone users have been sending text messages over RCS for years now.
  • This is thanks to the downloadable +Message app created by three major Japanese carriers.
  • Apple is set to add RCS support to their Messages app later this year, bringing RCS to millions of iOS users outside of Japan.

Among certain demographics, there’s a shocking stigma associated with anyone who texts from an Android phone. This is because text messages between Android phones and iPhones are sent via SMS messaging, which is not only insecure but also lacks many features that many iPhone users are accustomed to. To combat the green bubble stigma, Google has been pushing Apple to “get the message,” i.e., add support for RCS messaging, which it is finally doing later this year. While the vast majority of iPhone users will get their first taste of RCS messaging with the upcoming iOS 18 update, millions have already been (unknowingly) enjoying its capabilities.

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services, and many in the telecommunications industry consider it the successor to SMS/MMS. It’s an advanced messaging protocol that extends character limits, supports higher-quality media sharing, enables group messaging, and allows for read receipts to be shown, among other features. These are considered basic features for any modern messaging service, which explains why some iPhone users abhor texting Android users via SMS.