Apple to support RCS in 2024: Everything we know so far

Apple announced it will support RCS on iOS devices. Find out all you need to know about this new development and what it could mean for the future of messaging.

Apple shocked the messaging world by announcing plans to support Rich Communication Services (RCS) on their devices. Let’s dive right into everything we know about this development, why it’s happening, and what it could mean for business messaging. 

Will Apple devices support RCS?

In short, yes. Apple will enable RCS messaging, meaning Android and Apple users can enjoy rich messaging features and seamless communication between their devices.

This news promises to resolve several user challenges. Although iMessage will remain the preferred channel for messaging between Apple users, the adoption of RCS means non-iOS users can finally enjoy rich messaging perks when communicating with Apple users. This could mean the debate over whether blue message bubbles are better than green might be coming to an end. 

When will Apple support RCS messaging?

Apple has said they will add support for RCS later in 2024. Media outlets are speculating that Apple support for RCS will start in the Fall of 2024 – although no official date has been set by Apple.

This leads some people to believe that they could be waiting for the iOS 18 update to include RCS, but the official position of Apple remains as “later in 2024” as seen in their statement with the Verge:

Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.

Why are Apple choosing to support RCS? 

The motivations behind Apple’s decision to support RCS haven’t been officially disclosed. However, there are a few key factors that could have influenced their decision: 

EU regulations

In 2022, the EU approved the Digital Markets Act, which requires tech companies like Apple to ensure that basic features in their instant messaging services can work together by 2024. That would mean that iMessage and the App Store would have to become available to everyone. Failure to adhere to these rules could result in fines of up to 20% of their total revenue, which is a pretty good reason to consider support for RCS.

RCS gaining popularity

As rich messaging becomes a standard for everyday communication, the usage of RCS is expected to grow. There were 1.2 billion RCS users in 2022 and Juniper Research estimated that by 2026 there would be 3.8 billion users. That would make up 40% of the world’s smartphone users. But when you add the potential of all iOS users having access to RCS, these numbers are likely to skyrocket, making RCS a major contender in the messaging ecosystem.

Enhancing user experience

To date, rich messaging between Android and Apple users could be the cause of frustration. When an iOS user sends an image message to an Android user, it is delivered as an MMS. However, MMS may not be covered by their regular data plan, leading to additional charges.

Enabling RCS means that there will finally be seamless communication between Apple and Android users. For carriers, this transition might lead to a decrease in P2P MMS revenue, possibly prompting them to consider the adoption of RCS to create an additional revenue stream. 

With this move, Apple made a strong „statement“ that it will move to proactive participation in the whole RCS ecosystem, which means it will become, jointly with Google and Telcos, a key driver of the RCS expansion . We can expect a much faster adoption and expansion of reach and functionalities. Telcos, under the umbrella of GSMA, will remain a key stabilizing factor to put equality on a scale between Telcos and Apple / Google to ensure:

1. end users get the best possible native service experience across operating systems,
2. complying to the highest European privacy and security standards and
3. following the European Commission’s path to a fairer and more contestable digital economy, as outlined in the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Putting all of the stated to context implies more innovation and upgrades (group chats, media and other rich features) in upcoming time and, potentially, the expansion into A2P messaging (RBM). 

Deutsche Telekom

What does this mean for RCS Business Messaging?

Apple enabling RCS might not directly impact RCS Business Messaging (RBM) as of yet. For now, Apple’s adoption of RCS appears to focus on P2P messaging, but this announcement will definitely bring RCS into focus for brands and customers and will boost the visibility of the channel overall. 

As an Android-only channel, RBM saw consistent growth year-over-year on the Infobip platform. 


increase in RBM usage from 2021 to 2022 on the Infobip platform

Customers clearly want richer A2P communication, and many businesses are opting for WhatsApp Business Platform for its out-of-the-box compatibility with both Apple and Android users, and rich messaging features.  

Enabling RBM on Apple devices could mean that more and more telco companies will start enabling RCS since it would reach Apple and Android users, meaning its reach could be as wide as SMS and WhatsApp.  

This would mean that RBM would be a native channel on all Android and Apple phones with the potential for massive reach, and messaging features similar to WhatsApp and other OTT channels. 

How secure is RBM?

Secure business messaging is crucial as fraud scams are currently on the rise. RCS is regulated by Mobile Network Operators who must give approval for enterprises to send messages. These rigorous measures manage brand verification and anti-SPAM rules, making RBM a preferred solution for trusted brands and businesses seeking secure and reliable communication channels with their customers.

[Juniper Research Future Digital Awards 2021]

Best CPaaS provider of the year.
Best RCS provider of the year.
Mover & shaker in telco innovation.

That’s the Infobip advantage.

A snapshot of RCS Business Messages

RCS Business Messaging is considered the next step in the evolution of SMS. It’s used for both P2P and A2P communication and combines the reach of SMS through MNOs with rich-messaging features for elevated customer experiences.

RCS Business Message features 

  • Verified sender status 
  • Custom branded messages 
  • Rich media: text, images, GIFs, audio, video, documents, location  
  • Carousels 
  • Suggested actions to messages (quick replies) 

How does RCS Business Messaging compare to SMS and Apple Messages for Business?

All three channels are popular for their own reasons and can help businesses achieve certain goals around their business messaging. Let’s take a closer look at RCS vs SMS for business messaging and compare these channels to Apple Messages for Business (AMB). 

Available on all devices?YesAndroid, soon on iOS devices Only iOS devices 
Type of messaging P2P, A2P, P2A P2P, A2P, P2A P2P, P2A 
Rich media NoYesYes
Branding NoYesYes
Character limit 160160+160+
File sharing NoYesYes
Internet connection NoYesYes

Infobip has a history of helping brands benefit from using RCS Business Messaging:

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