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Apple confirms RCS support in iOS 18

Apple device supporting RCS messages in iOS 18
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In November 2023, Apple announced its plans to support RCS messaging for iOS, set to roll out sometime in 2024. This news sparked excitement among tech enthusiasts and users alike, who have long awaited more seamless messaging experiences between iPhone and Android devices. But beyond the 2024 timeframe, details were scarce.

Until now.

During its WWDC24 keynote event on June 10, Apple revealed that its Messages app will support RCS in iOS 18. Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, confirmed this major update while introducing new iPhone features that will come when iOS 18 is available in the fall.

Screenshot showing Apple RCS messaging support in iOS 18 from WWDC24

Apple’s announcement at WWDC24 that iOS 18 will support RCS messaging. Image source: Apple WWDC24 keynote.

This announcement alone has made enthusiasts super excited for the future of customer experience. Let’s dive into why Apple’s official launch of RCS in iOS 18 is so compelling.

How Apple’s support of RCS in iOS 18 will impact A2P messaging

Officially, Apple has only said that RCS messaging will be available in iOS 18. This will mark a significant upgrade from the current SMS experience that happens when iPhone users message Android users. Currently, messages sent between these different operating systems often results in a suboptimal experience – that means that photos and videos are sent at a lower quality, message length is limited, and interactive features aren’t well supported. However, with the introduction of RCS in iOS 18, cross-platform messaging will receive a major boost, offering a more consistent and enhanced experience across devices.

Apple iOS preview with RCS messaging from apple.com

After its announcement, Apple added a “support for RCS messaging” section on its iOS 18 preview page that included a sneak peek of what RCS in iOS could look like. Image source: apple.com. 

But the real game-changer will come when RCS Business Messaging (RBM) for application-to-person (A2P) messaging also becomes available on Apple devices.

And this prospect is already on the horizon. Apple has committed to adding support for the RCS Universal Profile, the standard from the GSM Association that includes A2P messaging. Tim Atkinson, the EMEA Business Development Manager at Google, confirmed at the Mobile Ecosystem Forum Connects meeting in December 2023 that Apple would support Universal Profile 2.4, which supports RBM.  

This confirms that business messaging (A2P) features will eventually be supported by Apple. While we don’t have a confirmed timeline for when A2P RCS will be enabled, more information is expected to be released later this year.  

When Apple adopts RCS for business messaging, it could mean a range of powerful features for businesses, like:

  • Full enterprise profiles including a Business Information page 

  • Verified senders 

  • Read receipts  

  • Suggested reply buttons 

  • Multiple-choice carousels 

  • Ability to share location, send quick-dial buttons, and save-to-wallet functions 

  • ...and so much more.

Sinch is ready to support brands with RCS

Apple’s announcement that RCS messaging will be included in iOS 18 at WWDC24 has ignited excitement about the future, and this is just the beginning. We’ve already seen exponential growth in RCS business usage, and as the messaging standard becomes more widely available, we can only expect this to accelerate.

“RCS offers rich, interactive messaging experiences, and will allow businesses to engage with their customers in dynamic new ways. At Sinch, we’re ready for this transformation. With the best super network, built over 15 years, and strong partnerships with Google and mobile operators globally, we can’t wait to see how this new era of messaging will unfold.

For previous versions of iOS, we have seen over 50% of all iPhones having the newest iOS version by winter, with that number increasing to 80% by the subsequent summer. If the adoption speed of iOS 18 matches that of previous iOS versions, this would translate to over one billion additional RCS users by summer 2025 thanks to Apple coming onboard.”

- Robert Gerstmann, Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder at Sinch

At Sinch, our expertise lies in our global super network, our strong, direct relationships with mobile operators, and our in-house experts focused on helping brands build their RCS branded messages strategies. Our strong partnership with Google and experience implementing RCS for the likes of Picard and EasyPark means we’re in an ideal position to continue helping brands create engaging experiences for their customers.  

Plus, we offer a full-stack solution with APIs and in SaaS applications where RCS is available, ensuring that businesses can tap into RCS’ full potential almost immediately.  

We’re not just ready for RCS to be available on all devices – we're actively driving that change. Our platform is fully equipped to handle the demands of RCS, providing businesses with the tools and support needed to take advantage of it.

Ready to jump on the RCS bandwagon? Get in touch with our team or download our comprehensive RCS guide that will walk you through how to make the case to bring RCS into your organization.

How to make a compelling business case for RCS CTA

Curious about Apple's other big news from WWDC24? Learn about the major Mail app revamp in iOS 18 and its impact on email deliverability.