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Apple may not support RCS messaging with end-to-end encryption on iPhone

Although RCS Universal Profile support will enable interoperability with Android Messages app, but Apple would not offer end-to-end encryption between RCS messaging on iPhones and Android

RCS messaging on iPhone (Source: Apple)

RCS messaging on iPhone (Source: Apple)

Harsh Shivam New Delhi

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Apple has confirmed the availability of RCS messaging (Rich Communication Services) on iPhones with iOS 18. However, the US-based technology giant has not confirmed which version of the RCS Universal Profile would be implemented. A report by Android Authority stated that Universal Profile 2.4 RCS standard will be the one implemented on iPhones.

According to the report, a document by Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA), an organisation that represents mobile network operators globally, has landed credence to Apple for supporting RCS Universal Profile 2.4. Another document named “Messaging in the 5G era” from the GSMA stated that regulatory requirements in China will require all 5G user devices to support the Universal Profile 2.4 RCS standard.

Based on these reports, it is easy to assume that Apple’s decision to support RCS messaging on iPhones was based on regulatory requirements in China, in addition to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU.

Last year, in a statement to 9To5Mac, Apple said, “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.”

Even during the WWDC 2024, where Apple announced that RCS messaging support will be coming to iPhones with iOS 18, the company did not reveal much about what RCS support in the iOS Messages app will actually look like. Although supporting the RCS Universal Profile will allow interoperability with Android and other platforms, some features such as end-to-end encryption are not part of the requirement for RSC Universal Profile. This suggests that Apple would not add support for end-to-end encrypted messaging with Android users using Google Messages and keep it exclusive to its iMessage. 

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First Published: Jun 11 2024 | 3:32 PM IST

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