Last week, the world watched as Apple announced its latest phones. Silly, though no less intriguing, Dynamic Island is, the iPhone 14 series doesn’t solve one of the biggest problems with modern smartphones: messaging. A day after Apple’s keynote, Tim Cook took the stage at Vox’s Code Conference, confirming the company’s position on RCS: It’s not interested, and if you want to send your mom high-res videos, you better buy her — or yourself — an iPhone.
After months of increasingly desperate pleas from Google, it confirms the state of cross-platform messaging as a disastrous mess in the US. Cook’s comments are a spit in the face, not just for Android users, but for any iPhone user who wants to text their friends without worrying about blue and green bubbles. That’s why it’s finally time to get your friends and family to leave their blue bubble group chats and move to a third-party chat platform.
Let me say this up front: this issue is definitely a US central issue. I am fully aware that iMessage has virtually no stake in most of the rest of the world. It’s a problem that started more than a decade ago when US carriers texted for free while other countries charged extra fees, creating the conditions for services like WhatsApp to become hugely popular while being a minuscule player in the US. stayed. Unfortunately I live in the US so this battle is all I know. For those fellow readers from the US – Android and iPhone users alike – it’s time to team up and follow the rest of the world. If persuading Apple to use RCS doesn’t work, convince your friends to download a new app.
Don’t get me wrong – this is going to be an uphill battle. iPhones are immensely popular in the US and that user base is only growing. iMessage isn’t just a crucial lock-in feature – it’s also a way to persuade people to move away from Android. Tim Cook said it himself on stage this week: if you’re tired of receiving or sending low-resolution videos, if you’re tired of group chats breaking down, if you’re tired of a “green bubble To be called Apple’s solution is for you to buy an iPhone.
And I hear you. You’ve been through this before. You tried it in 2012 when you persuaded your family to jump on Hangouts. You tried again in 2016 and convinced some of your friends to download Allo from the App Store. You called them both the future of messaging. And in both cases you were wrong.
Now that Google seems to be sticking with a messaging service — and a decent one, too — it’s disappointing to throw in the towel. RCS isn’t perfect, but it’s so close to the “iMessage for Android” that people have been begging for years. It works with your phone number, it supports almost any Android device, and it’s pretty much automatic. But outside of the US, nobody really cares about RCS. And to matter even in the US, RCS needs Apple to adopt it. Otherwise, we’ll face the same problems we’ve been dealing with for ten years: broken group chats and a lack of modern messaging features. Without some form of forceful action — be it from the government or carriers — Apple won’t be adding RCS support to iMessage for the foreseeable future.
So it’s time to give up on the dream and give one last push for your friends and family to switch to a cross-platform chat service. Fortunately, countless messaging apps are widely available in both app stores. If you don’t mind using Meta products, Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram are there. Your mom is probably on Facebook anyway, so persuading her to text you on Messenger won’t take much effort. Don’t want to give Meta access to your life? Log in to Signal. I’ve been using it for a few of my group chats for the past few months and it’s great. It’s so simple that anyone can learn to use it, even those who haven’t used anything but iMessage since the days of shifting QWERTY keyboards. Have your friends jump on Discord or Telegram. All of these platforms are accessible on iOS and Android and can also be synced with web-based or desktop clients. Crucially, they’re established – unlike Hangouts and Allo, they’re not going anywhere.
It’s hard work. It’s annoying. You will basically have to harass and convince the people closest to you in your life, all in an attempt to solve a problem that we have little to no control over. But that’s about it – we can make these changes in our social circles by begging our friends and family to download one last messaging app. And the timing is perfect. More than ever, iPhone users seem aware of the problems messaging Android users and may be willing to change their habits to avoid future headaches. If there’s one benefit to Google’s ongoing campaign, this is it.
So, one last time. Apologize to your loved ones for trying Allo all those years ago — frankly, they deserve that apology (Allology?) — and promise them this will be your last call. No future apps, no Google announcements. Jump on WhatsApp, Signal or any other application of your choice and leave the green bubble conversation in the past. We all get better for it.