It’s happening; iOS 18 will bring RCS support to the iPhone, the one feature that some Android users have been dying to get. Well, they wouldn’t get anything other than the ability to enjoy somewhat richer texting experiences with family and friends who own iPhones.

However, this isn’t Google’s version of RCS. It’s the carrier standard, so don’t expect the same feature compatibility. One big difference will be the lack of end-to-end encryption for RCS messages between iPhone and Android.

That said, you might be able to test RCS on iPhone right now, several months before Apple rolls out the first stable version of iOS 18, assuming the stars are aligned in a particular order.

A few days ago, we saw that some intrepid iPhone users forcefully enabled RCS support on devices running iOS 18 beta 1. Apple had not turned on the feature, but the finding suggested that RCS support will come to the iPhone at some point during iOS 18 beta testing.

Fast-forward to Monday, and Apple released iOS 18 beta 2, just as it said it would. The new release comes just two weeks after the WWDC 2024 main keynote where Apple confirmed RCS support is coming to the iMessage experience.

iOS 18 beta 2 brings a couple of exciting features besides RCS that you might be able to try again, assuming certain conditions are met. iPhone Mirroring lets you use your iPhone from your Mac, assuming the latter runs macOS Sequoia beta 2 and that you’re not based in the European Union.

Then there’s the new SharePlay Screen Sharing feature, which lets you control someone’s iPhone screen remotely. Both of you will need to have iOS 18 beta 2 installed and reside outside of the EU.

RCS texting is now available on iPhone in iOS 18 beta 2… sort of
iOS 18: RCS support. Image source: Apple Inc.

Apple also quietly turned on the support for RCS messaging. It’s a toggle you have to enable in the Settings app in the Messages section. The toggle reads RCS Messaging. The fact that you can turn it on and off indicates that it’s not just up to Apple to make RCS messaging happen on iPhone. Users will have the final say in the matter.

The problem is not all iPhone users who have upgraded to iOS 18 beta 2 get the new RCS Messaging feature. I’m one of those who doesn’t have the new setting on my iPhone 14 Pro. I installed the iOS 18 beta as soon as it became available, but it’s up to my carrier to enable RCS messaging support. I assume I’ll get the feature at some point down the road, not that I’ll text anyone via RCS anytime soon.

Most people I chat with use WhatsApp in Europe, and that’s my main instant messaging app. Things aren’t likely to change after iOS 18 rolls out.

It’s not just in Europe. As 9to5Mac says, not all US carriers have enabled RCS messaging support for iPhone. AT&T and T-Mobile support RCS messaging on iPhone. If you’re using either company, you might try to use RCS texting right now.

If you’re wondering how stable iOS 18 beta 2 is, I’ll tell you the first beta was incredibly polished. You’d have no problem using the second release on a daily driver. If you want to wait for the iOS 18 public beta 1 before testing RCS messaging, it’ll probably be available in a few weeks.

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