In minutes, you can have RCS enabled on your Android phone

In minutes, you can have RCS enabled on your Android phone
Those state-side Android users hoping that Google would perform the same end around the U.S. carriers that it did in Europe with Rich Communication Service (RCS) might have been disappointed recently. All four major carriers in the states announced on Thursday that they were getting together to create the Cross Carrier Messaging Initiative (CCMI) which will use RCS to take consumers and businesses to the next generation of messaging.

First, let's discuss what RCS is. Unlike SMS (short message service) or text, RCS uses a data connection instead of a cellular connection to send and receive messages. This means that messages can be sent and received via Wi-Fi. With RCS, users can send messages as long as 8,000 characters instead of the 160 character limit that SMS/text has. In addition, higher quality photos and video files can be sent, users will get a read receipt when their text is read, and group messages with up to 100 participants can take place. While RCS messages are encrypted from the sender en route to the recipient, law enforcement can obtain a copy of them. Drew Rowny, Google's product lead for Android Messages says, "From a data retention point of view, we delete the message from our RCS backend service the moment we deliver it to an end-user. If we keep it, it’s just to deliver it when that person comes online."

In the U.K. and France, Google simply allowed Android users to opt-in to its RCS Chat service. Now suppose we told you that some clever Redditors found a way for U.S. Android users to enable RCS on their Android phone in minutes? We tried this on our Pixel 2 XL running Android 10 and while there were some verification problems at first, we are happy to report that the device is now RCS enabled.

Here are the instructions showing you how to enable RCS on your Android phone


So here are the instructions that will allow you too to join the club. This has been working across all major U.S. carriers, so you might want to give it a try. First things first, you need to have the latest beta version of the Android Messages app. You can opt-in to beta test the app from this link. You also need to install the third-party Activity Launcher app from the Google Play Store. You can do that right here. Disable Wi-Fi. This must be done using a cellular connection.

Now open the Activity Launcher app. At the top of the screen is a drop-down menu; tap on it and select "All activities." Scroll down to Messages and tap on it. From the sub-menu, select "Set RCS Flags." A new screen will open. Tap on the drop-down menu titled "ACS Url" and select "http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com" and tap on Apply.

OK, you're doing fine. Now force stop the Android Messages app. You can do this in Android 10 by going to Settings > Apps & notifications > See all apps > Messages > Force stop. Now reopen Messages and you should see a banner on the bottom of the screen telling you some of the features of RCS with a couple of prompts. Obviously, you'll tap on "Update now." Follow the directions on the screen and wait.


After three minutes, you can check to see if everything went through smoothly by opening the Messages app, tapping the three-dot overflow menu in the upper right corner, and tapping on Settings > Chat features. If everything is ready to go, you'll see the word connected in green next to Status. This is where we originally ran into trouble as our phone number apparently could not be verified. But you can try some of the troubleshooting steps below which did get us connected eventually.


Clear the data on the Carrier services app and Force stop the Android Messages app once again. Then repeat the same steps up to and including tapping Set RCS Flags" on the Activity Launcher app. This time, select OTP Pattern, and in the menu click, 'Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6}).' Open up the Messages app and remember to wait three minutes.

We had to run through the process about three times before we were connected. And before you go through this process, remember that the features available with RCS Messaging will only work when you are messaging someone else with RCS enabled. Right now, that doesn't amount to a heck of a lot of people in the states.

FEATURED VIDEO

32 Comments

1. maherk

Posts: 7007; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Does this work for Android phones outside of Europe and the US? Or is it exclusive for these two regions only?

11. el_sur

Posts: 12; Member since: Sep 23, 2014

I got it working on Telcel In México

26. eodihiri

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 27, 2019

It's working over here outside us

31. applesnapple93

Posts: 333; Member since: Jan 06, 2016

Worked for me. Pixel 3a XL (Sprint model) on Verizon postpaid. Had to enroll in Messages (Beta) though. Doesnt matter if your on Wifi or not

2. kevv2288

Posts: 308; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

Worked for me after turning off WiFi and using cellular! On VZW prepaid Galaxy S10e

23. libra89

Posts: 2312; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Thank you for sharing this! I have the same setup (but unlocked S10e). So I'm guessing that I have to give up Samsung messages for this to work? I'll give it a try then.

3. kevv2288

Posts: 308; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

I don't get why it's not enabled by default. I've been on VZW prepaid with this phone since July and it always said my carrier does not support it, but apparently they do if it works after doing this.

4. Derekjeter

Posts: 1552; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I don’t get why they couldn’t fully encrypt the messages on outgoing and incoming.

5. xDrizzyXx

Posts: 66; Member since: Jun 28, 2011

It worked on the Note 9 with Verizon for me & my wife. Thank you so much

6. Landon

Posts: 1247; Member since: May 07, 2015

Did you have to do anything on the carrier services app or did it work for you right away? I'm on Verizon too but with a Note 10.

7. xDrizzyXx

Posts: 66; Member since: Jun 28, 2011

I cleared data on "CarrierDefaultApp". I did both steps in the tutorial, I had to force close the messages app after the 2nd step as well, that's when it finally worked.

8. Brandonbaker505

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 26, 2019

Anyone try this while using Google Fi? I'm trying with Pixel 4 XL and I'm not able to get OPT Patten to apply and save changes.

9. sleepy52

Posts: 2; Member since: Feb 20, 2018

Verizon post paid note 9 About once out of 3 tries I get the advanced menu but when I go back I in I get the you carrier does not allow. Guess I'm waiting till Samsung adds it.

10. PHYCLOPSH

Posts: 654; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

I had to go though the steps several times, and it wasn't working no matter what I tried. I couldn't figure out why. Then I realized probably needed to disable my VPN filter, which was partially blocking my data connection. Disabled VPN. Good. After trying the steps again it eventually said "maximum connection attempts, try again tomorrow" and then to my surprise it connected! My phone is an LG V35 on AT&T

12. mccalmrl01

Posts: 13; Member since: Feb 14, 2019

Have anyone message an iPhone user with RCS enabled? I heard that your text messages shows up as a darker blue instead of green.

24. Blazers

Posts: 764; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

It will still show up green.

13. saddameu

Posts: 29; Member since: Mar 26, 2017

fbi approves this surveillance system

15. Tronic86

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 27, 2019

I don't have the option to "Set RCS Flags." Has anyone else ran into this issue? Using unlocked galaxy s10 on Att.

17. Plutonium239

Posts: 1239; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I'll wait until my carrier pushes through an update. Also, every night since I bought my note 10 plus,it has restarted overnight for an update,what is the deal with that?

33. thedizzle

Posts: 201; Member since: Oct 05, 2017

Think you have the auto update option ticked.

18. NokiaDrew

Posts: 4; Member since: Aug 24, 2012

I can confirm it does not work for phones on Bell Mobility in Canada

22. palmguy

Posts: 986; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

I finally got it to work. Yay.

25. Sakeem

Posts: 865; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

I got it working on my wife's and my Pixel phones.

27. avenuePad

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 27, 2019

This does not work for Telus in Canada. You can enable RCS for a few minutes, but then it gets disabled immediately.

28. smacsteve

Posts: 87; Member since: May 16, 2012

I've gone over these instructions with a fine toothed comb and it says "Connected" and working, but there's no notification of the opposing side typing. This is only going to work if everyone does this and is using Google Messages. This is futile to say the least.

29. cheetah2k

Posts: 2294; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Tried to set it up here on Vodafone in Australia. but says "Chat services unavailable for this device. Your Operator does not currently support this feature"..

30. spasticpat

Posts: 111; Member since: Dec 18, 2012

Mine initially failed on Pixel 4 XL but when I went to Settings > Chat Features it was stuck on Setting Up. So I went back into Activity Manager and set the OTP Pattern and that got it working. But seriously, if it's this easy for us to set this up, Google should be able to just push out an update to Messages to enable this for everyone. I hate that they're waiting on carriers to allow it or whatever.

32. Alcyone

Posts: 544; Member since: May 10, 2018

T Mobile here with unlocked g965u1. Not registering.

34. Alcyone

Posts: 544; Member since: May 10, 2018

Got it finally. No need to clear carrier data, messages ask to be default. I just hit yes, however optimization is turned off. Just force close, then enter number when opened and it immediately connected. No wait for me.

35. ev0trix

Posts: 30; Member since: Sep 08, 2015

Doesnt work for me.. (Samsung S10e unlocked with verizon). followed all the steps to the T. Is there a certain Messages version i need? Using 5.2.050

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.