How to enable RCS messaging on Android in unsupported countries

After years of delays, Google is finally rolling out RCS messaging for Android users. The messaging feature will make texting a lot better on Android phones, something at par with Apple’s iMessage. Google is slowly rolling out the new service, and it may take some time before you actually get your hands on it. However, if you can’t wait anymore for the service and want to try it now, there is a trick to enable RCS in unsupported countries.

enable RCS in unsupported countries

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RCS messaging: what is it?

RCS is seen as a major upgrade to the stock Messages app in Android. This new service offers several features that iPhone users have long been enjoying in iMessages, such as read receipts, exiting group chats and more. RCS is meant to replace SMS, which is now over 25 years old.

“To make your conversations more seamless, we’ve worked on upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features, powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services),” Sanaz Ahari, Google’s Product Management Director, said in a blog post.

Some of the primary features of the RCS messaging are: read receipts, typing indicators, chat over Wi-Fi, sending and receiving high-resolution photos and videos, group chat naming, and adding and removing people from group chats.

One feature missing is the end-to-end encryption. Yes, the messages that you will send through RCS won’t be as secure as they are on WhatsApp, iMessage and more. One major reason for no end-to-end encryption could be because RCS was developed to replace SMS, which also was never encrypted.

Nevertheless, RCS still is a welcome feature for Android users, who should start using it as soon as they get it.

A slow roll-out

Google has been working on the RCS initiative since 2016. For the search giant, rolling out the RCS service has been a bigger problem than developing it. Owing to the complexity and the scale of the Android ecosystem, Google had to make its way through the carriers and device partners.

Thus, Google had to take full charge of the RCS rollout, rather than relying on the carriers. This is an unusual step for the company, considering how dependent it is on its ecosystem of partners. Google took the same way to rollout the service in the UK and France. However, the company says that it is in close contact with the carriers, which are also in favor of RCS.

Possibly owing to these complexities, Google is doing a slow rollout of the feature. Only about 1% of the Android users reportedly got the feature on launch day, last week. The feature would reach most Android users in the U.S. by the year end.

Thus, it seems that users in other countries will have to wait longer to use this new service. However, you can enable RCS in unsupported countries even now using a trick. This trick to enable RCS in unsupported countries is not easy to implement, and involves a bit of work from the user’s side.

Moreover, there are chances that you may not succeed in one go. So, you will have to keep trying. Once you get the trick right, the service would work the same as in any other official country and on supported carriers.

How to enable RCS in unsupported countries

Follow the below steps to enable RCS in unsupported countries:

  1. Ensure that you have the latest beta version of the Google Messages app.
  2. Use the Play Store to download the Activity Launcher app.
  3. Go to the System Settings on the phone and then to the apps. Now, look for the “carrier services” app. Once you get it, clear the storage data for that app.
  4. Make sure that the Messages (beta) app is not running in the background. You can force close the app.
  5. Launch the Activity Launcher app. Now tap on “Recent Activities” at the top and then select “All Activities.” Next, scroll down to the Messages app and tap it to get more options. From the options you get, select “Set RCS Flags.”
  6. Go to the “ACS Url” section and select ‘”http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox google.com/.”
  7. From the “OTP Pattern” section, select the only option available under it.
  8. Click on Apply.

Now, go to the home screen and open the Messages app again. Hopefully, you will now see an RCS setup rather than the usual Message app interface.

If you didn’t have success in the first attempt, then you should try again. This trick has worked on different Android versions, different Android phones and different regions as well. Users have successfully used this trick in the U.S., Canada and several European countries.

A few users have reported issues with the trick as well, but most are related to the dual-SIM phones. For now, there is no workaround for users with dual-SIM phones, and for other users, as long as your phone supports the Messages Beta, this trick should work for you.

You can refer to the below video as well:



About the Author

Aman Jain
Aman is MBA (Finance) with an experience on both Marketing and Finance side. He has worked as a Risk Analyst for AIR Worldwide, and is currently leading VeRa FinServ, a Financial Research firm. Favorite pastimes include watching science fiction movies, reviewing tech gadgets, playing PC games and cricket. - Email him at amanjain@valuewalk.com