Two years ago, Google introduced RCS chat (Rich Communication Services), which encrypts messages between Android devices in the inbuilt Google Messages app, the app that’s also used for SMS on most Android phones (though Samsung phones also come with Samsung’s version, which has RCS compatibility as well). Now, as reported by ZD Net, RCS chat is enabled by default, without the user needing to check a box in the settings.
Before RCS chat was introduced, the company had left support for end-to-end encryption up to carriers who supported the RCS protocol. Now, it’s a standard Android feature that’s enabled by default, much like how iMessage messages between Apple devices are automatically encrypted as well.
The RCS chat feature was originally quite barebones, and it would take until December 2022 for Google to start encrypting group chats with RCS.
To see if it’s turned on for you, go into your Google Messages settings. You can access this by tapping the account icon in the top right when the app is open, then tap ‘Settings’, then ‘RCS chats’. then ‘Turn on RCS chats’ should be enabled. Users can also disable read receipts and typing indicators in this settings menu, although bear in mind these encrypted messages and chat settings won’t apply if texting an iPhone.
You’ll know RCS is enabled if the phrase ‘RCS chat with [receiver’s name]’ is written above the text box in a message.
This article has been updated since it was originally published.
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