So, Google has been working with phone companies to roll out what it calls “Chat,” which is based on the RCS Universal Profile, allowing users across different carriers and countries to text each other without any feature gatekeeping. You’ll find the system active on most Android phones as they already have Google’s Messages app installed out of the box. It’s pretty much Android’s answer to iMessage with a whole bunch of features similar to your standalone messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
You can send messages with high-res photos, videos, and all that jazz. Plus, it has cool features like seeing when someone’s typing, read receipts, delivery status, and even those fun tapbacks for quickly responding to a message with an appropriate emoji reaction. Moreover, for folks worried about safety, Google has baked end-to-end encryption for RCS messages to the core, a big upgrade over the regular old SMS messages.
But RCS or not, iMessage will remain locked inside Apple’s walled garden. Apple has no official plans to bring iMessage to Android. However, sketchy hacks like the Sunbird app aim to replicate the iMessage experience on Android down to the blue bubble. Nothing is officially bringing the experience to the Phone (2), but we would suggest staying away from any third-party app that needs your Apple ID credentials to allow messaging for the sake of your own security.