Here's how to install and try RCS, the messenger of the future on Android

Google has pushed operators to switch to RCS for some time and has begun deploying the new protocol via the Android Messages app, but has so far extended this option only to the UK and France. Unfortunately this feature is not available on all Android smartphones. It is possible that if you open Messages, and you go in the settings to activate the chat features, a message tells you that they are not yet available from your operator. I tested with Free, it works.

However, if you do not have access, there is now a way for everyone to try.

You will need two applications to get started: Activity Launcher and the latest beta version of Android Messages (currently version 5.2). You will need to sign up for the open beta test program before you can download the app.

Once you have downloaded the applications, follow the steps below.

  • Disable Wi-Fi to use mobile data
  • Select the Android Messages or Messages app in the Play Store
  • Click on the app and on the screen go down to "Join the beta program"
  • Go to another page of the Play Store and then return to Messages to launch an update
  • Restart your smartphone
  • Launch Activity Launcher
  • Tap on "Recent Activities" from the drop-down menu and choose "All Activities"
  • Scroll down and press 'Set RCS flags'
  • Set the ACS URL to 'http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com/'
  • Follow the installation in Android Messages. It will take about three minutes. If it does not work, keep reading
  • Erase the data from "Operator Services" and force the shutdown of Android Messages
  • Repeat steps 1 to 4.
  • Set the OTP template to 'Your sMessenger sverification scode sis sG – ( d {6})'.
  • Tap on "Apply".
  • Go to Settings> Applications> Google Messages
  • Force stop the application
  • Open Messages again

You should then see a home screen informing you that "the messages have just improved". Tap "OK" and wait for a moment until the installation is complete.

Watch this tutorial

RCS: richer than SMS but not encrypted

As a reminder, the RCS protocol is more like something like WhatsApp than traditional text messaging, allowing you to share files, send your live location, and share information from Google Assistant (like details movies, restaurants and weather reports). However, unlike WhatsApp, messages sent via RCS are not encrypted (nor SMS, for that matter). RCS messages will be sent using your mobile data quota, so do not forget that when you share media. However, it is important to keep in mind that if the recipient of the message does not have a RCS, the message will be sent by SMS instead.

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