RCS messaging is finally coming to Android smartphones in the United States after a trial in some other countries. If you want to get in on the action, here’s what you’ll need to do to enable RCS messaging on Android.

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Note: Google’s RCS rollout in the United States started on November 14th but won’t be completed until the end of 2019.

How to enable RCS on Android

  1. Download Google Messages
  2. Set Google Messages as your default SMS app
  3. Enable Chat Features

Download Google Messages

While the carriers will have their own app at some point in the future, you can get RCS messaging right now using your carrier number with the Google Messages app for Android. On many current smartphones including Google’s Pixel lineup as well as Motorola and LG devices too. If the app isn’t pre-installed on your device, though, you’ll need to download Google Messages¬†from the Play Store.

Set Google Messages as your default SMS app

Once Google Messages is installed, you’ll need to set it as your default SMS app if you haven’t already. If the app was pre-installed, it probably already is your default SMS app and you can skip this step entirely.

If the app wasn’t pre-installed, upon opening it you should get a prompt to set the app as your default SMS app. It looks like this:

Enable RCS features on Google Messages for Android

Finally, what we’re all here for. If you want to enable RCS on your Android smartphone using Google’s method, you can do so by tapping on a pop-up message when you open the app. This pop-up, seen below, will start the process of preparing RCS features on your device.

That message will say “New! See when friends are typing” or “Messages just got better.” In either case, there’s a big blue button that says “Agree” or “Upgrade Now.” Tapping that button will start the process of enabling RCS features. After a few minutes, going to Settings > Chat Features within Google Messages will tell you whether or not you’re connected to Google’s servers.

If you’re texting another user with RCS messaging enabled, the text field will show “Chat Message” instead of “Text message.”

google messages android rcs enable

Keep in mind, though, that this process will only work once the RCS rollout has arrived on your Android smartphone. Google says that the rollout should be completed by the end of 2019 for Android users in the United States.

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