Want RCS chat on your phone right now? Here’s how to enable it

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It wasn’t too long ago that Google enabled RCS Chat on Android phones in some European countries, and now it seems ready to flip the switch in a number of other countries as well.

A rather astute user on Reddit figured out that enabling RCS on Android devices is just a few clicks away, and it has us wondering why it’s this easy when U.S. carriers can’t seem just flip the switch already.

Enabling RCS on your phone isn’t all that different from how it worked when Google flipped the switch for European users, but it involves just a few additional steps.

  • First, make sure you’re using the beta version of the Google Messages app. Open this link on your phone, scroll down, and hit “join beta” on the listing. Update your app and make sure it says “Messages (beta)” before continuing.
  • Download the Activity Launcher app on the Play Store
  • Navigate to system settings on your phone, apps, find the “carrier services” app (make sure system apps are shown), and then clear storage data on that app
  • Force stop the Messages (beta) app to make sure it’s not running in the background
  • Open up the Activity Launcher app you downloaded earlier. Tap “Recent Activities” at the top and then select “All Activities”. Scroll down the list until you find the Messages app and click it to expand the options. Select “Set RCS Flags”.
  • Under the “ACS Url” section, select ‘”http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox google.com/.”
  • Under the “OTP Pattern” section, select the only option available.
  • Click Apply, then go back home and open Messages again. You should now be greeted by an RCS chat setup that’s similar to the guide we published back in July.

It will probably take a few minutes, but once it’s done you’re all set and ready to chat. Not sure who to use this new feature on? Feel free to share it with everyone you know that has an Android phone and get them on board too. RCS enables a slew of new features that SMS and MMS never had, including realtime delivery and read receipts, being able to see when other people are typing, the ability to attach large video files and high quality photos, and so much more.

So far, this seems to work across several different versions of Android, different Android phones, and several different countries as well. We’ve tested it in the U.S., Canada, and several European countries. It seems that the only issues are phones with dual SIMs, and there’s no workaround for the time being. So long as your phone supports the Messages Beta, this should work for you. Let us know how it goes for you, and happy messaging!

What is RCS and why is it important to Android?