Google Messages removes unencrypted icon from iPhone RCS

In a curious change, Google Messages no longer displays that end-to-end encryption (E2EE) is not available for RCS conversations on iPhones.

Last week, Google Messages indicated that RCS conversations between Android and iPhone do not support end-to-end encryption with a lock icon with a slash. This is because Google Messages uses its own E2EE implementation for one-on-one and group chats.

Apple wants encryption to be added to the RCS Universal Profile standard. It’s unclear whether that will happen before the release of iOS 18 in the fall. Presumably Google will adopt that standardized approach when it becomes available.

Starting today, Google has removed the crossed-out lock from conversations between iOS and Android. This appears to be a server-side change with recent beta versions of Google Messages.

Before vs. after

Previously, most people encountered that icon when communicating with Android users who didn’t use Google Messages as their texting app.

In a sense, this reflects the status quo that currently exists with SMS. There’s no point in mentioning the lack of encryption in Android-iOS chats, as end users can’t do anything at the moment to get it.

Meanwhile, ahead of the release of iOS 18, Google Messages is working to better support and inform users about “cross-platform RCS chats.”

About cross-platform RCS chats

The strings introduced in version 20240627_01_RC00 also describe the benefits of RCS in group conversations:

  • “You have updated chats”
  • Send sharper photos and videos \U0001f4f8 with reactions \U0001f44d \u2014 for free over Wi-Fi. %1$s

Learn more about Google Messages:

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