How To Activate Android’s iMessage Alternative And Send Text Messages Using Data

   
20 comments

iMessage and default messaging services are a huge deal in the United States where WhatsApp and similar alternatives are not as big a deal as the default messaging clients that come preinstalled on the phone. How big of a deal can it be? Well, it’s big enough for people to want to have their Android devices appear as iPhones when texting.

With that in mind, Google has been working on and actually rolling out a competitor to iMessage for Android devices but the rollout has been extremely slow.

I’m not sure if this will work for all Android phones but it did work on my Galaxy S8 Duos and now I can send messages using data (only if the other person receiving the message has also turned on RCS). I also have the ability to send voice notes, I can see someone’s typing status (if they are on RCS as well), read receipts and send pictures and videos using data and not the traditional MMS, making the messages app more like an instant messaging application e.g WhatsApp.

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Here’s how I did it:

  1. Turn off WiFi – use mobile data
  2. Install Google Messages
  3. Join the beta (scroll down on the install page in Google Play and you’ll find the option)
  4. Leave the Google PlayStore and come back and update the Google Messages application
  5. Restart your phone
  6. Clear data for the following applications in the following applications – Carrier services (may not be installed – if not install from Google Play) and Messages and Google Messages
  7. Go to PlayStore and download Activity Launcher
  8. Open Activity Launcher and scroll down and click on Messages – scroll down and click on Set RCS Flags.
  9. Change ACS Url to http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com
  10. Change OTP Pattern to the one available option
  11. Click Apply
  12. Go back to App settings > Google Messages > Force Stop
  13. Open Google Messages
  14. You’ll get a prompt to Upgrade to RCS. Click on it

Once you’ve activated the feature if you go into your Google Messages application > Settings > General > Chat Features, you’ll be able to access a number of RCS chat settings that you can tweak.

P.S: This article came about as a result of a tip from Simba Madara who commented on one of our articles suggesting we try this out. Thanks, Simba!


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Comments 20

Xavier
one year ago

Nice tips, also on Xiaomi phones, there is MiMessage much similar to ios’ iMessage. Both users just need to activate the feature, and better you don’t need to install a third-party messaging application.

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    Evan Thomas
    one year ago

    Android Messages isn’t third party. It’s what’s supposed to be on all Android phones by default, but companies choose to replace it with their own. Not to mention that RCS and Android messages already started rolling out in the US, and is already completely out in other countries, you don’t even need to do any of this. Just make sure you have Android messages installed and turn on chat features.

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      Anonymous
      one year ago

      I have a pixel 4 XL in Verizon, I had to do this. Coming from a pixel 3 XL on Verizon which had this when it was first released. I am very disappointed in Google currently.

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        Anonymous
        one year ago

        It’s not Google you should be disappointed with. It’s Verizon.

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Joseph
one year ago

I cannot seem to set the OTP Pattern on my Galaxy Note 8. There is no error, it just does not appear to save the setting. Any suggestions?

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Simba Madara
one year ago

google maps now has live-view techzim can you figureout where in zimbabwe the feature works im using the beta version of google maps

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Copasetic
one year ago

Is there a reason why I don’t want to send text messages via Wi-Fi? Sometimes mobile data just isn’t as a reliable and sometimes mobile data costs more. Having an app that switches back and forth between the two same as more useful as well as logical. Maybe I’m missing something but aside from the ability to use RCS I just don’t get it. Currently my carrier’s own messaging program offering does both and gives me a lot of bells and whistles that Google just can’t match.

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    Farai Mudzingwa
    one year ago

    Hi, you can use both WiFi and mobile data as soon as the setup is complete. Could you please share some of the benefits from your carriers messaging program – here in Zimbabwe we don’t have anything similar.

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Greg Hanner
one year ago

Will wifi work just as mobile data does? That can be a huge cost savings!

Thank you for your help!

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    Farai Mudzingwa
    one year ago

    Yuhp, once you have completed the setup WiFi will work just fine

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Anonymous
one year ago

Will not work on AT&T still.

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    Anonymous
    one year ago

    It does work on att I’ve in stalled it twice on the note 9 and the note 10+

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stimoceiver
one year ago

On my Huawei mate 9, the “apply” button disappears off the bottom of the screen upon selecting OTP pattern. There seems to be no way to scroll down or access that portion of the screen. However it still worked even without explicitly setting that value.

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    matty032
    one year ago

    Had same issue with a friend’s phone. Change your display and font settings to default or small.

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Drukarovf
one year ago

Before doing this it says under settings>general>chat features> unavailable. Carrier doesn’t support. Will doing this change it so I have the features in this article available, and will work after? I don’t want to mess up messages if it won’t work with my carrier

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    Farai Mudzingwa
    one year ago

    It will

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Adekolade86
one year ago

I activated successfully but I still could not get to send messages to anyone. Could this be that I am connected to a WiFi or something else needs to be done?

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    Farai Mudzingwa
    one year ago

    The problem could be that the people you text haven’t activated RCS

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Anonymous
one year ago

Sad to say it’s going to be a hard sell to get the average phone user to go through all those steps to use the app. If the process remains so “complicated” adoption will be low.

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    Farai Mudzingwa
    one year ago

    This is a work around for people who want to experience the feature before it’s the default

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