Google is trying to make iPhone and Android texting less terrible despite Apple’s resistance

Google Messages tests that let you react to text messages sent from iPhones

Google has been pestering Apple to adopt RCS for iMessage to provide a better messaging experience for Android and iPhone users. But then the Cupertino giant has no incentive to improve how iMessage works with Android – the service acts as a locked ecosystem for Apple. Without support from the iPhone manufacturer, Google has been working on fixing some common texting issues between iPhone and Android. In February, Google Messages was updated to support iPhone reactions – the company was literally translating iMessage reactions into something recognizable on Android to achieve this. And now Google is testing the ability for Android users to send reactions to texts from iPhone users.


A Reddit user noticed that he can now send reactions to texts from iPhone users in Google Messages. The original sender of the text using an iPhone will then receive a message in the following format: (emoji) to “(message)”. The latter, however, could become an annoyance for iPhone users. Google is apparently rolling out this feature as a server-side push, and it may not show up on your device even if you’re using the latest Google Messages beta. If you frequently text an iPhone user, you can try your luck and see if you can react to their text messages in Google Messages.

So far, Android users have only been able to react to text messages sent from another Android device. They were limited to seeing reactions sent from an iPhone – there was no way to react to messages.

If you use WhatsApp, Telegram, or any other messaging service, being able to react to messages might not seem like a big deal. But that’s because these apps are platform independent and provide the same experience whether you’re using Android or iPhone. This is not the case when you send regular text messages from one platform to another. Google tried to get Apple to adopt RCS for iMessage as a fallback to provide a consistent messaging experience across both operating systems. But Apple didn’t want to open iMessage because the proprietary platform helps lock customers into its products.