How to Manually Enable RCS on Android Right Now (Updated)

It’s been a while since Google announced plans to push RCS adoption so that Android users could finally move on from the outdated SMS technology, but most users are stuck waiting for their mobile carriers to flip the switch at some point in 2020. There happens to be a way to turn RCS on manually, but as many users—and plenty of our readers—have discovered, it’s inconsistent at best.

If you’re not sure what RCS is or why you would want to enable it, our RCS primer has all the details, but the most important reason is that RCS text messages are better and support far more features than SMS does. You know how Apple’s iMessage lets you see when your friends are typing or carry on conversations across multiple devices? RCS lets Android users finally do both—plus tons more—in their core texting app.

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Google updated the Android messages app with RCS support a while back, but it’s up to each mobile carrier to enable it on its network. However, Android Police recently reported that Reddit users successfully enabled RCS features in their Android Messages app without needing carrier approval. Since then, it appears that the trick no longer works on some phones, most consistently on OnePlus devices, though it’s been reported on Pixel phones and Samsung Galaxy models as well.

Despite those issues, the trick remains possible for many users, though the process might take a few tries before it sticks.

How to manually enable RCS messaging on Android

  1. You’ll need to shut off your device’s Wi-Fi during this process. Swipe down on your phone’s screen to show the quick settings and notifications menu, then find and tap the “Wi-Fi” shortcut to disable it.
  2. Next, open the Activity Launcher app and select “All Activities” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Tap “Messages” then scroll down and tap “Set RCS Flags.”
  4. Scroll down to “ACS Url” and select “http://rcs-acs-prod-us.sandbox.google.com.” from the drop-down menu.
  5. Force close Messages.
  6. Install the “Carrier Services” app if you haven’t already, then go to Settings and search for “All Apps.” Find Carrier Services and clear its app data.
  7. Re-open Messages and repeat steps 2 and 3.
  8. Next, in the “OTP Pattern” drop-down menu, select “Your\sMessenger\sverification\scode\sis\sG-(\d{6}).”
  9. Scroll down and tap “Apply.”
  10. Force close the Messages app, then re-open it. If there’s a banner asking you to “Upgrade Now” so you can see what your friends are typing, tap “Upgrade Now.” If not, refer to the steps above and double-check you didn’t miss anything.

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After you have upgraded, you can tap “…” > Settings > Chat features in the Messages app to see which RCS features are available for you. If you are shown a warning message at the top of the screen, it may mean your phone number cannot be verified—don’t worry, though, this is fixable. First, make sure you followed the above steps correctly. If that doesn’t solve anything, do the following:

  • Force close Messages, then try clearing Carrier Services’ app data again. Reboot your phone.
  • Once your phone has rebooted, open the Messages app again and go to “…” > Settings > Chat features > Status: Setting up then tap “Verify,” and type in your phone number.

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If you’ve gone through all these steps and still can’t seem to get RCS (or the Messages app) to work, or your phone just straight up tells you your carrier doesn’t support RCS, then you may be out of luck and will have to simply wait for your carrier to enable RCS support in the future. In that case, you can walk the whole process back by following the above steps, but deleting the “ACS Url” field in step 4 and “OTP pattern” in step 8 instead.

Updated 11/1/2019 with revised steps, troubleshooting, and how to undo the trick, as well as new information and relevant links in light of reports that the workaround has been deactivated on some devices.

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