OPINION: Apple and Google have been at loggerheads for quite some time. Google wants Apple to incorporate RCS support into its popular Messages apps so those texting from Android to iPhone, and vice versa, can enjoy many of the same features that iMessage offers, from voice messaging to sending photos and videos for free.
The problem is that Apple just keeps saying no.
However, while Apple is flat-out refusing to incorporate support even after Google launched a massive marketing campaign and an entirely new section on the Android website dedicated to explaining the idea, a relatively new messaging app has taken things into its own hands and has officially made RCS available to iPhone users.
Beeper is a new kind of universal chat app that allows users to message on multiple platforms simultaneously. It currently supports over ten platforms, including Instagram, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slack, Discord and even Apple’s iMessage, with the latter allowing for easy access to Apple’s chat platform for Android users – something I’ve praised the app for in the past.
However, it’s going from strength to strength in 2023 as a new update that rolled out to iOS and Android versions of the app introduces Google RCS support. It’s not that big of a deal for Android users, admittedly – the official Google Messages app on the platform supports RCS – but it’s a massive deal for those on iPhone, providing access to RCS on the platform for the first time.
RCS allows iOS users to enjoy an iMessage-like experience when chatting with their Android-based mates in Beeper. It not only gets rid of that hideous green bubble with an iMessage-like colour scheme, but it allows you to send voice messages, high-res images, stickers, emoji and more, complete with Tapback support.
The latter has traditionally been an annoyance for Android users using standard SMS with iPhone buddies as, rather than playing a fun animation on iOS, you just get text message descriptions, so it’s good to finally see some parity.
Admittedly, it’s not a perfect alternative, with several features yet to be implemented. Still, it’s as good as you’ll likely get on iOS for quite some time unless we see a complete 180 from Apple – and I can’t imagine that happening.
The ability to use RCS on iPhone aside, Beeper is a game-changing app that has transformed how I use social media over the past few months. The ability to message everyone from a central platform stops me from scrolling aimlessly on social media apps after replying to a message from a friend or family member. It’s also much easier to use with a unified UI and feature set across all platforms.
It has become my go-to chat app and one of the first I install on the smartphones I test every week.
It’s still in active development in closed beta at the moment, but if you’re interested, you can sign up for the waitlist on the Beeper website to get access in the coming months as more users are onboarded.