[Update: Back for most] Messages trick for enabling RCS breaks on some Android phones

A hack that enabled Rich Communication Services on any Android phone and carrier emerged last weekend. According to reports over the past 24 hours, the RCS trick has stopped working for some users.

Oddly, the first wave of reports consistently came from OnePlus owners. The “Chat features” page in settings went from “Connected” to “Connecting,” or directly to the “Chat features unavailable for this device” message.

All followed the simple steps for enabling the SMS/MMS successor via an internal tool meant for Google developers, and have tried replicating the process today to no avail. Besides the status change, users can no longer access typing indicators with read receipts, high-resolution images, sending over Wi-Fi and mobile data, larger group conversations, or business messaging.

Adding to this outage are intermittent reports from Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy devices that lost RCS. They join the OnePlus 5, 6, 7, and 7T on various carriers around the world. That said, others still have the ability to Chat and this could just be an isolated issue.

enable RCS trick breaks

It’s quite odd that Google let the RCS trick continue for this long. Even after an update to the Messages 5.2 beta this week, the “Set RCS Flags” menu is still accessible by manually launching the activity. In fact, that release is now beginning to roll out to the stable channel.

Ultimately, the RCS trick breaking should not come as a surprise. There was never any indication that it’s officially supported. Google letting Android users bypass carriers does not seem viable for that partner relationship.

Update 11/1: Those that lost RCS last night are reporting that everything is back to normal. The “Connected” status has returned for most affected users this morning, while others never experienced a disruption.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com