Anyone who’s been in a text-message group chat with participants spanning iOS and Android probably knows iPhone users’ annoying response texts, usually formatted as: Person A liked/disliked “Person B’s message”. But now, after Google implemented a workaround in its texting app on Android, Apple is doing something about it with iOS 16. After the update, it will hide those written messages and show them as the expected bubble icon next to the message it was as response to (via 9to5Mac†
Google’s solution on the Android side earlier this year worked in a similar fashion, adding iOS-friendly emoji responses to the Google Messages app. Apple’s iMessage Tapbacks have since appeared as actual emoji icons on Google Messages Androids, but the problem largely persisted in the iPhone’s “green bubble” threads.
Tapbacks started with iOS 10 in 2016 when iMessage received its most defining upgrade yet with features like full-screen message effects and stickers. While iOS 16 iMessage will add more new features than it has in the six years since — like the ability to edit/undo messages — it still won’t support RCS, the SMS follow-up messaging technology that Google is targeting.
Google has been working hard to speed up RCS adoption so it could do more than just parse spammy comment messages across platforms, but it seems Apple prefers this workaround over adopting a new standard. Maybe RCS needs some work against real spam before Apple would even think about it.