Google accuses Apple of giving poor texting experience between iPhone and Android

The search giant said Apple uses “outdated technology” and refuses to adopt modern texting standards

August 22, 2022 02:33 pm | Updated 05:32 pm IST

Google accuses Apple of giving poor texting experience between iPhone and Android

Google accuses Apple of giving poor texting experience between iPhone and Android | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The story so far: Google slammed Apple on August 10 for providing a sub-standard experience to users when people with iPhones and Android phones communicate with each other through text messages, or share photos and videos.

The search giant said users face problems like blurry videos, broken group chats, missing read receipts and typing indicators, and no texting over Wi-Fi because Apple uses “outdated technology” and refuses to adopt modern texting standards.

(Sign up to our Technology newsletter, Today’s Cache, for insights on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, business and policy. Click here to subscribe for free.)

Differences between texting on iPhone and Android

Texting between iPhones uses iMessage, while texting between Android phones uses RCS, the modern industry standard for messaging. Texting between iPhones and Android phones uses SMS and MMS. Google considers this an outdated technology from the 1990s and early 2000s which does not support modern texting features like end-to-end encryption, high quality media sharing, read receipts and typing indicators, thus leading to a poor experience.

If Apple upgraded SMS/MMS to RCS, texting issues between iPhones and Android phones would be fixed, Google said.

What is SMS / MMS and RCS?

SMS or Short Message Service is one of the oldest texting technologies invented in the 1980s and defined in the 1985 GSM standards. It is also the most widespread and frequently used.

MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service was built using the same technology as SMS. It allows users to send multimedia content like pictures, audio and video files and phone contacts.

Rich Communication Services is the modern industry standard for messaging. It’s supported by most carriers and over 500 Android device manufacturers—but not Apple.

Issues with SMS and MMS tech used by Apple

Google complained that when iPhone and Android users text each other, they may not be able to send and receive texts over Wi-Fi if they do not have a cellular network connection.

Apple relies on SMS and MMS technology, which do not always support texting over wi-fi, the company said.

These technologies do not support read receipts and typing indicators, without which users don’t always know if their messages are getting delivered or if the receiver is responding.

Users’ messages are also not secure since end-to-end encryption is not supported.

iPhones also make texts with Android phones difficult to read, by using white text on a bright green background, Google noted.

Photos and videos are often tiny and blurry because the outdated SMS/MMS tech cannot support large media files. This means photos and videos often come in a compressed format. The severity varies by location and carrier based on compression and size limits, Google said.

The outdated tech used for group conversations with Android does not even allow users to leave the chat when they want to, the company added.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.