Will we ever escape the green text drama?
Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you probably heard that Drake surprise-dropped his seventh studio album, Honestly, Nevermind, on June 17, and you might’ve also heard that the track “Texts Go Green” has sparked an old iPhone versus Android debate. On June 18, Android released an “unofficial lyric explainer” apparently explaining how Apple could eliminate green texts between iPhone and Android users forever. But what is RCS messaging, and how does it work? Here’s what you need to know.
At this point, it’s pretty common knowledge that text conversations between iPhone and Android users show up green on iPhones, as opposed to the standard blue chat bubbles that pop up in iMessage — but that’s not what Drake is referring to in “Texts Go Green.” If you’re a devoted Android user, I’ll let you in on a little secret: if an iPhone user is blocked by another iPhone user, the blocked individual can still send messages but the other person won’t see them until they unblock the person. And when that happens, any messages sent from the blocked individual to the person who blocked them while they were blocked will then turn green and arrive as a text. TL;DR: if you’re messaging an iPhone user and see your message turn green, you might have been blocked by them when you sent it, hence the line “Texts go green / It hit a little different, don’t it?” Drake also referenced green texts in 2020’s “Chicago Freestyle”, according to Genius, so apparently it’s been bugging him for a while.
In true Drake fashion, the moody track about heartbreak and love lost tugged at the heartstrings of millions, and it “hit different” for so many people that even Android was in its feelings after the song dropped.
On June 18, the company posted a 38-second lyric explainer on Twitter voiced by a robotic female voice (that sounds eerily similar to Siri, BTW) over the “Texts Go Green” instrumental to explain that receiving a green text is always rough, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In a not-so-subtle call-out to Apple, the voice says, “If only some super talented engineering team at Apple would fix this. Because this is a problem only Apple can fix.”
The voice goes on to provide a possible solution, stating, “They just have to adopt RCS, actually.”
According to Make Use Of, RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a messaging protocol that replaces SMS (Short Message Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) that can be used on Android via the Google Messages app, and makes Android messages look and feel similar to other dedicated messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, and more. Rather than relying on your carrier’s network to send a message like an SMS and MMS do, RCS uses your phone’s mobile data or Wi-Fi connection to send messages more efficiently, so long as the receiver also has RCS.
RCS also gives Android users access to features like read receipts, a typing indicator, message reactions, and it allows users to send and receive files up to 105 MB in size for higher resolution pics and videos — all similar features iMessage users have as well, BTW.
Apple, on the other hand, famously sends its messages through iMessage. Much like RCS, iMessage comes with convenient messaging features like the typing indicator and read receipts, and allows users to send messages over Wi-Fi or cellular data. Despite their similarities, though, iMessage can only be used across Apple products (iPhone, iPad, Mac, or iPod Touch), and therefore it’s not compatible with RCS. So even if an Android user sends a message to an iPhone user with RCS, the message will still show up as a green text bubble.
The lyric explainer is basically a plea from Android to Apple to make the switch over to RCS (excluding blocked texts, of course — sorry, Drake). The video also claims that adopting the platform “would make texting more secure, too.” Both RCS and iMessages are encrypted, but SMS and MMS are not. Elite Daily reached out to Apple for comment on the video and whether the company has ever explored RCS messaging, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
It doesn’t seem likely that Apple will overhaul its messaging system anytime soon, but maybe a silver lining is those green texts from your iPhone buddies actually let you know they once blocked you. As Drake says, that “hit a little different, don’t it?”