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How to enable read receipts in Android Message

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How many times have you had someone say to you, “Sorry, I didn’t see your text.”

Sure they didn’t. And they could have gotten away with it, had it not been for those “meddling kids” — “meddling kids” being a handy option within the SMS messages on your Android that ensures you know when someone has opened a text message. There is, of course, one caveat to using this feature. It’s all about Rich Communication Services (RCS).

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RCS adds extra features to the Android Messages app, including high-res media sharing, location sharing, typing indicators, end-to-end encryption, and read receipts. The caveat is twofold. First, you must enable RCS on your Messages app. You also must ask the person you’re communicating with to enable RCS. Furthermore, if you’re texting someone with an iPhone, it’s all moot anyway because Apple refuses to adopt the RCS standard.

The big question for me (for a while now) has been, “Why isn’t RCS enabled by default?” I’ve tried to find out why, but there’s very little information on this issue. The only conclusion I can draw is that because not every country in the world (nor Apple) has adopted RCS, Google has put the onus of enabling it on the consumer.

Another possibility is that there are still quite a large number of Android phones being used with outdated operating systems that don’t support RCS. Enabling RCS by default could cause problems with those older devices.
However, if Google would finally enable RCS by default, you wouldn’t have to then reach out to your contacts to say, “If you’re on Android, please enable RCS on your device.” Doing that then opens a can of worms wherein you suddenly become tech support for that person to guide them through enabling the feature.

Should you find yourself in such a situation, let me show you how to do this, so you can then just point your contacts to this article to avoid having to explain it yourself.

How to enable RCS Chats
What you’ll need: The only thing you’ll need is an Android device with an updated operating system.

1. Open Messages settings
The first thing to do is open Android Messages. Once open, tap your profile picture in the upper right corner. From the resulting menu, tap Messages settings.

Accessing the Messages settings window in Android 13. Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Open RCS Chats
In the Settings window, tap RCS Chats at the top of the page.

There are plenty of other configurations you can take care of here. Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Enable RCS Chats
At the top of this page, tap the On/Off slider to turn on RCS Chats to enable the feature. Once you’ve done that, all of the options will become available to you.

Make sure the On/Off slider for Send read receipts is in the On position. You can also enable any other features you might want to add.

Make sure to check through all the RCS Chats settings options and enable everything you want. Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you’ve enabled RCS Chats (and read receipts), back out of the Settings window and you’re good to go. You’ll then want to make sure anyone you chat with (either individuals or groups) has RCS Chats enabled as well (otherwise, the features won’t work for you).

And that’s all there is to making sure you know when your fellow Android users have received and read your SMS messages. Hopefully, someday in the near future, RCS will be enabled by default on all new Android devices, so you don’t have to call out your friends and family who haven’t enabled the feature.

Prosper Dougoli

Prosper Dougoli, also known as a Bomzydget, is a young Ghanaian tech content creator with extensive experience in Internet blogging.

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