Note: Chat features are only available on Android devices.
What are chat features?
Chat features provide an upgraded, rich messaging experience. Chat features:
- Show you when someone is typing
- Offer read receipts (show when someone has read or received your message, as well as showing your contact when you read their message)
- Send messages over mobile data and Wi-Fi
- Lets you share files and high-resolution photos
When using chat features, your messages are sent using the Rich Communication Services (RCS) protocol over Wi-Fi and mobile data. Chat features will be turned on only when all the participants in a conversation have chat features. Either your RCS service provider (e.g., mobile carrier) or Jibe Mobile from Google can provide chat features. This article describes chat features by Google.
SMS/MMS message RCS message
How do I turn on chat features?
Chat features will be turned on when all the participants in a conversation have chat features.
- If you don’t have the Messages app, download it from the Play Store.
- If chat features are offered by Google for your carrier and device, the Messages app will prompt you to agree to the Jibe Terms of Service. You might be asked to enter your phone number as part of the chat features setup.
- Chat features can be manually turned on in Menu Settings Chat features.
Which carriers or regions are supported?
Chat features in your Messages app are available in France, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, the UK, and the US, and across multiple carriers globally. We are working on bringing chat features broadly to more regions, carriers, and other messaging apps (e.g. Samsung Messages).
Important: T-Mobile users with Advanced Messaging may be unable to chat or create a group chat with users outside of the T-Mobile network. For more information, please contact T-Mobile about upgrading to Universal Profile 1.0.
I don’t have the Messages app. Can I still get chat features?
Yes, if chat is available from your country/carrier. Download Messages app on your Android device if your default messaging app doesn't offer chat features.
How do I know whether I’m talking to someone using chat features?
If your conversation’s compose bar says “Chat message”, your messages are sent using chat features. You can check your chat features availability and status by going to Menu Settings Chat features.
Chat messages you have sent are darker blue than SMS/MMS messages.
What happens if I don’t have data, or the recipient isn’t online?
Messages can still be sent as SMS or MMS.
You can check and set your default option when chat features aren’t available:
- Open the Messages app .
- At the top right, tap Menu Settings Chat features Resend messages.
- Choose your default option:
- Always resend as SMS/MMS
- Resend as SMS/MMS when not roaming
- Ask before resending
- Never resend as SMS/MMS
What is the group chat experience when I include people who don’t have chat features?
If all the participants don’t have chat features turned on, you still may be able to create SMS/MMS groups.
Are my conversations kept secure?
Can I use chat features with Apple’s iMessage?
Do chat features cost money?
When using chat features, your messages are sent over Wi-Fi and mobile data. As long you're connected to a free Wi-Fi network, there should be no cost for sending and receiving messages. If your messages are sent using mobile data, the cost is based on your mobile data plan.
Google may occasionally verify your phone number via SMS to offer chat features (SMS charges may apply).
Why do I get a battery optimization prompt?
The Messages app requires a constant connection to send and receive messages in real-time. To enable chat features, on some devices you may be prompted to exclude the Messages app from battery optimization. Click YES when you see “Ignore battery optimizations?” during setup to enable chat features. This will not noticeably impact battery life.
To exclude Messages from battery optimization at any time:
- On your Android device, open your Settings.
- Tap Apps & notifications Special app access Battery optimization Messages Don't Optimize.
Will my messages be sent if chat features aren’t available?
If chat features are unavailable, your messages can be sent via SMS or MMS. You can check and set your default fallback option when chat features aren’t available. See here.
Please see the troubleshooting section if you are unable to turn on chat features or if you have trouble using chat features.
What if chat features are unavailable for my device?
You can check your chat features availability and status by going to Menu Settings Chat features.
Check the following:
- Update your Messages app and your Carrier Services from Play Store.
- Make sure your Messages app is set as your default SMS app.
- If your device has dual SIM slots, and both SIMs are inserted, make sure your Call SIM is configured as your Data SIM.
- On your Android device, open your Settings.
- Tap Network and Internet.
- Make sure your Call SIM is configured as Data.
What if my chat features status shows that my carrier does not support, or I’m ineligible to receive chat features?
We are working towards bringing chat features support to more countries/regions and carriers.
My chat features status says “Setting up.” How do I get chat features?
When we are in the process of verifying your phone number, your chat features status will say “Setting up.” If the “Setting up” status remains for more than a day, it means your Messages app can’t verify your phone number.
To verify your phone number:
- Go to Menu Settings Chat features. Tap RETRY and confirm your phone number when requested.
- Google will send an SMS to confirm your phone number.
- Make sure you can receive SMS messages.
I have other issues or feedback. How do I report it?
Will features like typing indicators and read receipts work when the recipient does not have chat features?
I don't currently use Messages, what happens if I switch my default app to use Messages and start using Chat features?
You can make Messages your default app as described here. You won’t lose any existing SMS/MMS messages if you change your default app to Messages and you’ll have access to Messages’ benefits such as Messages for Web, Smart Replies, and chat features (where supported).
If your previous messaging app supports proprietary features or non-interoperable forms of messaging (not SMS, MMS or interoperable chat features), you will not have access to those after you switch.