The RCS functionality in Google’s News app seems to break accidentally

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Google Messages allows any Android phone to take advantage of RCS messaging, which has improved the push of the SMS replacement standard. This is one of the reasons some are looking at it as an Android alternative to iMessage, Apple’s proprietary messaging platform for iDevices. Think the same or not, it’s still an imperfect competitor, and lately users have been experiencing some annoying issues that either kept their RCS chat messages hanging forever or directly prevented them from setting them up .

ReviewGeek’s Cameron Summerson (an Android police alumnus) earlier this month complained about an issue with Google Messages where most of the RCS messages sent to him were not being delivered, describing it as stuck in “RCS hell”. In context, the “iMessage hell” was a real problem a long time ago where iPhone users switching to Android would not receive messages from friends using iPhone because their phone number was still on Apple’s servers as an active iMessage capable target was registered. Hence, these messages were sent through iMessage to a undeliverable number where they had been in suspension for a long time. The problem got so bad that Apple had to create a separate online form to sign out your number from iMessage when you ran out of your iPhone.

For some, these RCS issues manifest themselves in much the same way, except that they happen randomly and on their own, with no phones or device types changed. RCS / chat messages just don’t arrive. The reason why it happens is not immediately clear, and we’ve seen a consistently low number of complaints about this, coupled with brief outbreaks of widespread reports.

In Summerson’s case, the phone stayed in this state for at least 4 days (when the problem seemed to clear itself out of the blue) and the phone would hang on Status: Verify every time the Chat Features section of the App has been checked.

Another similar and possibly related issue has been reported to us at times by many of our readers and is currently a hot topic on the Google support forums (it is currently marked as fixed there). In this particular case, users are either stuck on “connecting” or “attempting verification” instead of “confirming”. We’re not sure if those affected also suffered the “RCS hell” of delayed / undelivered messages or not, but we do know attempting to clear the cache, refresh, clear app data, or the same Trying things in the Carrier Services app doesn’t work do nothing to fix it, although these are some of the common RCS troubleshooters.

In this case, we see waves of aggravated reports under a constant background of noise from those who are constantly in trouble. These waves usually increase and then go away a few days later.

The error “Status: connecting” in Google Messages. Thanks to Chau for the screenshot!

We reached out to Google to clarify this and the seemingly episodic nature of the more widespread reports of RCS issues, and a Google spokesperson told us that the company is aware of the problem and is actively working to minimize its occurrence . They also recommended that affected users go to “Chat Features” and tap “Verify Your Number” to make sure your number is verified correctly.

Another possible solution is to deregister your phone number from RCS. Similar to Apple, Google also offers an online form to turn off RCS / Chat messages for your phone number. You’ll need to go there and then scroll down to the “Without your previous phone” option. Just put in your phone number there, enter the verification code that Google sends to that number, and Google will unsubscribe your phone number on their page. If messages got stuck in “RCS hell” and the SMS fallback didn’t work for some reason, you should receive messages shortly after, as Google is no longer holding those messages for RCS.

Later, if you want, you can try logging back into RCS to see if the problem is resolved – it may or may not work.

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