iOS 18 beta 2 users report RCS toggle appearing — but it will be a while before it works

iOS 18 logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

iOS 18 beta 2 users have spotted an RCS messaging toggle on their test devices. However, the feature likely won't function until the final release.

One of the long-anticipated features announced for iOS 18 at Apple's WWDC presentation was the long-awaited support for Rich Communication Service (RCS), which Apple confirmed was on the way late last year.

The feature was noticeably absent from iOS 18 beta 1, but it seems that is changing with the newly released iOS 18 beta 2, as certain users have reported seeing an option to toggle RCS on. However, the toggle does not allow users who can see it to actually use RCS messaging, at least not yet.

According to a recent report from 9to5Mac, RCS communication requires Apple to work with carriers to update their carrier bundles (collections of files to help set up a device to work with a particular cell service) for iOS 18, which only a few have done so far.

This may also explain why only a few users have spotted the option in the first place. Since carriers likely have until September, the expected stable release date of iOS 18, to complete the process, this could mean that beta users can't test the feature before release. 

Apple RCS messaging support.

(Image credit: Future)

RCS is the key to improving messaging compatibility between iPhones and Android phones, but Apple has long been against the feature. For many years, the company cited security concerns due to RCS services not requiring end-to-end encryption to function as the reason why it wouldn't adopt the new standard, 

But since the older SMS option had the same security problems, it was speculated that Apple simply wanted to push iMessage on its device as a key feature. The announcement that RCS would be coming to the iPhone has left many wondering how it will be implemented, and it appears those questions will remain unanswered for now. 

While beta users may not have a chance to test the RCS feature, there is still plenty to try in the iOS 18 beta, although you still need to be a developer to access it for now.

Users can test all the new options for customizing their phone's home and lock screen. These include changing the colors and locations of the app widgets. iOS 18 also includes a few quality-of-life improvements, including allowing the iPhone to alert the user if their iPhone is charging slowly. 

While this news is disappointing, it at least shows that Apple is working on the feature, and hopefully means we are on track to have better communication with our Android-using friends once iOS 18 releases.

For more information about the other features coming to Apple products, check out our breakdown of WWDC for all the information on iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and more. 

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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.