Archive for November 19, 2023

Why Apple Using RCS Isn’t What You Think It Is

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 19, 2023 by itnerd

Earlier this week, Apple announced that they are adding RCS which is Rich Communication Services to iPhone in a software update coming to the iPhone later in 2024. Now on the surface, this is a huge announcement. And to be clear it is. Apple has been resisting Google’s attempts to get them to support RCS for years. But Apple supporting RCS isn’t what you think it is. And to back that up, I want to dive into Apple’s statement via 9to5Mac, and I want you to pay attention to the section in bold text:

Later next year, we will be adding support for RCS Universal Profile, the standard as currently published by the GSM Association. We believe RCS Universal Profile will offer a better interoperability experience when compared to SMS or MMS. This will work alongside iMessage, which will continue to be the best and most secure messaging experience for Apple users.

Note the words RCS Universal Profile. This is a version of RCS that is supposed to play nice with devices on multiple platforms. You can get the TL:DR writeup about this here, or you can go deep into the weeds here. But here’s what you should care about. RCS Universal Profile gives phones that support it the following abilities:

The Universal Profile contains core features such as capability discovery (interoperable between regions), chat, group chat, file transfer, audio messaging, video share, multi-device, enriched calling, location share and live sketching. It also introduces the key enablers for Messaging as a Platform (MaaP). This includes support for RCS business messaging, Rich Cards, privacy control and spam protection.

There’s one thing that’s missing from that paragraph. Encryption. RCS Universal Profile unlike iMessage does not support encryption. That’s a major feature that’s missing which means that iMessage still wins because Apple can always play the security card. And Apple users tend to care about security. Thus on top of the fact that Apple isn’t going to do away with green bubbles, this really doesn’t change all that much. And I suspect that the fact that 87% of US teens get iPhones to not be a green bubble person will not change.

What’s the saying? The house always wins? That seems to be the case here.

Nothing Pulls Nothing Chats After Privacy Concerns Surface

Posted in Commentary on November 19, 2023 by itnerd

A few days ago, I wrote about phone maker Nothing coming out with iMessage on their phones which run Android. It was supposed to launch this past Friday as a beta, and it did launch. But it was promptly pulled from the Play Store as per this:

What bugs are they are talking about? Well, 9to5Google did a teardown of the app, and…. :

Sunbird has been promising iMessage support on Android for about a year now, but the company has always seemed rather sketchy. Now, as Nothing Chats, built on Sunbird, has launched, the privacy nightmare is coming true – not only is the app not end-to-end encrypted as promised, but image files from other users are pretty easy to access in plain text.

The promise of Sunbird and, in turn, Nothing Chats is to deliver iMessage support to Android. This is done by having users log into their Apple ID through the app which routes the login through a Mac server farm. It’s not a unique method, but the big differentiator here is that Sunbird has made a big deal out of claiming that end-to-end encryption is kept in place throughout the whole process.


Frightening new findings reveal that Sunbird and Nothing Chats are, in fact, not fully end-to-end encrypted, as user data can be accessed in plain text.

Um… WTF? That is the worst possible thing ever. Knowing that should make anyone who is even causally considering using this app run fast in the other direction away from it. There should be no scenario in existence that you should ever consider this app to be a viable option to get iMessage onto your Android phone. I strongly encourage you to read the entire article from 9to5Google. It does go into the weeds, but it will help you to understand why this is not just bad. It’s horrifically bad.

In the meantime, perhaps you might want to take Tim Cook’s advice, if you want to get iMessage on your smartphone, buy an iPhone. At least it has security unlike this dumpster fire of an app.