You might have noticed a blue dot or circle appearing next to some of your contact names. If you wonder what this blue dot means, it indicates which of your contacts have RCS-capable phones. Rich Communication Service (RCS) is a relatively new type of standard messaging that allows easier and faster sharing of information, videos, and higher resolution images via the messaging app.
Unlike the typical messaging app, messaging with an RCS-enabled phone allows for a more actionable, interactive, and enjoyable conversational experience.
Android phones with RCS infrastructure have additional features that regular SMS and MMS text messages don’t have.
Next, we delve into the differences between RCS, MMS, and MMS and how to enable your phone’s RCS feature.
Overview of Rich Communication Service (RCS)
As we’ve established, the blue dot at the end of a contact name shows that the person is using an RCS-capable phone. Typically, RCS offers a messaging experience similar to social media apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat, and iMessage without the requirement to download a third-party app.
The difference between RCS and these social media apps is that RCS infrastructure is built into your phone. You also don’t have to download any third-party app, sign into user accounts or invite friends to communicate. It’s simply typing and sending.
RCS offers typing indicators, read receipts, and improved media sharing capability like other social media apps. But, to send or receive Rich Communication Service (RCS) messages, you and the person you are messaging need to have RCS compatible phones. If your phone is RCS capable, but your contact’s phone isn’t, the message defaults to the regular MMS or SMS standard.
What Are the Main Differences Between RCS, MMS, and SMS?
Below are some factors indicating why Rich Communication Service (RCS) stands out compared to SMS or MMS.
- Unlike typical messages, RCS messages aren’t limited to 160 characters.
- You can share higher-resolution pictures with RCS than with SMS.
- RCS has typing indicator and reads receipt features like WhatsApp or iMessage.
- RCS has a location-sharing feature.
- You can brand your message and also verify message senders on RCS.
- You can share and receive large format files and documents with RCS.
- RCS integrates action buttons into messages for a better user experience.
How To Activate the Blue Dot Feature on Your Android Phone
Follow the steps below to check and activate the RCS feature on your phone.
- Click on your phone’s “Messaging” app.
- On the top-right corner of your screen, there are three vertical dots. Click on them.
- Scroll to the “Settings” tab and then, tap on it.
- Select “Chat Features” or “Chat Settings” depending on your Android version.
- Slide the toggle next to “Enable Chat Features” from “Off” to “On”.
After Activating RCS, you can send messages using mobile data or Wi-Fi with the RCS messaging feature. This service will also inform you when another RCS-capable phone is typing, when they add people to group chats and when they read your messages. You can also send longer text messages and high-quality videos and images.
To deactivate the blue dot from your phone:
- Open your phone’s “Messaging” app.
- Tap on the three dots at the top-right corner of your screen.
- Scroll to “Settings”.
- Select the “Chat Features” or the “Chat Settings” option.
- Slide the toggle next to “Enable Chat Features” from “On” to “Off”.
- Next, tap on “Default Message Type”.
- Select “MMS” or “SMS”.
How Does RCS Change Messaging
RCS can take your customer communication to the next level if you frequently use text messages, especially for business. First, you can fragment your customers into targeted groups and share specific information without worrying about reaching each one individually.
Additionally, you can make text messages engaging by branding texts with custom color pallets, adding your business logo and other icons, and including your business address. You can also improve customer experience by using RCS’s custom calendar and scheduling integrations and the payment or invoicing integration.
Overall, you can reach customers faster without compromising your business’s branding image.
As you’ve learned, the blue dot next to some of your contact names shows the person is using an RCS-capable phone. RCS offers interactive messaging features similar to social media apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. If your phone has RCS capability, you can use these features to share high-resolution images and videos and message other people with RCS-capable phones.
The best news is you don’t have to download any third-party app to do it. It’s all incorporated into your traditional messaging app.
Frequently Asked Questions
The blue dot indicates that the contact uses an RCS-capable phone. If your Android phone also has RCS infrastructure, you can use RCS chat features to communicate with others. If not, your text messages will appear in the regular SMS or MMS format.
RCS incorporates various messaging features like typing and receipt indicators, video calling, and group chat into the native messaging app. These features are not available in the normal SMS or MMS text format.