17 Jan

Turn Off Android Chat Features:

If you recently switched from an Android phone to an iPhone and suddenly stopped receiving texts from your Android phone-owning friends, don’t panic. It’s a nerve-racking but easily solvable problem, and it’s one that we’re all too familiar with at The Verge since some of us tend to switch phones a lot. 

The likely culprit is the protocol called RCS, which is short for Rich Communication Services. There are a lot of reasons to like RCS in Google’s Messaging app. It provides read receipts and emoji reactions and enables higher-quality media sharing than the older SMS protocol it replaces. But as much as Google would like it to be, RCS isn’t a universal standard — Apple uses its own iMessage protocol, so if you’re switching between Android and iOS, this can throw a real wrench in the works if you’re not careful. 

In order to make sure you keep receiving all your texts on your new device, you need to disable chat features on your Android before you move your SIM to an iPhone. (And by the way, the same is true if you’re making the reverse move.) But there’s good news if you didn’t happen to turn chat features off on your old phone: Google has a fix, even if you no longer have access to the previous device. Here’s how to turn off chat features — and what to do if you forgot.

Screenshot of messages settings menu options with chat features at the top.Navigate to the Messages app settings to find chat features.

Screenshot of chat features settings menu with option to enable chat features at the top.Toggle chat features off to disable RCS.

If You Still Have Your Old Phone:

Here are the steps to follow if you’re about to switch to a new phone or if you already switched to your new phone but still have access to the old one. I followed these steps on a Samsung Galaxy S22 running Android 13 and One UI 5.0, but they’re identical on a Pixel 7 Pro with Android 13 and should work with most Android phones:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Tap the profile icon on the right side of the search bar.
  • Go to Messages settings > Chat features.
  • Switch the Enable chat features toggle off.

With that done, you should receive messages normally once you switch to your next device. 

If You No Longer Have Your Old Phone:

If you don’t have access to your old Android phone anymore, don’t despair. Google offers a way to turn chat features off using your phone number at messages.google.com/disable-chat. You’ll need to have your SIM active in your new phone to use this tool, as it will send a six-digit verification code to your number. That should do the trick so you can carry on texting to your heart’s content.

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