Apple’s iOS 16 Fixes Annoying ‘Green Bubble’ SMS Group Reaction Messages

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Anyone who’s been in a group text message chat with participants spread across iOS and Android is probably familiar with annoying reaction texts from iPhone users, usually formatted like this: Person Liked/Disliked “Person’s Message B”. But now, after Google implemented a workaround in its text messaging app on Android, Apple is doing something about it with iOS 16. After the update, it will hide those text messages and show them as expected bubble icon next to the message it was reacting to (through 9to5Mac).

Google patched on the Android side earlier this year it worked the same way, adding iOS-compatible emoji reactions to the Google Messages app. Apple’s iMessage tapbacks have since appeared as proper emoji icons on Androids using Google Messages, but the problem has largely persisted in iPhone “green bubble” threads.

Tapbacks started with iOS 10 in 2016 when iMessage received its most defining upgrade ever with features like full-screen message effects and stickers. While iOS 16 iMessage adds more new features than it has in the six years since…like the ability to edit/unsend messages – it still won’t include the plug in charge of RCS, the successor messaging technology to SMS that Google is focusing on.

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Google has been working hard to try to accelerate the adoption of RCS so it can do more than just analyze spammy feedback messages across platforms, but it seems Apple prefers this workaround over adoption of a new standard. Perhaps RCS may need some work against real spam before Apple even considers it.

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