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Punishment or protection? Google is blocking rooted Android phones from using RCS messaging

To prevent spam and abuse, Google says that it will block the use of Rich Communication Services (RCS) on Android phones that have been rooted. By rooting your phone, you can get access to areas of the Android system where users are usually not allowed to go. It allows you to customize your device and is a practice that is frowned upon by phone manufacturers. It is not something that we see Android users doing as much as they were a decade ago.

Even if an Android user just has the bootloader unlocked, RCS still will be blocked from working. And the phone could still show that the user is connected to RCS even if the advanced messaging system will not work on a rooted or bootloader-unlocked phone. Some users note that their messages disappear when hitting the send button and even if RCS is not working on a user’s Android phone, they will not see an error message. Someone not aware that Google is blocking RCS on rooted phones might not understand why their messages are not getting any responses.

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There is a way around this. Install the Magisk rooting tool and the Play Integrity Fix. This will allow RCS to work although a server-side update from Google could break the fix and force you to wait for an updated version of the Play Integrity Fix. We should also point out that rooting your Android phone will stop your banking apps and Google Wallet from working. This makes sense as a way to protect the financial assets you have access to on your phone.
On the other hand, killing the platform that allows users to see read receipts, send longer messages, share higher-quality pictures and videos, see typing indicators, and get protection with end-to-end encryption seems like overkill. It appears designed to punish those who dare to root their Android phone.
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