Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024


Key Takeaways

  • RCS can have issues such as disconnections and failure to connect, similar to SMS. Troubleshooting steps can help resolve these problems.
  • Checking the RCS connection status on your Android phone and trying different options in sequential order can help fix the issues.
  • If all else fails, you can disable RCS on your phone and the server side, but you can re-enable it later if desired. Keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of reconnection attempts each day.


RCS is supposed to be the successor to SMS, but it’s far from a perfect system. You can run into any number of issues with the service—disconnections, failure to connect, and more. Fortunately, there are a few fixes that you can try if you find yourself having problems with Google Messages.

In order to use RCS, you need an Android phone and the Google Messages app. RCS Chats (formerly nicknamed “Google Chat” or “Chat Features”) include things such as read receipts, typing indicators, and higher-quality media sharing. However, similarly to iMessage, you may run into some issues along the way, especially if you switch devices.

Ultimately, there are several things you can try. If none of those work, the nuclear option is to totally disconnect RCS/Google Chat on the server side. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here—let’s first look at how to check the status of RCS on your device.


How to Check the RCS Connection Status on Android

If you know your phone has RCS, and you’re having trouble sending messages, checking the status of RCS chat features on your phone is a good place to start.

To see if RCS is connected, first open the Messages app. From there, tap your profile photo in the upper right corner and choose “Messages Settings” from the menu.

A screenshot of the menu in the Messages app

In the Settings menu, tap on “RCS Chats.”

A screenshot of the Settings menu with Chat features highlighted

If the Status shows “Connected” for your SIM card, then you’re good to go. If you’re having issues with messaging, then it’s likely another issue.

A screenshot of the Chat features menu showing a Connected status

If it’s not connected, however, then it’s time to start troubleshooting. Stay in this menu, though—it’s where you’ll start.

While the following solutions are listed as “options,” they’re designed to be executed in sequential order. They’re laid out from easiest and least destructive to hardest and most aggressive, so start with the first one!

Option One: Toggle Chat Features and Restart

While you’re in that Chat features menu, go ahead and hit the “Enable chat features” toggle to disable it.

Once disabled, go ahead and restart your phone. Long press the power button, then tap “Restart.”

A screenshot of Android's restart menu

When it boots back up, use the directions above to jump back into the RCS Chats menu. Tap the “Turn On RCS Chats” toggle and see if it connects. With a little luck, that did the trick. But if not, keep reading.

Option Two: Clear Storage for Messages

If you’ve been an Android user for any reasonable length of time, you’ve likely done the Clear Cache song and dance. Guess what? This is no different. Okay, maybe it’s slightly different—you need to first enable Airplane Mode.

Pull down the notification bar to show the Quick Settings menu. Find the Airplane Mode button (you may have to scroll through several pages of the menu to find it). Keep in mind that this will disable all network connections, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile data, at the very least.

A screenshot of Android's Quick Setting menu, showing the Airplane Mode toggle

Tap the gear icon to jump into the Settings menu.

Android's notification shade wit the setting button highlighted

Now go to the “Apps” section (or some variation of this—each Android manufacturer out there will have some version of this option) and find the Messages app.

Android's Settings menu with the Messages app highlighted

Open the storage submenu and tap “Clear Data” or “Clear Storage.”

The Storage and cache entry

Disable Airplane Mode, restart your phone, and then re-check RCS status using the method outlined above. If it reconnects, congratulations—you’re good to go. If not, well, it’s time to keep trying.

Option Three: Clear Storage for Carrier Services

Same song, different dance. Once again, go ahead and enable Airplane Mode.

A screenshot of Android's Quick Setting menu, showing the Airplane Mode toggle

From there, open the Settings menu.

Android's notification shade wit the setting button highlighted

Go to the “Apps” section again, and this time find “Carrier Services.” If you don’t see it, tap the three dots in the upper right corner, and select “Show system.”

Android settings menu with Carrier Services highlighted

Open the storage submenu and tap “Clear Data” or “Clear Storage.”

The Storage and cache entry

Disable Airplane Mode, restart your phone and then re-check RCS status using the method outlined above. If it reconnects, you’re good to go. If not, we’ll need to keep digging. From this point forward, the options get more and more aggressive.

Option Four: Reset Network Options

At this point, we’re starting to get a little desperate. Resetting Network options will nuke all of your wireless connections—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and mobile data. That means you’ll have to set everything up like it’s the first time again, which can be irritating. Alas, if it fixes your RCS issues, maybe it’s worth it?

First, jump back into the Settings menu.

Android's notification shade wit the setting button highlighted

Use the search bar to find the “Reset Network Settings” menu.

Searching for reset network settings in the android settings app

Choose “Reset Network Settings” again.

The reset options menu

A warning will pop up to let you know that this will erase all network settings—a necessary evil. Tap the “Reset Network Settings” button.

The network reset warning dialog

This will take a few minutes, and afterward, you’ll want to set up all your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. But first, head back into the Messages app and recheck the RCS status. Connected? Yay! Still nothing? Oof. Time to go nuclear, at least for now.

Nuclear Option: Disable RCS Completely

If none of the above options worked, then it’s time to let go of RCS for the time being. It’s absolutely frustrating to have your messages end up in the abyss, so at least you can fall back to SMS for now. This is a two-step process, but it’s not hard. So tell RCS you love it because it’s time to put it to sleep.

Basically, you’re going to go all the way back to option one here and disable RCS on your phone. Jump into the Messages app and tap your profile icon in the upper right, then select “Messages Settings.”

A screenshot of the menu in the Messages app

Next, tap on “RCS Chats.”

A screenshot of the Settings menu with Chat features highlighted

Tap the toggle beside “Turn On RCS Chats.” This will disable RCS on your phone.

showing the Chat features toggle in Messages

But that doesn’t always fix the issue both ways—you might be able to send messages over SMS after this, but there’s a good chance messages coming back to you will still come in over RCS. That means you won’t get them, so you’ll also need to disable RCS on the server side.

First, head over to Google’s Disable Chat page and scroll to the bottom. Here, you’ll input your phone number, and Google will send a six-digit code for verification, which you’ll input into the second box.

disabling RCS on the server side using Google's web tool

After verifying your phone number, Chat/RCS should be completely disabled so you can at least send and receive messages over SMS/MMS.

Keep Trying to Re-enable Chat Features if You Still Want to Use RCS

Fortunately, completely disabling RCS doesn’t put you out forever, as you can re-enable it whenever you want. There isn’t an exact science here, but I’d wait at least 24 hours before trying to reenable it after the nuclear option. That will at least give everything some time to reset.

Hopefully, it will reconnect instantly on the first try. But if not, you can continue to disable/enable it unit it finally reconnects, even if that takes a few days. Just keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of times Messages will attempt to reconnect to RCS each day, so toggle it sparingly.



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By John P.

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