For a while now, Google has really been pushing the issue with Apple around messaging. Noting that SMS should be a last resort, not the immediate fallback. The campaign has been running now for about a year, initially with Hiroshi Lockheimer offering Google’s assistance to improve messaging.

The offer of assistance turned towards that of an attack with a follow up in January, noting that iMessage locks users in. Since that time, Google has become even less subtle, outright asking when will Apple get the message?

It seems now that Google may be working on ways to sidestep Apple and improve the messaging experience without them. A post on Reddit noted that reactions can be sent to some user messages that originated from an iPhone. Some users in the thread have corroborated this from the Messages Beta with comments around the flow of messages:

Edit: version 20220916_00_RC00

Edit 2: Person on the other end of the thread gets a message in the format of (emoji) to “(message)”

So if you react to On my way with thumbs-up the message will look like πŸ‘ to “On my way”.

Now if the other user reacts to that message it screws everything up. You’ll get something like πŸ˜₯ to “πŸ‘ to “On my way””.

Theoretically, you could keep reacting for eternity, creating a chain of reaction messages that tear a hole in the space-time continuum.

It seems that iOS 16 can interpret these reactions effectively enough for the reaction to work well in messaging flow. So, perhaps Google has found a way to make this work, although it doesn’t increase the security of SMS vs an end-to-end encrypted message stream.

We’re yet to see the feature on any of our devices, even those on Messages Beta. Fingers crossed, Apple will see sense and accept this gracefully. How delightful would it be to have a single, harmonious and secure messaging pathway regardless of your chosen mobile OS?

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    I’ve seen this on my Messages ap – the react comes through from iPhones!


    Is this the same tapback feature that Apple is promoting on their iOS 16 page? I think yes?