Apple gets credit for Google adding iMessage reactions on Android

Prior to “Received Message” in August, the Android Messages app was updated with iMessage feedback at the beginning of this year. In a very strange turn of events, Apple appears to be taking credit for adding Google iMessage Feedback on Android.

as such Spotted by David Emile Today, Apple’s “All New Features” page for iOS 16 lists the following addition to the Messages app:

SMS Tapbacks on Android

Reply to SMS messages with Tapback, and the corresponding emoji reaction will appear on the recipients’ Android devices.

This text was added to the page recently, likely with the launch of iOS 16 earlier this month. It was not included during the iOS 16 preview cycle over the summer.

In late January, Google announced that its Messages app would convert iMessage reactions (known as “Tapbacks”) that iPhone users can send. Instead of appearing as annoying text (like the lovable “test” in the example below), it gets translated and appears in the corner of the message bubble, similar to the iPhone to iPhone experience.

Apple seems to be taking credit for Google adding iMessage reactions to the Android Messages app in a rather strange and not realistic decision. While Apple’s description reflects the end-user experience, iMessage interactions on Android are not a result of the new iPhone operating system or anything Apple has done/contributed. Introduced during the iOS 15 era, this feature is not available for all Android SMS/RCS apps, only the default Google client.

One possible explanation is that Apple’s marketing copy confuses a Google feature with a similar feature added by iOS 16. If the iPhone owner is in a group chat with Android and other iOS users, all messages are sent via SMS, rather than iMessage. Prior to iOS 16, Tapbacks were sent as SMS text messages. In those cases, iOS 16 now, like Google, turns Tapbacks for iPhone users so that only emojis appear. However, if that’s the feature Apple describes – it doesn’t appear on the page – the version need not mention Android.

This of course follows Tim Cook’s saying “I don’t hear our users asking us to put too much energy on that” in a statement on RCS for iPhone earlier this month.

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