Lock Symbol On Text Messages Meaning & How to Remove It

August 16, 2023 0 By tech

When you see a lock symbol on your text messages in Android, it means your messages are protected and private. This symbol often appears when you’re using RCS in the Google Messages app.

Why is There a Lock Symbol on My Text Messages?

The lock symbol means your messages are end-to-end encrypted. Your messages are private and can only be read by you and the person you’re texting. No one else, not even the app or phone company, can see them. The lock symbol will show when you enable RSC chats that ussually enable by default.

What is RCS?

RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is the next generation of texting for Android. It’s designed to replace the outdated SMS (Short Message Service) that has been in use since the 90s.

Here’s what RCS brings to the table:

  • Chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data: No need for a cellular connection to send messages.
  • High-resolution photos and videos: Say goodbye to pixelated images and grainy videos.
  • Read receipts and typing indicators: Know when your message has been seen and when someone is replying.
  • Group chat management: Easily add or remove people from group chats.

Note: RCS has been developed to potentially replace the default way text messages are sent between a variety of phones.

How to Remove the Lock Symbol

If you don’t want to see the lock symbol or use encrypted messages, you can turn it off RCS chats feature. Here’s how:

1. Open the Google Messages app on your Android phone.

Google Message App Settings

2. Tap on your profile picture.

3. Choose Message Settings.

4. Go to RCS chats.

5. Find the option that says Turn on RCS Chats and turn it off.

RCS Settings

The steps above should be the same on all Android phone like Samsung, LG, and other brands.

How to Enable RCS on Google Messages

If you’re an Android user eager to try out RCS, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Open Google Messages.
  2. Click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Go to Chat Features.
  5. Toggle on Enable Chat Features. If it’s enabled, you’ll see a status saying “Connected”.
  6. To check if someone else has RCS enabled, open a chat with them. If the text box says “Chat Message”, RCS is enabled. If it says “Text Message”, it’s not.

Tip: Once RCS is on, you can see typing indicators, read receipts, and send high-resolution photos and videos.

RCS Adoption and Challenges

While RCS sounds fantastic, its adoption has been slower than expected. Here’s why:

  1. Carrier Support: Not all carriers support RCS. For instance, Verizon began its support in 2022, T-Mobile in 2020, and AT&T in 2021. Many carriers worldwide are still in the process of rolling it out.
  2. Device and App Limitations: The adoption of RCS depends on the type of Android phone, its operating system, and whether the user has opted into the RCS services in the Google Messages app.
  3. Both Parties Need RCS: Even if you have RCS enabled, the person you’re texting also needs to have it enabled to access all its features.

Important: Many Android users haven’t enabled RCS either because they don’t know how or haven’t felt the need to. This contrasts with iPhone users who are automatically enrolled into iMessage.

The Android-Apple Disconnect

A significant point of contention has been the incompatibility between RCS and Apple’s iMessage. Here’s the crux of the issue:

  • Green vs. Blue Bubbles: When an iPhone user texts an Android user, the message is sent via SMS, turning the text bubble green. Many iPhone users prefer the blue bubbles of iMessage, which indicate enhanced features.
  • Apple’s Stance: Apple has not incorporated RCS, which some argue holds back the industry and user experience for both Android and iPhone users.

Note: The blue bubble-green bubble distinction is mainly a concern in the US. In other countries, third-party apps like WhatsApp are more commonly used.