The Pixel 5 with Google Chat features connected
Cameron Summerson

RCS is supposed to be the successor to SMS, but it’s far from a perfect system. Currently, you could 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 in this situation.

Recently, I dealt with one such issue. Throughout the four days I went without access to RCS (also called Google Chat or Chat Features)—during which times many of my messages went into the abyss, never to be seen by human eyes—I stumbled across a bunch of different fixes. I also talked with Google Pixel support and tried a few others.

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 Google Chat features.

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 Chat features on your phone is a good place to start.

To see if Chat features are connected, first open the Messages app. From there, tap the three dots in the upper right corner.

Choose “Settings.”

In the Settings menu, tap on “Chat features.”

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If the Status shows as Connected, then you’re good to go. If you’re having issues with messaging, then it’s likely another issue.

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

Note: 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.”

When it boots back up, use the directions above to jump back into the Chat Features menu. Tap the “Enable chat features” 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.

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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.

Tap the gear icon to jump into the Settings menu.

Android's notification shade wit the setting button highlighted

In this menu, scroll through until you find “Apps & Notifications” (or some variation of this—each Android manufacturer out there will have some version of this option).

Android's Settings menu with the Apps & notifications entry highlighted

If you’ve recently opened Messages, it should be at the top of this list. If not, tap on “See all # apps.”

The Apps & notifications menu

If you have to sort through all apps, scroll down until you see Messages.

The all apps menu with Messages highlighted

Once opened, tap on “Storage & cache.”

The Storage and cache entry

Tap on “Clear Storage.”

The Clear Storage option

Disabled Airplane Mode, restart your phone, then re-check Chat 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.

From there, open the Settings menu.

Android's notification shade wit the setting button highlighted

Then find the “Apps & Notifications” option.

Android's Settings menu with the Apps & notifications entry highlighted

Tap on the “Seel all # apps” option.

The All Apps option in the Apps & notifications menu

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Tap the three dots in the upper right corner. Select “Show system.” This forces the menu not only to show apps you installed but also proprietary system applications, like the one we’re looking for.

The Show System menu option

Scroll down until you find Carrier Services.

The Carrier Services entry in the All Apps list

Tap on this entry, then “Storage & cache.”

The Storage & cache option in the Carrier Settings menu

Tap “Clear storage.”

The Clear Storage option for Carrier Services

Disable Airplane Mode, restart your phone, then re-check Chat 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

Then scroll all the way down to the “System” entry and tap into this menu.

The System option in Android's Settings menu

From there, tap on “Advanced” to expand the menu, then “Reset options.”

The Reset options entry in the Advanced System menu

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Choose the first option in this menu: “Reset Wi-Fi, mobile & Bluetooth.”

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 settings” button.

The network reset warning dialog

You’ll need to input your pattern, PIN, or password here to proceed. Finally, tap the Reset Settings button, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

The final network reset 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 Chat 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 now. 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.

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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 the three dots in the upper right.

From there, select “Settings.”

Next, tap on “Chat features.”

Tap the toggle beside “Enable chat feature.” 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. 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 Chat isn’t the end of RCS, 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.

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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 Chat will attempt to reconnect each day, so toggle it sparingly.

Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and serves as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He’s been covering technology for nearly a decade and has written over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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