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Google Messages is starting to roll out custom RCS colors


Google Messages is leading the charge with RCS customization options for Android users.
Custom color themes are now available in RCS chats for some beta testers, offering vibrant options for chat bubbles and backgrounds.
While the feature is not app-wide and only works in RCS chats, it provides a fun and personalized touch to messaging.

It may not have the global adoption rates of WhatsApp or the mindshare of iMessage, but RCS is a big deal — particularly in the US, where a huge percentage of Android users are now chatting with the updated standard meant to replace MMS and SMS. Over the years, Google Messages has become the de facto home for RCS as the company continues to add features to both its app and its Jibe platform to help push the ecosystem forward. Now, RCS chats are gaining a significant customization option for some.


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Custom RCS color themes are rolling out

A tipster pointed out to us that the custom background and chat bubble color options spotted in development last November are rolling out to some beta testers today. We can confirm that we’re seeing the new setting on some devices after updating from version 20240228 to version 20240308, but there appears to be a server-side component involved as well, since not all of our devices got the feature after updating.

If you’re one of the lucky few, you can check out the new color options by tapping the three-dot menu button inside any chat thread and selecting Change colors from the overflow menu. Alternatively, you can go to the overflow menu, then select Details or Group details, and you’ll find the Change colors option just beneath the images and videos section. Here, you’ll be presented with a thumbnail view of nine different color options for that particular chat or group thread.

Screenshot of Google Messages' new Screenshot showing the new color options for RCS chats in Google Messages

The default theme (top-left) uses Material You dynamic theming to pull its subtle accent colors from your device wallpaper, but the other eight options use more vibrant colors for sent-message bubbles and backgrounds. There is no app-wide option, at least not that we found in our testing, but this is understandable since the feature only works in RCS chats and not SMS message threads or MMS group chats.

Default theme (left) compared to a color theme (right) in dark and light modes

When you select a new color for any thread, you’ll see a message at the bottom of the screen that says “You changed the theme.” Next to this, a Change link is provided to quickly jump to the settings page where you can switch back or select a different theme. Interestingly, this message didn’t show up on the recipient’s end in our testing, but it did show up on Google Messages for the web, even though the themes aren’t currently supported there.

Thanks: Hamzah and Moshe

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