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sms

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[Update: Rollout resumes with July patch] Xiaomi Mi A1 now receiving Android 8.1 Oreo update, but it might wipe your SMS history

We're big fans of the Android One-powered Xiaomi Mi A1 here at AP. Its combination of a handsome design, top-of-the-line software, great performance, and solid battery life makes it one of the best budget phones out there (even if it's not officially sold in the US). The phone received Android 8.0 Oreo just before 2018 kicked off, but it's taken until now for 8.1 Oreo to roll out. Unfortunately, it comes with two pretty major bugs.

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Weekend poll: Do you regularly use SMS?

The subject of text messaging has been in the news a bit recently, from our own upset at Fi's lack of RCS support to T-Mobile's recent (and last-minute) announcement of rolling out RCS Universal Profile to its customers—at least, those with a Samsung Galaxy S 7/Edge. As is always the case, interest seems to be mixed when it comes to this migration, with some of our audience happy to see SMS slowly being replaced with RCS, while others couldn't care less what standard the carriers use. That makes us curious as to how many of our readers still regularly use SMS.

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Why doesn't Project Fi support RCS yet, Google?

Back in April, Google announced that it was pausing work on its Allo chat client to focus more on its RCS-enabled texting app, Android Messages. News of an upcoming web client for Messages was released alongside the announcement (something we’d known about for months), making it seem like Google was all-in on its SMS and RCS platform going forward. Now, that web client has arrived, and RCS continues its rollout around the world. The one, slight wrinkle? Google’s branded carrier, Project Fi, doesn’t even support RCS. And there’s still no timeline as to when it will.

RCS (Rich Communication Services) has been hailed as the ‘iMessage for Android,’ meant to finally bridge the feature gap between Apple’s closed communication platform and the ancient SMS standard.

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[Update: Available to all] Android Messages web interface is starting to roll out, but the app needs an update

Google has been planning a web version of Android Messages for months—we've seen it appear in teardown, after teardown, after teardown. Now, it's finally starting to show up for users. Well, sort of. The web interface has gone live, but the app doesn't appear to understand that yet.

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Google Voice consolidates your message history, integrates GV messages from Hangouts

Back in February, we noticed in a teardown for the Google Voice app that support for text messages originally sent via Hangouts was coming to the app. Note, this is for SMS sent over the Google Voice system, not the old Hangouts SMS integration that died last year. Based on recent reports, that feature is now rolling out to a wider audience.

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InBrief
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Project Fi hit by SMS outage, restoration in progress

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Pulse SMS v3.0 beta includes folders, code copying, custom swipe actions, and more [APK Download]

SMS on Android has always been a little bit problematic, with Google's stock offering never able to really compete with iMessage — although it's set to improve somewhat with the introduction of a web client and more advanced RCS capabilities. For users who want a more advanced SMS experience right now, Pulse is one of the best options.

Developer Luke Klinker has just announced the version 3.0 beta, including a number of useful additions such as folders for better organization, easy copying of one-time/2FA codes from the notification (coincidently added in Android Messages the other day), and support for customizing conversation list swipe actions.

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Android Messages 3.2 adds 2FA code copy shortcuts [APK Download]

Two-factor authentication is a great way to make your accounts more secure, but using SMS messages for the codes is a bit of a hassle: request code, switch apps, copy code, switch apps, paste code (or read and remember the code, but what is this, the 1840s?). Android Messages has a new trick that makes the process a little easier: it now parses 2FA codes from texts and presents the option to copy them with a single tap.

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How to back up your SMS text messages on Android

Much of the world has moved on from SMS, but it's still one of the most popular methods of sending messages in the US. It's an unfortunate requirement here for many, and it probably will be until RCS gets off the ground. And if you're the data-hoarding type, then you might want to keep those SMS messages around for later reference—either in cold storage or an easily accessed format. But even bringing them with you from device to device isn't actually that hard, and we're glad to walk you through the different ways to do it. 

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New 'self-destructing' confidential emails being tested in Gmail

It's no secret that Gmail is getting a redesign, but it looks like some new non-visual features may also be inbound. TechCrunch is reporting that "self-destructing" confidential emails with a configurable expiration date are coming to Gmail. Best of all, we can see what these new emails will look like and how they generally behave. 

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