Google Messages rolls out custom RCS conversation color themes more widely

Back in November, Google announced some new features for its Messages app as part of its celebration for reaching a one billion monthly active RCS users milestone. Many of these promised features, such as animated emoji, Photomoji and screen effects, have already been rolled out to users. However, there is one feature that has taken quite a while to roll out widely: custom themes.Custom themes were announced as a customization feature that would allow users to change the bubble and background colors of individual conversations. Presumably, this feature was to help eliminate the limitations of blue versus green bubbles and to aid users with differentiating conversations.

However, according to Android Police, it appears that this feature is currently receiving a wider rollout. Although some users started seeing this option with the latest version of the Google Messages app in beta (v20240308), I received the update myself without updating my app (still in beta version 20240228), suggesting that this is a server-side push.To check if the feature is available to you, you will first make sure you are in an RCS chat, as this feature does not work with SMS/MMS conversations. Once inside any chat thread, tap on the three dot menu and select “Change colors.” This will then open the UI for changing themes, showing you all the color options available, including the default.

Theming options on a Google Pixel device

Theming options on a Samsung Galaxy device

It should be noted that this works slightly differently on Pixel devices that use Material You dynamic theming. When I tested on a Pixel, the theme affected both the background of the conversation and the bubble color. On a Samsung Galaxy device, though, it only altered the bubble color.

Additionally, when you successfully change the theme, you receive a small notification at the bottom that reads “You changed the theme,” which also gives you a quick shortcut to change the theme again. Happy theming!

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