With the release of iOS 10, Apple completely revamped its iMessage platform, transforming it from a simple SMS replacement to a feature-packed messaging experience. We love it, and we’re sure you do as well, but are you aware of all the little features it contains, and how to access them? Maybe not, because although Apple is usually good at making its software rather easy to use, iMessage makes use of new techniques that may not be familiar. Whether you’re an iOS newbie or a seasoned veteran, here’s how to get the most from iMessage on your iPhone.
Getting started with iMessage
Does it work on my phone?
To use the new iMessage platform, you need to have iOS 10 installed on your phone, and so do the people you’re messaging. It’s worth mentioning, for those completely unfamiliar with iMessage, that it’s purely Apple-to-Apple, and you can’t send an iMessage to an Android phone (or vice versa).
You can send iMessages to iPhones, iPads, iPods, and MacOS installed on laptops and desktop computers, provided you’re signed in to the same iCloud account on all devices. There are a few settings to enable on each device to make this happen. It’s also easy to know whether you’re exchanging iMessages with someone, given the chat balloons are blue instead of the green that denotes SMS messages.
On your iOS device, ensure iMessage is activated by checking the following:
Go to Settings > General, and scroll down to Messages. The iMessage slider should be in the on position. One other important thing to note is that if you have Reduce Motion turned on, then the animations don’t work. Go to Settings, General, and Accessibility to turn the feature off if they’re not working.
In MacOS, find the Messages icon in the Dock, open it, and open Accounts from the Messages menu in the top-left portion of the screen. Here, enter your associated Apple ID and password, then click Sign In. Your messages and contacts should then sync. The difference between the two is that not all iOS 10’s super effects, apps, and GIFs show up on your Mac, nor can they be sent out via your computer.
Use iMessage on your iPhone
Sending and receiving iMessages is no different than sending and receiving SMS message, and it’s all done through the default Messages app installed in iOS. If you’ve used iMessage before and this is your first time using the new app, you’ll notice some changes. The most obvious are the three icons in the bottom left of the screen, which are the gateway to most of iMessage’s new features.
We’ll dig into iMessage’s cool features in a moment — let’s deal with sending messages first. To send a message, simply enter what you want to say into the text field in iMessage and tap the blue arrow to send it. Before you do, however, hold down the arrow to bring up additional options.
The first of two menu screens will appear, giving you the chance to add a new effect to your message. Slam, Loud, Gentle, and Invisible Ink all see your words accompanied by the corresponding effect, which gives them more impact and allows you to convey an emotion. Just tap which one you want to apply the effect and send your message.
If none of the aforementioned text effects seem appealing, tap the Screen option and select a screen effect. You can use balloons, fireworks, lasers, confetti, or a shooting star to alter the look of the screen when the message arrives. If none of these are suitable, just tap “X” to return to the standard message view.
Reactions are another fun feature. Rather than add an emoji after a message comes through, how about adding your reaction to the message itself? Say you get a message you agree with, and you want to give it the thumbs up. Long press the message, and a series of reactions will appear. These include a heart, a thumbs up or down, an exclamation point, a question mark, and a “Haha.” Simply tap the appropriate reaction to affix it to the message balloon.