10 things you didn't know you could do in Apple Messages

10 things you didn’t know you could do in Apple Messages

Apple Messages seems to get new or improved features with each release of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. With this frequency of additions, it’s easy to miss one, so here are a few features you may have missed.

Note: All features are available when messaging Apple users using iMessage. Some features are compatible with other types of devices, such as Android phones, but may appear or function slightly differently.

Edit recently sent messages

New in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, you can edit a text message up to 15 minutes after it’s sent.

RELATED: How to Unsend or Edit iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold a sent message bubble, or right-click on a Mac. Select “Edit”, make your changes in the text message box that appears and tap the check mark to save the change.

Edit the text in Messages

Recipients will see an Edited indicator below the message and can select and view the original message.

Edited text in News

Undo the send for the last message

Along with the aforementioned Edit feature, Apple introduced the ability to unsend a text message. It’s similar to bringing up an email in Outlook or Gmail. You can unsend a message up to two minutes after sending it.

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold a sent message bubble, or right-click on a Mac. Select “Cancel Send”. You will then see the message disappear in a puff of smoke.

Undo Send in Messages

Please note that your recipient can see the message before you send it. However, he disappears from the conversation.

Use inline answers to organize your answers

One feature that can help you keep your responses organized is embedded responses. This comes in handy when you’re quickly texting back and forth and want to make it clear which message you’re replying to in the conversation.

RELATED: How to use inline replies in Messages on iPhone and iPad

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold a sent message bubble, or right-click on a Mac. Select “Reply”. You’ll see the specific message you want to reply to front and center, the rest will be blurred. Type your reply in the message field and send as usual.

Reply to text in News

You and your recipient will then see a line connecting the reply to the message in the main conversation. Click the Reply or Replies link below the message to see the entire “side conversation” with the rest blurred out.

View the embedded reply in Messages

Track flights and packages

If you receive a message with a passenger’s flight number or shipment tracking number, you can check the status of each directly in the Messages app.

Tap the number on iPhone and iPad, or simply click on it on Mac. Select “Flight Preview” for the flight and “Track Shipment” for the package.

Flight preview and shipment tracking in messages

You will then see either a small pop-up window or a separate open window showing the flight or package status. You can also get other available details such as departure and arrival time or the current location of the package.

Flight and package status in Messages

Replace words with emoticons

You may have noticed that when you type certain words into the message box on your iPhone or iPad, you have the option to insert emoticons. But you can also do this after you finish writing the whole message for all the words where an emoticon is available.

RELATED: How to quickly select Emoji in messages on iPhone or iPad

On your iPhone or iPad, type your message in the text field, but don’t send it completely yet. Instead, open the Emoji keyboard using the icon at the bottom left.

In the message, you’ll see all words that have matching emoticons highlighted. Tap the highlighted word to replace it with an emoticon. For some words, different options may appear directly above the word for you to choose.

Words highlighted and replaced with emoticons in Messages

Use a mention to grab attention

While this feature works in one-on-one conversations, it’s especially useful in group messages. You can mention a person in a message, which will then highlight their name in bold and send them a notification.

On your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, start typing a contact’s name, then select it from the options that appear. Alternatively, type the @ (At) symbol followed by their name.

Mention in news

Your recipient sees your name nice and bold to grab their attention.

Note: You can control mention notifications in Messages. On iPhone and iPad, go to Settings > Messages and use the Notify switch. On a Mac, go to Messages > Settings > General and use the Notify me when my name is mentioned checkbox.

RELATED: 10 Hidden Mac Features You Should Be Using

Hand writing or sketching a message

If you want to try something a little different with your next message, how about writing it by hand or drawing a picture? You can do it on iPhone and iPad, and it only takes a minute to personalize your message.

On your iPhone, turn your device sideways so you’re in landscape view. You can use either view on iPad. Select the scribble icon at the bottom right of the keyboard.

The Scribbles key on the iPhone keyboard

You’ll see a blank canvas on which you can write or draw with your finger (or Apple Pencil on iPad). You can also see recent drawings and designs to choose from below. Add your message and click “Done”.

Handwriting canvas in Messages

You will then see your manuscript or sketch in the text message field. Simply send it like any other message.

Send handwritten text in Messages

Filter messages

Tap or click to apply filters to quickly view your unread messages, messages from known or unknown senders, or texts you’ve recently deleted.

RELATED: How to hide spam texts from unknown senders on iPhone

On iPhone and iPad, tap the Filters arrow at the top left of the main Messages screen. Then select the option you want to filter by and view your results.

Filters in Messages on iPhone

On a Mac, select “View” from the menu bar. Then select the filter you want to use to display the results.

Filters in Messages on Mac

Click the Quick Response button

One of the fastest ways to confirm text in Messages is Tapback. You can respond with a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, laugh, exclamation mark or question mark.

RELATED: How to Reply with Tapback in Messages on iPhone and iPad

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold a message, and on Mac, right-click on it and select “Tapback.” Select the reaction you want to send and that’s it. Your recipient will see a reaction icon in the corner of the message bubble.

Tapback in News

Note: On older versions of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, recipients will see a text label instead of an icon.

Send bubble or screen effects

Another feature that is just plain fun is the message effects. You can share your message with a bubble effect like “loud” or “invisible ink” or with a screen effect like laser or fireworks.

On iPhone and iPad, write a message, then tap and hold the Send button. A screen with tabs for the available Bubble and Screen effects will appear at the top. Select one to preview and simply click submit for the one you want.

Effects in Messages on iPhone

On a Mac, type a message, select the big A icon to the left of the message field, and choose “Message Effects.” You will see all bubble and screen effects together on one screen. Select one to preview and click Submit to apply.

Effects in Messages on Mac

Your recipient will see your effect the first time they see your message. They can also tap Play above the message bubble to enjoy it again.

With these handy messaging features, you can fix a sent message, track delivery, view only the messages you need, and send something funny to a friend. Are you like us and can’t wait to see what Apple brings to the Message next?

RELATED: 10 Cool iPhone Features You Should Be Using

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