5 iMessage Features Every New User Needs To Know

The iMessages application by Apple has emerged as one of the leading messaging platforms due to its support of features such as stickers, audio messages, and location sharing. Constant updates from Apple have only enhanced the experience over time.

While compatibility with Android remains uncertain, the most recent iOS 17 upgrade significantly improved Messages. This included a safety feature allowing users to share live locations with contacts to ensure safe travel.

However, new users of Apple devices or those yet to explore Messages fully may have difficulty discovering all it has to offer. To help with this, 5 key Message features are summarized here without requests for feedback or clarification.

01. Message and Sticker Reactions

Message and Sticker Reactions

Message reactions can serve as a useful acknowledgment tool when a full response may not be needed or possible. By reacting to a message, the recipient is notified that their message was received without triggering a “read” notification. Reactions allow the responder to attend to the message at a more convenient time.

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To apply a reaction, long press the desired message. This will display a popup menu with six reaction options: love, like, dislike, laugh, exclamation, and question mark. Select the emoji that best encapsulates the intended sentiment. The chosen reaction will then appear on the message for the sender to view.

If an incorrect reaction is applied in error, simply long-pressing the message again will allow it to be changed or removed by reselecting from the menu. Additionally, if none of the six standard reactions sufficiently convey the intended response, stickers can serve as an alternative. Provided compatible sticker packs have been downloaded, long-pressing a message will provide the option to add a sticker in place of an emoji reaction.

02. Inline Replies

When engaging in friendly banter on a group messaging platform, it is common for the conversation to quickly transition to new topics before one has had the opportunity to deliver a well-timed response. Should one think of a compelling retort sometime after the discussion has naturally progressed, directly inserting the reply at that point could confuse others without necessary context.

Fortunately, modern messaging services allow users to specifically target prior messages within a thread for response. By pressing and holding the desired original contribution, or swiping right on it, the option to post an inline reply becomes available.

Once the rebuttal has been composed and sent, the conversation stream is seamlessly resumed. This inline feature preserves the linkage between associated remarks while avoiding disruption of the ongoing exchange.

03. iMessage Automatically Revert to SMS at Times

iMessage Automatically Revert to SMS at Times

When first using Apple’s ecosystem, a user may notice some text messages appear in green bubbles while most others are blue. While the message bubble colors themselves cannot be altered, the two different shades help distinguish between an iMessage communication and a traditional SMS.

Currently, iMessage is only available to Apple users. Despite Apple confirming that Rich Communication Services (RCS) will come to the iPhone, there are no announced plans to bring iMessage to Android at this time. Therefore, iMessages can only be exchanged with individuals who own Apple devices and have iMessage enabled.

If communicating with anyone in this Apple user category, the messages will be transmitted in blue bubbles. Conversely, if the recipient employs an Android device or does not have iMessage activated, the message will be sent as a standard SMS displayed in a green bubble.

To send and receive iMessages, a stable Wi-Fi or cellular network connection is necessary. If Wi-Fi access is unavailable and an urgent message needs delivery, it can still be transmitted as a SMS even with iMessage activated.

To do so, long press the message as normally composed and select “Send as Text Message.” To pre-verify if a message will be transmitted via iMessage or SMS before sending, check if the send arrow icon is blue or green colored.

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04. Junk Reporting and Message Filtering

Junk Reporting and Message Filtering

Receiving unwanted messages can be quite bothersome. Whether from acquaintances or complete strangers, frequent notifications throughout the day are disruptive for users. Fortunately, the Messages application allows for filtering unknown senders. Users can enable this by accessing the Settings menu on their iPhone and selecting the Messages section.

Continuing down, the Filter Unknown Senders option can be turned on. Upon doing so, any messages from senders not in one’s contacts will be diverted to a separate folder rather than appearing directly in the inbox. Should a response be sent or the sender added to contacts, the messages will then transfer to the Known Senders folder.

Furthermore, disturbing or spam messages can be reported straight to Apple for review. The process does differ depending on if the message was opened already or not. Opened messages will show a Report Junk link at the bottom which simply needs to be selected followed by confirming deletion and reporting.

For unopened messages, swiping left displays a delete icon that once pressed allows deletion and reporting in the same step. It is important to avoid replying first so Apple can properly investigate upon submission of the report. Reported items will then automatically remove from the device while the details go to Apple for handling.

05. Audio Messages

Audio Messages

At times, communicating a message can prove challenging. Similarly, directly calling the intended recipient to convey information without texting may not always be the most convenient option. Often, the individual one aims to reach could fail to answer incoming calls.

Fortunately, like many messaging applications, the Messages app contains a feature termed voice messaging. To utilize the functionality, open a conversation or initiate a new one, then tap the Plus icon. Select Audio and record the message.

The audio message can now be reviewed by pressing play before sending, or additional content can be added by tapping the add icon. Alternatively, the message may be deleted by pressing cancel or sent by tapping the arrow icon.

What distinguishes the Messages app’s audio messaging feature from other applications is that audio messages are automatically erased two minutes after being sent or two minutes after the recipient listens to them. However, the message can be retained by tapping Keep.

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I'm Prince Likhon, I'm a 20-year-old CSE Graduate whose life's passion is Technology, and I'm on a mission to make the most FUN and USEFUL Tech article on the Planet!

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