Mes­sages: keep in touch

Mac Format - - YOSEMITE TIPS -

Mes­sages, Ap­ple’s Mac app for us­ing its iMes­sage sys­tem, as well as ser­vices from Google, Ya­hoo and oth­ers, gets some big up­dates in Yosemite. They’re all linked to iMes­sage, how­ever – support for other ser­vices is in­creas­ingly half-hearted.

The most sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion is the abil­ity to send and re­ceive SMS mes­sages from your Mac. It uses your iPhone as a re­lay, so you’ll need that switched on, close by, and on the same Wi-Fi net­work. You also need to be logged into the same iCloud ac­count on both de­vices.

Sound­bites is another ad­di­tion. It al­lows you to record audio snip­pets with your Mac’s mi­cro­phone and send them over iMes­sage. They ap­pear in the Mes­sages win­dow as graph­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tions of a sound wave inside a speech bub­ble, and can be played back by any­one us­ing the Mes­sages app on a Mac or iOS de­vice. Ex­change Sound­bites with some­one, and your Mes­sages win­dow fills up with speech bub­bles con­tain­ing sound waves, rather than text. The audio qual­ity isn’t ex­actly what you’d call bril­liant, sound­ing more like a tele­phone call (per­haps be­cause of the de­gree of com­pres­sion ap­plied to the audio file), but it’s good enough to hear what’s been said.

On the topic of speech bub­bles, th­ese now ap­pear flat in Mes­sages, to match the speech bub­bles in iOS (rather than the glassy tex­tured bub­bles in Mav­er­icks).

Group mes­sag­ing has also been beefed up. A new De­tails but­ton al­lows you to share your lo­ca­tion with oth­ers in the group, us­ing Find My Friends be­hind the scenes. Do that and a map ap­pears with your friends’ lo­ca­tions marked on it. You can also start phone calls or FaceTime ses­sions with in­di­vid­ual group mem­bers from within Mes­sages, and you can give the group chat ses­sion a spe­cific name.

If you want to leave a group con­ver­sa­tion, you can do that by click­ing Leave Con­ver­sa­tion. The Do Not Dis­turb but­ton switches off new mes­sage no­ti­fi­ca­tions.

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