Make more of messages
Have more fun with messaging in iOS 10
Messages may well be the most changed app in iOS 10 thanks to a raft of new features for conversations using Apple’s
iMessage service. At last, you can liven up your conversations with all sorts of effects and rich interactions, not just text and emoji.
For starters, you can send messages with special effects so that they slam down on the screen, are obscured with an ‘invisible ink’ effect that the recipient must swipe over to reveal your message, or are accompanied by a parade of balloons that float up and off the screen. Note, though, that only other people on iOS 10 see these features at their best; on older versions, and even on macOS Sierra, the recipient will see a textual description of whatever effect you apply to a message.
Messages now has its own App Store, which provides downloads of apps and sticker packs for you to use in conversations. You can send stickers like photos, or you can affix them to specific positions over a message bubbles. Apps enable all sorts of things in Messages. For example, you can run a poll among friends, share to-do lists, or look up and share info from services such as OpenTable, Yelp and IMDB right from within a conversation.
If those features are a bit much for you, perhaps you indulge in fun with emoji. After typing a message, tap the emoji key and words that can be replaced are highlighted; tap those words you want to replace – each is optional.
Bear in mind that many features only work in iMessage conversations. However, stickers work in regular ones too, where they’re sent using MMS. That can quickly rack up a bill with your mobile network – you can take steps to prevent that happening, though.
If you can remember iMessages have blue bubbles and regular SMS and MMS ones have green ones, you can work out whether sending a sticker will cost you money or come from your data allowance. This isn’t foolproof, as Messages falls back on SMS and MMS if it can’t reach Apple’s service. The safest solution all round is to go to Settings > Messages and turn off MMS Messaging. You might instead simply choose to enable Low-Quality Image Mode in that location to save a little bandwidth.
In the same place, check that you’re signed in to iMessage. With that done, let’s try out the mix of fun and practical new features in the latest version of Messages. Alan Stonebridge
Messages now enables you to collaborate more closely, apply special effects, and much more