Make more of mes­sages

Have more fun with mes­sag­ing in iOS 10

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

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.

Cross-plat­form com­plex­i­ties

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

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