5 Hidden iPhone Features That Will Take iMessage to the Next Level


Apple’s iMessage app is one of the most popular chat apps out there. And yet, there’s no denying that iMessage’s feature set is curiously limited compared to a range of rival chat platforms. Apple, however, is aware of this and is thankfully taking steps to bolster iMessage.

A few years ago, Apple started adding some welcome new features to iMessage. And while Apple’s progress in this area is measured, it’s reassuring to know that Apple remains invested in improving the iMessage experience.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the five coolest iMessage tips and tricks currently available in iOS 15.

Reply to a specific message with “inline replies”

As popular and ubiquitous as iMessage is, it still lacks many features common to other chat apps like WhatsApp. Apple, however, is slowly but surely catching up. A prime example of this involves inline responses.

Imagine, for example, a large group chat where people are exchanging messages at a rapid pace. If you want to reply to a message that was sent 12 chats ago, the lack of context will likely confuse others. With inline replies, you can reply to a previous text while clearly indicating which text you’re replying to.

To use this iMessage feature, just long press on the message you want to reply to. Select the Reply button, then type your message.

Tag a friend in a group chat with this iMessage feature

If you want to grab the attention of a specific person in a large group chat, iMessage allows you to tag them. To use this feature, start typing the name of the person you want to tag in the reply field. Make sure the name you type is exactly the same as the one that appears in your contact list.

As you do, you’ll see their name change color. If you then click on the name, you can tap on a contact card which will turn it into a blue tag. Now when the message is sent, the recipient will see a notification.

Filter SMS from scammers and unknown numbers

When the frequency of scam calls started to skyrocket a few years ago, Apple thankfully introduced new features designed to send calls from unknown numbers straight to voicemail. And while scam text messages aren’t as ubiquitous as scam calls, there’s a similar feature in iMessage that allows users to filter out texts from unknown numbers.

These messages are then collected in a separate and singular list that you can consult at your leisure.

To enable this feature, go to Settings > Messages > Filter unknown senders. Flip the setting to the on position and you’ll be good to go. You can see what messages show up here by opening the Messages app and then selecting the “Unknown senders” list. It should be noted that if you frequently use services like Uber and Door Dash, you may miss many messages from couriers if you keep this setting enabled.

Spice up your texting with chat and screen effects

Chat effects were first introduced in iOS 11. While it’s a cool feature, it’s probably not as widely used as Apple hoped. Still, if you’re hoping to add flair to your texting, this is one iMessage feature worth highlighting.

With this iMessage feature, you can send text messages with corresponding chat screen effect. You might want to do this for comedic effect or even to emphasize a particular point.

To get started, just type a message and long press the blue up arrow key. By doing so, you will see a selection of screen effects to choose from. You have Slam, Loud, Gentle, and Invisible Ink. Note that Invisible Ink keeps the message hidden until a user swipes to reveal it. The Soft option sends text in a smaller font.

Also, if you bring up this chat effects menu, you’ll see an option to switch to a screen effects menu. This houses options like Echo, Balloons, Spotlight, Lasers, Fireworks, etc.

Pin a conversation for easy access

We have already discussed this iMessage trick, but it is worth reviewing it in case you are not familiar with it. Originally introduced as a feature in iOS 14, iMessage now lets you pin a conversation to the top of the chat queue. This is extremely useful if there is a friend or a group chat that you always want quick and easy access to.

This feature is also useful if there is a thread with important information that you need to check often.

Pinning a conversation to the top of your iMessage list is simple. All you have to do is long-press on a conversation and an option to pin the conversation should appear. From there, you’ll see this conversation at the top of the pile when you open Messages.

Note that with this iMessage feature, you can pin multiple conversations.

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