iOS 10 Hand-on: What’s New in Messages

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 18 Jun 2016

ios 10 messages featured

You can interpret all the new features in Messages app as Apple finally letting its hair down and having some fun or just as a way to pander to a younger audience. Either way, Apple has added many many new features inside this simple messaging app.

Sometimes, it can be too much. But if people can figure out how to use Snapchat, I’m sure they won’t have a problem with all the not-so-obvious features in the Messages app.

Here’s everything that’s new in the Messages app in iOS 10.

Emoji Switching

emoji switch

Let’s tackle the most important change first. This feature will let you quickly replace any word that you’ve typed into an emoji instantly. No more scrolling through 1000 emojis to find that basketball emoji.

To enable this mode after typing your message, just tap the “emoji” icon.

Different Bubbles

chat bubbles ios 10 messages

The same old blue bubble is boring. Apple wants to help you convey your thoughts in more fun ways. After you’ve typed your message, 3D Touch on the send button (long press if your device doesn’t support 3D Touch).

You’ll see four options now.

  • Slam
  • Loud
  • Gentle
  • Invisible Ink

Slam sends the message with an effect similar to slamming your fist on the table.

Loud increases the size of the text during the animation.

Gentle decreases the size.

invisible ink clearing ios 10 messages

Invisible Ink makes the message (or the image) invisible until the receiver swipes their finger on it.

Full-Screen Effects

If you want to blind your friends, use the Laser full-screen effect. Write any text and after 3D Touching (or longpressing) on the send icon, tap on the “Screen” icon to see the full-screen effect.

full screen effects ios 10

Swipe left/right to switch between them. The effects will animate so you can see a preview right there.

Also, when you send a generic message like happy birthday or happy new year, iOS 10 will add the full-screen effect automatically.

Rich Previews, Finally

ios 10 rich link previews

Links are no longer lonely. Messages app will finally show previews of the link image, video preview and title right there. So you’ll know what you’re tapping on beforehand.

3x Bigger Emojis

ios 10 emojis 3xx

This is pretty straight forward. You love sending emojis. Apple just made them 300% bigger. Revolutionary. Note they are bigger when you just send emojis as a message, not text. 

React To A Message

react to mesage ios 10

Don’t want to actually reply? Tap on a message and you’ll get 6 icons for quick replies. Choose from heart, like, dislike, haha, exclamation marks, and a question mark icon.

Digital Touch

digital touch ios 10 messages

Tap the second heart shaped button on the toolbar and the Digital Touch box will show up. This feature is similar to the Apple Watch one, with few upgrades.

Choose a color, doodle around and it will be instantly shared in the conversation, with the doodle animating as well. You can send your heartbeat using the feature, or kisses.

You can also take a photo and doodle over it.

Selfie From the Keyboard

ios 10 messages camera keyboard

Tap the “Camera” icon and you’ll see the selfie viewfinder right there in the keyboard view. You can switch the camera, click a photo and send it right there.

Handwritten Notes

Tap the “Pen” icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen to see a white pad where the keyboard was. Write anything using your finger here and send it along.

Pro Level Markup on Images

ios 10 hidden features and changes 18

When you add a photo and see its preview in the text message box, tap it to get to the Markup option.

Select it and you’ll be able to doodle all over the image, write text and also zoom in on a particular part using a magnifying glass effect.

Stickers Are Here

stickers ios 10 messages

Apple has finally joined the stickers bandwagon and I’m really excited with their implementation. They’ve managed to make stickers even more fun.

Tap the “App store” icon, select the app or the pack that contains the stickers and you’ll see a scrolling list of them.

Now you can either just tap a sticker to send it. Or tap and hold and drag it into the conversation to send it.

And Apple even lets you pick specific elements of a sticker. Say there’s a sticker of a dog kicking a ball and it’s animated. You can tap on just the dog, “peel” that part, and drag it to the conversation to “paste” it over any of the stickers you’ve sent before.

Apple is taking stickers to a whole new level.

Apps Will Be Here Soon

Stickers are just a kind of app. There will be more. Lots more.

Facebook, Google and Microsoft are playing the chatbots game. Apple is giving developers tools to integrate their services inside Messages app using a visual and rich user interface. And personally I’m in Apple’s camp. So far I haven’t really liked any chatbots. It’s been like talking to a command line. These conversation app will feel more like talking to Siri.

Messages will let you do the same thing in a conversation – order a Uber, order food and more – but using a visual interface and rich previews in the conversation so you don’t lose track. We’ll tell you more about these Messages apps when they start rolling out.

Conversation Level Read Receipts Control

ios 10 messages read reciepts

You could previously disable read receipt for all conversations. With iOS 10, you can do that on a per conversation basis as well.

Tap the person’s name on the top bar to get to the options screen. The toggle the “Read Receipts” option.

Are You Excited About The New Messages App in iOS 10?

Do you think you’ll be using all the new features in Messages app or are you closer to a grumpy grandad who doesn’t understand what these kids are up to with their stickers and their emojis? I’m somewhere in the middle right now (I do like stickers). Share your views in the comments below.

In case you missed it, check our iOS 10 coverage below: