The huge standout feature of iOS 10 has been iMessages. The little updates have helped it move from an app I occasionally use with a couple of people on iPhones, to the app I wish everyone I knew used to communicate with. Whether this will ever happen and I’ll be able to communicate with friends who have Android devices over iMessage will have to remain to be seen (I’m not holding my breath) but there are some great new features in iMessages for iOS 10 that you should really check out.
Stickers have come to iOS 10 and they’re great fun…well I think so. You can paste your stickers all over message from other people. Interestingly, they don’t pop up as a new message but instead are dropped into a conversation, allowing you to cover pictures or older messages as well as drop in a blank space.
There are a growing group of stickers out there which you might want to check out ranging from flags to Mario, crazy emoji to fake iMessages.
To use stickers either first download a set from the app store, then click on the app icon in the messages screen (alternatively, you can now go to the stickers app store once you’ve clicked the app icon). Now scrolls your apps and find the sticker set you wish to use. The long press and drag a sticker in place On the message.
2. Full screen effects (Lazers!)
What’s better than a birthday message? A birthday message with balloons floating up in the background. What’s better than that. Anything with lazers!
To use a full screen effect, type your message (you have to have a message) then long press the send button. A selection of options will appear, wait a second and at the top you’ll see two option. Bubble and screen. Click on screen and then slide between balloons, confetti, lazers, fireworks, and shooting stars.
3. Slam, Loud, gentle
Whisper and Shout are ways to show different levels of emphasis in your messages, either less or more. You can add more emphasis with a slam, which makes you message appear larger on the screen and SLAM down. Then there is the loud which makes the message big and wiggle on the screen. You can make it more subtle with a whisper which uses smaller font size.
To do this, type your message, then hold on the send key until you see a list of option, slide up or tap on the style you wish to use.
4. Invisible ink
Invisible ink makes a message which you can’t see until you tap on it to reveal the message. This doesn’t make the message private it’s just a bit of fun.
You do this in a similar way to slamming, loud and gentle messages. Hold the send key and select the first option, invisible ink.
An interesting feature on the iPad is that you can choose to write a handwritten message. This option is activated when you tap the handwriting icon (it looks like a swoop from a pen) on the extended keyboard interface. This is a way for you to use your Apple pencil as the input and send a personalised message not just typed text. Just don’t forget to dot your I’s with hearts.
In iMessages for IOS 10 you can now sketch images and on top of photos as well as show off your beautiful handwriting. This is activated by pressing the heart icon which is to the left of the text input field. Now you can select a colour you want and then make a message and send it.
7. Digital Touch
Digital touch has been on the Apple watch for over a year now and now it is in all iMessages. This allows you to send different types of touches like a heartbeat, kiss, and even a fireball.
To get into digital touch, open imessages and instead of typing a message, tap the heart icon (the same as for handwriting )
In this screen you can also send touches by a variety of different interactions. To find out what these interactions are, tap the pictures to the right of the input screen.
The list of apps is almost constantly growing and by the time I finish this review I’m sure there will be more added. The basic idea is that apps can tie into your messages and allow you to do something more. This could be organize a time to meet up, plan a shopping trip via a share list or simple share a funny gif. The vast majority of these apps are stickers but that is not the only use and some have some great productivity applications…as well as good old fashioned fun.
9. Tapback response
Tapback responses let you send a quick response without needing to write anything. It’s basically like Facebooks reactions but in iMessages! All you do is double tap on a message and you can select the response you want to send. These include heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, haha, exclamation mark and question mark. A simple thumbs up can be handy to agree to something when you don’t have the time to write.
10. Website preview
The final feature is previews of webpages in you iMessage viewer. Now if you send (or receive) a message with a web link, you’ll get a preview of that web content. These previews might just be an icon or picture of the relevant page, but when a webpage has been set up with the correct metadata, you’ll get the title of the page and an image to go along with it. Even more exciting is that videos and audio can be played in messages if they support the open graph standards. This is the same technology powering the link previews that you see in Apple notes.
A More Fun and useful iMessages
All these features have combined to take imessages from a good app when people use iPhones (but not really that great) to a really exciting and fun messaging platform that I wished everyone I knew used. It’s that classic problem of there being 10 different messaging apps which don’t talk to each other, so someone creates a “better” one that will rule them all…and now there are 11 messaging apps. Choice is never bad for a consumer, but I wish we could all just settle on one.
Still these are great fun features to use with people who use iMessages.