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How to use all the awesome iOS 10 iMessage features you forgot about

Zach Epstein
March 14th, 2017 at 12:05 PM
iOS 10.3 Features List

Apple has a new commercial it just released for the iPhone 7, and it focuses on the sticker support Apple added to its Messages app in iOS 10. It’s a very fun spot that has Apple fans talking, but the ad is of particular importance because it reminds iPhone users that there were tons of new iMessage features added in iOS. As the mobile messaging war heats up, Apple played catch-up in 2016 by adding a number of nifty features to its Messages app that have been around for a while in rival messaging apps. The goal, of course, is to keep iPhone users in Apple’s stock app rather than having them use third-party options instead, such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and LINE.

The problem is that many iPhone owners seem to have completely forgotten about most or even all of the new iMessage features Apple introduced in iOS 10 this past September. In this post, we’ll quickly run through them all to give you a refresher and make sure you’re getting the most out of iMessage.


Facebook’s “Like” feature first popularized the concept of reactions more than a decade ago. In a nutshell, reactions let you reply to a message without the need to actually reply. In Apple’s Messages app on the iPhone or iPad, reactions really couldn’t be easier to use. Simply tap and hold on an iMessage someone sends you in the Messages app, and you’ll see six different reaction options pop up in a bubble above the message.

Bubble effects

Apple’s Messages app gives you four different “bubble effects” to choose from when sending text, images or emojis through iMessage. Here’s how it works:

  • Type out your message or insert your photo
  • Instead of tapping the send button, 3D Touch it (or long-press on older iPhone models)
  • Choose your desired bubble effect — choices include Slam, Loud, Gentle and Invisible Ink
    • A preview of each effect will be shown when you select it
  • Now tap the relocated send button to send your message with the chosen effect

Screen effects

Like bubble effects, “screen effects” are fun new animations that accompany your messages. In this case, however, they’re full-screen effects instead of just localized animations.

  • Type out your message or insert your photo
  • Instead of tapping the send button, 3D Touch it (or long-press on older iPhone models)
  • Tap the “Screen” tab at the top of the screen
  • Swipe to the left and right until you get to the desired screen effect
    • A preview of each effect will be shown as you swipe to it
  • Now tap the send button to send your message with the chosen effect


On any message screen, turn your phone to landscape and tap the button in the bottom-right corner. This will open up a big empty pad where you can draw or hand-write messages to your recipients.

Digital Touch

Tap the arrow to the left of the text box and select the little icon that looks like two fingers on a heart. From there you can draw a picture or send all sorts of different effects.

Stickers, gifs and more

Tap the same arrow and then select the App Store icon to open up a whole wide world of content, from gifs to sticker packs and even to special plug-ins and iMessage-only apps. You can swipe from side to side to cycle through sticker packs and plug-ins you already have installed, or you can tap the four dots in the bottom-left corner to rearrange your pages and to access the iMessage App Store, where you’ll be able to download all sorts of fun third-party content.

Note that when using stickers, you can tap one to send it as a new message or you can tap and hold a sticker and drag it anywhere you want in the message window. You can also use pinch gestures to enlarge or shrink a sticker as you drag it.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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