10 little-known iMessage hacks to turbo-charge your texting game


With over a billion users worldwide, iMessage is one of the giants of the messaging world — but many users fail to take advantage of the app’s hidden features.

Launched in 2011, iMessage is unique in that it only runs on Apple products, and works across macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS.

Recent updates have added several new functions – this year’s iOS 17 adds everything from improved sticker support to the ability to “check in” with a friend who is traveling.

Here are some of the best new tools and settings from iMessage that you might not be aware of — from tracking flights to playing games right in the iMessage app.

Turn your photos into stickers

The latest iOS 17 update added the option to turn your cropped photos into stickers that you can share in iMessage.

Open Photos, find a photo, tap it to open it in full screen, long tap the person to crop it, then select a border, or just save.

Convert images to

Convert images to

When you use iMessage, you can reply to any message with a sticker: You can find your stickers in the frequently used panel in the menu where you can access emoji.

Play chess within iMessage

You can play games like chess with friends directly in iMessage: you’ll need to download an app labeled “In Messages.”

One of the games you can play within iMessage is chess (by Chess.com).

You can play games including chess within iMessage (Apple/Chess.com)

You can play games including chess within iMessage (Apple/Chess.com)

You can then select it from the list of apps to launch it within the chat.

Share your expected arrival time (and get an alert if you don’t show up)

The latest version of iOS lets you share your estimated time of arrival when you travel — and send an alert if you’re a no-show.

To activate it, tap the plus button next to the text box in your conversation.

Choose Check in, then tap Edit (there are two options: When I arrive or After the timer ends).

If you choose “When I arrive”, you choose the destination, type of transportation and estimated time of arrival: If you choose “After my arrival”, you set the time.

After the specified time, you get a simple prompt asking if you’re OK: If you don’t respond, an alert will be sent to the contact you’re talking to letting them know something might be wrong, along with information like your last known location and your location. Mobile phone battery level and signal.

Live flight tracking

You can track flights directly within the flight, with chat updates showing arrival time, baggage cart number, and a map showing where the plane is.

To activate this, one person needs to send the flight number, then you can long press on the number and tap on preview flight.

Use secret effect codes

Several words trigger full-screen effects when used in iMessage: for example, typing “Pew Pew” fills the screen with lasers.

You can brighten up iMessages with special effects (Apple)

You can brighten up iMessages with special effects (Apple)

The Messages app automatically uses the following screen effects for specific text strings:

“Happy Birthday” balloons

Scraps of paper for “Mabrouk”

Fireworks on the occasion of “Happy New Year”

Get rid of all your binary codes

One of the things science fiction writers failed to predict about modern life is how much time we’ll spend typing six-digit security codes.

Over time, this can seriously clog up your iMessages: fortunately, there’s a way to get rid of them.

Go to Settings > Passwords > Password Options, then select Verification codes, then Clean up automatically.

Send any effect you want

You can add effects to messages manually instead of relying on keywords.

You can send bubble effects or full-screen animations like a laser show, fireworks, or lights.

To add effects, long press the Send button in the message, select the bubble effect or choose Screen and choose an animation.

Then press Submit.

Share your location

Location sharing is now easy within iMessage (Apple)

Location sharing is now easy within iMessage (Apple)

You can share your location — or request someone else’s location — directly from the plus button in iMessage.

The site continues to appear inline as a text bubble until the site sharing session ends.

See voice message transcripts (and pause recording)

The new iOS 17 lets you pause and continue recording the same message before sending it.

You can now see transcripts of voice messages as well as pause recordings (Apple)

You can now see transcripts of voice messages as well as pause recordings (Apple)

People receiving audio messages can now pause those messages as well and continue listening when they return to iMessage and see the transcript played back at double speed.

Reply to a specific message

Group chats can get very crowded indeed: the latest iOS 17 update makes it easier to reply to a specific message in line: just swipe right on any bubble.

You can also hold down the message and tap Reply, and the person who sent that original message will be notified.

Return directly to where you left the conversation

Most of us have group chats that get a little out of control, and when you come back to them there are tons of messages to catch up on.

Apple has made catching up a little easier in the latest version of iOS: If you see a little arrow in the upper right corner, tap it, and you’ll be back where you were last.

(tags for translation) Daily Mail