iMessage is a very useful tool for Apple devices that lets you take text messaging to a new level for free! So many new features have been added to iMessage since I first wrote about it that it’s time to take another look. You may quickly become a fan of iMessage and its new features.
iMessage is Apple’s answer to text messages. You can send and receive an unlimited number of iMessages for free. iMessages appear in blue while regular text messages appear in green.
When you send an iMessage you don’t have a limit on the number of characters you use. Sending photos and videos via iMessage is free (though mind your data plan limits if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi when you send videos via iMessage).
Settings => Messages => iMessage => On
⇒ Check out my full review of iMessage: iMessage: Team Blue!
Tips and Tricks for Using iMessage
iMessage works around the world for free
If you know someone living in a different country or you’re traveling outside your home country, you can send and receive iMessages for free. Unlike text messages which can be very costly to send internationally, you can send free iMessages to anyone who uses iMessage.
iMessage now works on Mac computers
If someone sends you a text message when you’re working on your computer, you don’t need to grab your phone to read the message and respond to it. You can click on the Messages icon on your Mac to see your messages.
You can also respond to them by typing with your computer keyboard. Very handy if you’re not a fan of typing on glass!
Follow Apple’s instructions to set up iMessage on your Mac.
Text messages on your Mac can be from any phone
The Messages app on your computer is no longer solely devoted to iMessages. If you have a friend with an Android, Windows, BlackBerry or other phone that doesn’t use iMessage, you can now send and receive their text messages on your Mac.
iMessage can be used on your iPad
You don’t even need a phone to send text messages. You can use iMessage on your iPad. Log into your iCloud account and your messages will appear on your iPad as well as on your Phone. You can also receive non-iMessage texts on your iPad.
Quickly find all photos a person has texted to you
If you have a long history of texting with a friend, you may have plenty of photos embedded in past text messages you’ve shared. When you want to find a photo someone texted to you, your first instinct might be to scroll down through the messages to try to find the photo.
But there is a much quicker way to find the photos you and your friend have shared via text message.
Click on Details in the upper right corner of the screen.
Scroll down the Details page to see all the photos you’ve sent and received with that person via text message.
Reply to Messages instantly
You no longer need to close an app or even unlock your phone to reply to a message. If you see a text message notification on your lock screen, swipe it to the left to reveal a Reply button. Tap the Reply button and enter your text.
If your phone is on and you’re in another app when you get a text message, swipe down on the notification to reply to the text message. Type your message and send it. Swipe up to get back to the app you were using.
Send voice messages using iMessage
Tap and hold the microphone icon to the right of the text box. Begin recording your message. Lift your finger and tap the up button to send the message or X to delete it. You can listen to your message before you send it by tapping the Play button.
This feature can come in handy when you want to dictate your message without worrying about pesky trivialities such as spelling, punctuation, auto-correct, etc.
Send photos and videos instantly using iMessage
Press and hold the camera icon to the left side of the text box. A circle will appear with a camera icon at the top and a red circle at the bottom right and the front camera will be activated. Tap the camera icon to take a quick selfie to send. Tap the red circle to record a video.
When you’re done shooting, a different circle will appear in the lower left corner. Tap the up button to send and the play button to check out your video before you send it. Or press the X button to delete it.
Preserve voice and video messages for longer than 2 minutes
The default time for saving voice and video messages is 2 minutes after you watch or listen to them. After 2 minutes those voice and video messages are automatically deleted. These audio and video files are bigger than normal text messages so most people don’t want to take up lots of space on their phones with these messages.
You can change this by going to Settings => Messages then Audio or Video Messages and set the expiration times.
Your choices are:
- 2 minutes
Delete Messages to save space on your phone
You can delete messages manually or automatically to save storage space on your phone.
To delete messages manually, tap Edit in the upper left corner of the screen and then tap the circle next to message threads you wish to delete. Tap Delete and those messages will disappear.
To delete messages automatically, go to Settings => Messages => Message History => Keep Messages
Your choices are:
- 30 Days
- 1 Year
Delete individual text messages
If you don’t want to delete the entire message thread, you don’t have to — you can just delete an individual text message.
Press and hold the individual message until a bubble appears above the text message.
Tap More in the bubble, then circles will appear to the left of individual messages in the thread. Tap the messages you want to delete so a check mark appears in the circles. Then tap the trash can icon at the bottom of the screen.
You can leave group conversations in iMessage
If you’ve ever been caught in a group text message that had nothing to do with you, you know the annoyance every time someone sends you a message in that group text thread. Leaving the conversation is easy with iMessage.
Tap Details in the upper right corner of the screen. Scroll down to Leave this Conversation and tap it.
You can mute Notifications for group conversations
You can also keep receiving the messages but turn off notifications. Tap Details in the upper right corner of the screen. Scroll down and turn on Do Not Disturb.
Note that everyone in the conversation must be using iMessage for this feature to work.
You can share your location via iMessage
If you’re trying to meet up with someone, sharing your location via iMessage can be very handy.
To share your location, open iMessage, open the text message thread of the person/people you want to share your location with (they all must be using iMessage). Tap Details in the upper right corner of the screen. You’ll be shown Send My Current Location and Share My Location.
Send My Current Location is for those times when you want to share your location immediately but don’t necessarily want to share it in the future.
Share My Location lets you set a time limit for sharing your location. Let’s say you’re at a reunion with high school friends. You can start a text message thread with them and share your location for the day with all of them (assuming they all have iMessage).
Your choices for time to share your location with others via iMessage are:
- 1 hour
- Until the end of the day
You can create custom text tones and vibrations for your contacts
Open your Contacts app and find the person you want to customize a text tone or vibration for.
Tap Edit in the upper right corner of the screen
Scroll down to Text Tone and Vibration
Choose which one you want to use. You can have unique text tones and vibration patterns for each of your most important contacts.
You can also create a custom vibration
Follow the instructions above and then scroll down to Custom => Create New Vibration.
Tap on the screen to create the vibration pattern.
Tap Stop when you’re done. You can tap Play to play the vibration to make sure it’s what you want. Then tap Save in the upper right corner of the screen. You can name the vibration and it will then be assigned to your contact.
You can block people from sending you text messages
Follow the instructions in How to Block Callers on Your iPhone in 2 Easy Steps!. This trick works for blocking both callers and people who send you text messages.
See when a text message was sent
To see the date and time when a message was sent, open the message thread and slide your finger over the thread from right to left. The time stamps will appear on the right side of the screen.
Do you use iMessage? What are your favorite features of iMessage? Do you have any tips for iMessage you’d like to share with Wonder of Tech readers? Let us know in the Comments section below!
* Messages icon courtesy of tomeqq via Deviant Art and Creative Commons