Here's how to use all the cool features on Apple's new iMessage

Here's how to use all the cool features on Apple's new iMessage
Here's how to use all the cool features on Apple's new iMessage

Apple's newest operating system, iOS 10, pits Apple's mobile software prowess against your favorite messaging apps, from Facebook to Snapchat. For users, that means some cutting-edge texting options.

The power of the new tools were featured in an advertisement push Apple launched Thursday. After all, it's an important move for a company that is hoping to expand its services business to the size of a Fortune 100 company by next year.

In case you don't know how to use it, it all starts with the up arrow on the bottom right of the screen, and a gray arrow on the left.

These open up a "drawer" of cool effects.

On the right, swiping up and down lets you explore options like new bubble sizes, while a box at the top lets you toggle through full-screen effects or filters.

On the left, you have three key icons: the camera, one that syncs with other apps, and one that lets you draw.

Then on your regular old keyboard, there's another set of new features, including handwritten notes and "emojification."

The up arrow on the right

Start by typing your message. On the right, the send arrow turns green or blue when you start to type, depending on whether you are messaging an Android or iPhone user. Note that these options will only work when messaging another iPhone, and you must hold down the arrow (if you just tap it, it will send the message without effects.)

Adjust bubble style

This feature lets you control the size and style of the way the text bubbles are delivered, to add emphasis to important messages or play down others.

To do it: Use the arrow on the bottom right corner of the screen, opening a menu reveals options like "slam," "loud" and "gentle."

Select the dot next to the option you want and your text will jump up to that section of the menu. Hold the blue arrow again to send.

Invisible ink

Invisible ink allows you to have a message with a big reveal — by sending a blank message that can only be read by swiping across the screen.

To do it: Type your message or take a picture and hold the send button until the menu comes up.

Select the dot next to invisible ink and hold the blue arrow that appears to send.

Now the recipient can swipe away the blurriness to reveal a picture.

Full-screen messages

These full screen messages overlay a grandiose effect on your conversation. It's kind of like a Snapchat filter for your texting conversation.

To do it: Type your message and press and hold the blue arrow. At the top of the menu, toggle from "bubble" to "screens."

Swipe from left to right to see effects like balloons, confetti, fireworks, lasers and a shooting star. Once you've found the one you want, hold the blue button next to the message again to send it.

The sideways arrow on the left

On the bottom left of your screen, there is a gray arrow. Tapping it reveals 3 options.

Drawings and graphics over images

The new messenger drawings overlayed on text or video.

To do it: The middle option (a heart with two fingers) opens a touch pad where you can draw in the center.

On the left, you can overlay your drawing or writing onto a video and select different colors.

On the right, there are some preprogrammed options you can select from a "digital touch" menu. "Sketch" enables handwriting, while the others let you overlay graphics like a heartbeat or fireball on a picture.

A simple up/down arrow on the right toggles the drawing pad from full screen to half screen.

On the bottom right, you can tap the camera icon to reveal a white button for stills and a red button for videos, and you can write over the image at any point.

Then as usual, tap the blue arrow to send!

Apps: Apple Music messages, payments and more

With iOS 10, you can do a lot with your other apps without even leaving the message ecosystem, a concept that's already wildly popular in countries like China, where WeChat has popularized the idea.

To do it: Expand the gray arrow on the left and select the "A" App Store logo. There, you'll have some preloaded options, and you can add more.

One option is to send the song you're listening to, which you can do by selecting the Apple Music app within Messenger.

That will pull up your recently played songs.

Just select the song and tap the blue arrow to send it off.

There are a ton of other options for the app menu. You can send payments with Venmo or Square Cash, documents with Evernote, reservations with OpenTable, or flight details with Kayak. Users are also going nuts for Momento, an app that lets users turn their memories into GIFs.


Now, when you open your camera within Messenger, you see exactly what's in front of you, and a matrix of your past pictures — a far cry from the days you had to open another app to insert an image.

To do it: Just expand the gray arrow and select the camera icon on the bottom far left, and swipe from right to left to see your pictures. Swiping from left to right reveals a short cut to your photo albums.

Within the main conversation screen

You still have all your normal functionalities within your conversations, like holding a message to delete it and pulling up emojis from your keyboard. But there are some bonus features now, too.


It's Apple's take on the Facebook "like." Instead of responding to a message with your own "bubble," you can tap on the message you just received and respond to it.

To do it: Tap the bubble of the message you have sent or received, and you'll see a horizontal gray menu of responses appear, like "thumbs up" and "heart."

When you've selected one, it appears pinned to the message you selected for both parties, with a different color for what's sent and received.


Words are so 2015. In iOS 10, you can get emoji predictions as you type.

To do it: To see it, you can tap the emoji button at the bottom of your keyboard lightly.

The "emojify-able" words will be highlighted.

To replace one, you tap the highlighted word.

Handwritten messages

Who says manners are dead? Users get a canvas option on your keyboard for handwritten notes in iOS 10.

To do it: Turn you phone horizontally (landscape mode.) Along the bottom, you'll see some prewritten options, or you can use the blank canvas to write your own.

If you have terrible handwriting (see mine below) there's an undo option on the top left and a right-facing arrow on the top right if you need more room.