Apple has unleashed iOS 10, and there are a lot of new features. The biggest emphasis is a complete reworking of what Messages can be on iOS. Apple has changed their stock iMessages app from a simple chat app to an interactive multimedia expereince. With iOS 10, Apple’s Messages resemble WhatsApp, Line, and WeChat, but built as a stock app. Here’s a rundown of the new ways you can communicate with friends and family in Messages in iOS 10.
All New Ways To Text
Messages in iOS 10 lets you say more than ever before as you can now bring your text to life. First off, you can add animations to your messages to have the text expand and shake to be loud or shrink as a whisper. You can also send messages with full screen effects to add balloons, confetti, and more filling the entire messages screen. To enable either effect you simply use 3D Touch on the send button to bring up the effects menu, or long hold on devices without 3D Touch.
Messages also features Digital Touch, which allows you to write with your finger. You can send hand written congratulations, scribbled drawings, and even your heartbeat. The set-up was first seen on the Apple Watch, and is now available on iOS 10 devices. Messages now provides Invisible Ink allowing you to send a hidden message that the recipient can swipe across to reveal. Tapback is another new feature, and this one offers six shortcuts that appear above the last message you receive allowing you to respond quickly, again with either 3D Touch or a long press.
You can also be more expressive with emojis in iOS 10. When you tap the emoji button on the keyboard, any word in your text will be highlighted in orange if there’s an emoji replacement. You simply tap on an orange highlighted word to see the emoji suggestion, and then tap on it to confirm the replacement.
You can now add stickers to your messages whether you send them by themselves, or stick them on to existing chat bubbles. The Stickers window appears similar to the emoji system in place of the QWERTY keyboard. You simply tap on a sticker, and tap the up arrow to send it. You can also drag and drop stickers on to chat bubbles from the same window. The system also lets you resize and rotate stickers by adding a second finger and using pinch gestures or twisting motions to change up the sticker.
There are many sticker packs in the App Store, either from all new sticker apps, or updates to existing apps. To get new stickers, you need to tap the grey arrow to the left of the text message bar. Then, the App Store icon will appear and when you tap on that, you’re given a grid of any sticker enabled apps you have. The first icon of the apps is the “+”, which brings you to the Messages App Store. You then have the familiar App Store interface of “Get” or a purchase price to add new sticker packs. The Messages App Store has a manage tab to the right of the main page, where you can turn sticker packs on and off with a green toggle switch.
You can view some early sticker packs by following the link.
There are more than just stickers in the Messages App Store. In any chat window, you can tap the grey arrow icon next to the text window, then the App Store icon, and finally the four icon grid in the bottom left corner. You are then presented with your installed apps with a “+” icon in the top corner, which brings you to the App Store. The Messages App Store pops up over the Messages app, and then you have a familiar Featured section with lists of apps. The Messages App Store works like the traditional App Store to tap on “Get” or the purchase price to install a new app. Once an app is installed, you access it in the same method as installing a new app. The Messages App Store has a manage tab to the right of the main page, where you can turn sticker packs on and off with a green toggle switch. This is repetitive, but they work similarly to Stickers mentioned above.
You can view some earlier Messages apps by following the link. Early highlights include iTranslate to translate your text live, ESPN to share sports scores, and OpenTable to suggest restaurants and nail down a reservation time. You can also buy tickets with Fandango, send your arrival time with ETA, and even play games.
Messages is an all new expereince with apps that can offer valuable functions without leaving the messages app. There’s plenty of flair to add to your conversation, and as always you can stick with how you used iMessage before if this is all too much.