iMessage is getting its biggest update -- here's what's changing

iOS 10 is packed with a bunch of features, but the biggest change is coming to iMessage.

The Messages app is getting a complete overhaul, effectively turning it into Apple’s own mini social network. There are so many new features that it’s almost impossible to use all of them on a regular basis.

Think Snapchat is confusing to use? Then good luck digging through all the hidden gems coming to Messages.

Stickers. Third-party apps. Emoji recommendations. Animated backgrounds. Videos. Disappearing messages. I’ve been using the beta version of iOS 10 for four days and only just now figured it all out.

And there’s still more to come when the final version of iOS 10 launches for all users later this year.

Want to see what’s new? Take a tour of the new Messages app.

Emojis are now three times larger. The app will also suggest emojis by analysing the text you type in the field.

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Type your message, then tap the emoji button on the keyboard. Some words will turn yellow. Tap on them to change them to emoji. It's much easier than hunting for the perfect emoji for what you're trying to say.

You can send doodles and sketches, just like you can on the Apple Watch.

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There's a lot to unpack in this feature. Tap the heart icon next to the text field to unlock a new interface that lets you doodle messages, send taps, or even 'blow a kiss.' This should look very familiar to Apple Watch users.

You can also send quick videos with text scribbled on the screen.

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It's very similar to Snapchat, right?

Tapping the App Store icon gives you access to a library of GIFs and images.

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You can easily search for them too.

You can also download other apps, like these sticker packs from Apple.

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Sending a photo is easier.

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The camera button brings up your camera roll and a mini version of the camera app for taking quick photos. It's much faster than digging through your camera roll the old-fashioned way.

There will be more third-party apps and sticker packs in this section once iOS 10 launches in the fall.

Screenshot/Tech Insider

Just about any developer can make an iMessage app. For example, Square is working on one that will let you send cash to your friends within iMessage.

iMessage turns links into rich bubbles with more information. You can also share the song you're listening to in Apple Music.

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There are new ways to react and show emotion.

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The Messages app will analyse the content of your message and display animations for certain things. For example, if you send someone a 'Happy Birthday' text, ballons will appear on the screen.

You can also emphasise certain messages with larger font or use 'invisible ink' that requires the recipient to slide their finger over the bubble to reveal the photo or text. Do a long-press on the send button to see these options.

If you long-press on a message, you can react to it with little buttons like hearts or exclamation points. In the final version of iOS 10, you'll be able to add third-party stickers and animations.

Bottom line: Your conversation window will never look the same.


With so many options, you'll be able to express yourself in so many more ways beyond a simple emoji. The only downside is that there are almost too many new features to learn them all at once, so there's a steep learning curve. Poke around and find out what works for you.

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