Messages got a lot of love in iOS 10, but not so much in macOS Sierra. They did get some attention, though, including a few of iOS 10’s features, like tapback comments.

Tapbacks are exactly what they sound like: they let someone reply to a message by simply “tapping back” one of six predefined responses. These responses are intended to save you time and effort, though to be honest, if you’re using Messages on a Mac, you have the convenience of a full-size keyboard at your disposal.

Regardless, if you just want to add a quick reply rather than typing out a long response, then Tapbacks might be right up your alley.

To send a Tapback, choose a message you want to respond to and right-click on it, then click the “Tapback” option at the top of the context menu.

Like we said, you will have a choice of six Tapbacks, which should hopefully cover the range of appropriate responses: love, approve, disapprove, laugh, emphasize, and question.

Once you select Tapback, it will automatically be appended to the message and sent.

Tapbacks don’t necessarily have to be a response to a message from the other person, either–you can also add them to your messages, such as if you want to add emphasis or lighten the mood.

Obviously Tapbacks will only work with others who’re using iMessage. While you can add Tapbacks to messages sent to Android devices, they won’t be able to see them. Similarly, anyone who’s not running macOS Sierra or iOS 10 also won’t be able to see or use Tapbacks.

Tapbacks may not be a well known feature at this point, but they’re really quite useful, so you may well start using them consistently once you know how. Even if you don’t, however, they’re nice to have in a pinch.

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Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
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