Do iMessage’s “Typing” Bubbles Only Appear When I’m Actively Typing?

If you have an iPhone and you send a text message to someone who also has an iPhone (or other Apple device), you’ll see a small bubble appear when the other person is typing out a message.

That little typing bubble is almost as annoying as knowing when a message was “read”—no one wants to enable that feature because they don’t want the other person knowing when they’re typing. Unfortunately, you can’t disable this one—it’s always on.

With that said, you might be curious exactly when that little typing bubble appears for the person on the other end. Is it only when you’re typing out a message or also while you’re scrolling through the emoji keyboard? We did some experimenting to find out, but the results aren’t too terribly surprising.

Long story short: the typing bubbles will appear for your recipient if there is anything entered into the text box, whether you’re actively typing or not.

So for example, if you type out something on the keyboard and then stop typing, the typing bubbles will still appear on your recipient’s screen until you send the text to them or completely erase the text from the text box.

The same also goes for emoji or stickers. Sifting through the emoji keyboard or through a sticker pack won’t show the other person the typing bubbles, but once you select an emoji or sticker and it shows up in the text box, the typing bubbles will appear.

We also discovered that if you type in a message but don’t send it, and then go back to the home screen (or let your phone go to sleep), the typing bubble will stick around…for a bit. After a few minutes, the bubble will disappear, even if there’s still text in the box. It will come back when you re-open Messages and start typing again.

What’s cool about stickers (or using any other iMessage app) is that once you select one, not only will the typing bubbles appear for the other person, but it will also show which iMessage app you’re using, as pictured above.

Again, you can’t prevent the other person from seeing that you’re typing out a message (unlike read receipts), but knowing exactly when those typing bubbles appear can at least give you a better idea of what your recipient is seeing on the other side.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.