Apple Messages seems to get new or improved features with every release of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. This frequency of additions makes it easy to miss one, so here are several features you might have overlooked.

Note: All features are available when messaging Apple users with iMessage. Some features are compatible with other types of devices like Android phones but may appear or work a bit differently.

Edit Recently Sent Messages

New as of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, you can edit a text message for up to 15 minutes after you send it.

RELATED: How to Unsend or Edit an iMessage on iPhone, iPad and Mac

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold the sent message bubble or on Mac, right-click. Select “Edit,” make your change in the text message field that appears, and hit the checkmark to save the change.

Edit a text in Messages

Your recipient can see an Edited indicator below the message that they can select to view the original message.

Edited text in Messages

Undo Send for the Last Message

Along with the Edit feature above, Apple introduced the ability to unsend a text message. This is similar to recalling an email in Outlook or Gmail. You can unsend a message for up to two minutes after you send it.

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold the sent message bubble or on Mac, right-click. Select “Undo Send.” You’ll then see the message disappear in a puff of smoke.

Undo Send in Messages

Note that your recipient may see the message before you unsend it. However, it does vanish from the conversation.

Use Inline Replies to Organize Responses

One feature that can help keep your responses organized is Inline Replies. This is handy when you’re texting back and forth quickly and want to make it clear which message in the conversation you’re replying to.

RELATED: How to Use Inline Replies in Messages on iPhone and iPad

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold the sent message bubble or on Mac, right-click. Select “Reply.” You’ll see the specific message you want to reply to front and center with the rest blurred. Enter your reply in the message field and send it as normal.

Reply to a text in Messages

You and your recipient will then see a line connecting the reply to the message in the main conversation. Select the Reply or Replies link below the message to see that entire “side conversation” with the rest blurred.

View an inline reply in Messages

Track Flights and Packages

If you receive a message with a flight number for a traveler or tracking number for a package, you can get the status for each directly in the Messages app.

On iPhone and iPad, tap the number or on Mac, simply click it. For a flight, choose “Preview Flight” and for a package, choose “Track Shipment.”

Preview Flight and Track Shipment in Messages

You’ll then see either a small pop-up window or a separate window open displaying the status of the flight or package. You can also obtain additional details as available such as departure and arrival times or a parcel’s current location.

Flight and package status in Messages

Replace Words With Emoji

You may have noticed that when you type certain words in the message field on iPhone or iPad, you have the opportunity to pop in an emoji. But you can also do this after you finish typing the entire message for any words where an emoji is available.

RELATED: How to Quickly Select Emoji in Messages on an iPhone or iPad

On your iPhone or iPad, enter your message in the text field, but don’t send it quite yet. Instead, open the Emoji keyboard using the icon on the bottom left.

You’ll see any words in your message that have matching emoji become highlighted. Tap a highlighted word to replace it with the emoji. For some words, you may see different options you can pick from directly above the word.

Words highlighted and replaced with emoji in Messages

Use a Mention to Get Attention

While this feature works in one-on-one conversations, it’s especially useful in group messages. You can mention a person in a message which then bolds their name and sends them a notification.

On iPhone, iPad, or Mac, start entering the contact’s name and then choose it from the options that appear. Alternatively, type the @ (At) symbol followed by their name.

Mention in Messages

Your recipient sees their name nice and bold to get their attention.

Note: You can control the notifications for mentions in Messages. On iPhone and iPad, go to Settings > Messages and use the Notify Me toggle. On Mac, go to Messages > Settings > General and use the check box for Notify Me When My Name is Mentioned.

RELATED: 10 Hidden Mac Features You Should Be Using

Handwrite or Sketch a Message

If you want to try something a little different with your next message, how about handwriting it or drawing a picture? You can do this on iPhone and iPad and it takes only a minute to make your message special.

On iPhone, turn your device sideways so that you’re in landscape view. On iPad, you can use either view. Select the scribble icon on the bottom right of the keyboard.

Scribble key on the iPhone keyboard

You’ll see a blank canvas appear for you to write or draw using your finger (or Apple Pencil on iPad). You can also see recent drawings and suggestions you can pick from along the bottom. Add your message and tap “Done.”

Handwriting canvas in Messages

You’ll then see your handwriting or sketch in the text message field. Simply send it like any other message.

Send handwriting in Messages

Filter Messages

To quickly see your unread messages, those from known or unknown senders, or texts you’ve recently deleted, you can use filters with a tap or click.

RELATED: How to Hide Spam Texts From Unknown Senders on iPhone

On iPhone and iPad, tap the Filters arrow on the top left of your main Messages screen. Then, pick an option to filter by and see your results.

Filters in Messages on iPhone

On Mac, select “View” in the menu bar. Then, choose the filter you want to use to see the results.

Filters in Messages on Mac

Tapback to Quickly React

One of the fastest ways to acknowledge a text in Messages is with a Tapback. You can respond with a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, laugh, exclamation, or question mark.

RELATED: How to Reply With a Tapback in Messages on iPhone and iPad

On iPhone and iPad, tap and hold the message and on Mac, right-click it and select “Tapback.” Choose the reaction you want to send and that’s it. Your recipient will see the reaction’s icon on the corner of the message bubble.

Tapback in Messages

Note: For older versions of iOS, iPadOS, or macOS, the recipient sees a text label instead of an icon.

Send Bubble or Screen Effects

One more feature that’s simply fun is message effects. You can share your message with a bubble effect like “loud” or “invisible ink” or a screen effect like lasers or fireworks.

On iPhone and iPad, type your message and then tap and hold the Send button. You’ll see a screen with tabs at the top for the available Bubble and Screen effects. Select one to preview it and simply tap the Send button for the one you want.

Effects in Messages on iPhone

On Mac, type your message, select the capital A icon to the left of the message field, and pick “Message Effects.” You’ll see all Bubble and Screen effects together on one screen. Select one to see a preview and click the Send button to use it.

Effects in Messages on Mac

Your recipient will see your effect the first time they view the message. They can also tap Replay above the message bubble to enjoy it again.

With these handy Messages features, you can fix a sent message, keep track of deliveries, see only those messages you need, and send something fun to a friend. Are you like us and can’t wait to see what Apple brings to Messages next?

RELATED: 10 Great iPhone Features You Should Be Using

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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