15 Tricks to Get The Most Out of Messages app on Your iPhone

By Dave Johnson - Executive Editor
10 Min Read

These are the tips and tricks you should be using to get the most out of Messages app on Your iPhone.

No matter what iPhone model you carry or how you usually use it, one thing is a near-universal constant:

You’re gonna spend a ton of time sending and reading messages.

The messages may be from clients, colleagues, or your cousin Crissy from Cleveland (damn it, Crissy!). But regardless of who sends ’em or what they’re about, they’re all popping up on your phone and cluttering your weary brainspace.

My fellow iPhone adorer, I’m here to tell you there’s a better way.

Apple’s iPhone Messages app has gotten surprisingly good over the years. That’s no big secret. If you’re only relying on what you see on the surface within iPhone Messages, though, you’re missing out on some of its most powerful and underappreciated efficiency-enhancing options.

In this article, we’ll explore the best iPhone Messages tips and tricks. They may not be able to cut down on the number of messages you send and receive on your iPhone (DAMN IT, CRISSY!), but they will help you spend less time fussing with ’em. And they might just help you have a more pleasant experience, too.

Without further ado, here are the best tips and tricks to help you use the Messages app on Your iPhone to its fullest potential.

15 Tips and Tricks for More Efficient iPhone Messaging

1. Reply messages from the Lock Screen

Sometimes all you need to do when you receive a message is give a quick reply. The ability to reply from the Lock Screen makes it possible to send off a reply without taking the time to unlock your iPhone, find the messaging app, select the message and then reply. Thankfully, there’s a cool Messages trick you can use to quickly reply to messages from the Lock Screen on your iPhone.

  1. From the Lock Screen, touch and hold the notification that you want to reply to. Or depending on your device, you might need to swipe left over the notification and tap View.
  2. Type your message.
  3. Tap the Send button.

If you have an iPhone X or later and can’t reply to a message from the Lock Screen, head over to Settings > Face ID & Passcode, and turn on the switch next to Reply with Message. If you have an iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation), or iPhone 8 or earlier, head over to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Allow Access When Locked, and turn on the switch next to Reply with Message.

2. Pin important conversations in Messages

One way you can make your favorite people and your favorite conversations easier to access is by pinning them to the top of the screen so they stay permanently at the top of your chats. This Messages trick can come in handy when you want to save a text to quickly find it later, instead of scrolling through long conversations looking for it.

  1. In Messages, tap Edit or the More button .
  2. Tap Edit Pins , then tap the Pin button .
  3. Tap Done.

You can also touch and hold a conversation to pin it.

3. Set an iMessage Photo and Name on Your iPhone

Do you ever wish you could share your profile photo and name on iMessage like you can do on some instant messaging (IM) apps? Wish no more! There’s a cool iMessage trick that lets you set a personal photo and name, in addition to tweaking their visibility through dedicated privacy settings. When you share this information with someone, iOS will prompt them to update your contact card on their side. This way, your photo stays up to date in their address book without them having to update your contact card manually. Follow the steps below to set an iMessage photo and name on your iPhone.

  1. Start the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down and select Messages.
  3. Tap on Share Name and Photo.
  4. Turn it on.
  5. Choose a photo in addition to your first and last names.
  6. Click on Contacts Only or Always Ask, depending on whether you want this information to be shared automatically with people you know or not.

Voilà! Now, whenever you chat with someone on iMessage, they’ll receive a prompt to update/add your contact card with the shared name and photo after you share it with them.

To change your name and photo, follow the steps below:

  1. In Messages, tap Edit or the More button .
  2. Tap on Edit Name and Photo.
  3. Edit your name. Or tap the image circle to choose an image, photo, emoji, or Memoji.
  4. Tap Done.

4. Turn on Hide Alerts

If there’s a contact in your Messages app you do not wish to get notifications for, a hidden Messages trick allows you to mute notifications for the contact on Your iPhone.

The best part? The contact won’t be notified that you muted them, and you can steer clear of a crowded Notification Center.

So, let’s take a look at the steps required to mute a text conversation on an iPhone.

  1. Open the Messages app on Your iPhone.
  2. Tap to open the contact you want to mute.
  3. Tap on the contact’s icon at the top of the screen.
  4. Turn on the toggle next to Hide Alerts. You will see a bell icon with a slash on it to show a contact has been muted.

Here’s another method to silence messages from a contact on your iPhone:

  1. Start the Messages app on Your iPhone.
  2. Find the contact in your list of recent conversations.
  3. Swipe left on the contact you want to mute.
  4. Tap on the bell icon. You will notice the same bell con appear next to the conversation to indicate that it has been muted.

5. Hide Messages on Your iPhone

We all hide messages for different reasons. It could be that you don’t want your partner to see them because it can ruin the perfectly good surprise you’ve planned for them, or that your workplace strongly frowns upon receiving texts during work hours.

No matter the reason, it only takes a little effort to hide text messages on your iPhone.

Here’s how to hide messages from a specific person on Your iPhone:

  1. Open the Phone app.

  2. Select Contacts on the bottom menu and then find and tap on the contact whose messages you want to hide.

  3. Tap Edit on the top right corner.

  4. Scroll down, and hit Delete Contact, then tap Delete Contact again on the pop-up window to confirm.

  5. Open the Settings app and scroll down to and tap Messages.

  6. Scroll down and turn on the toggle next to Filter Unknown Senders under the ”MESSAGE FILTERING” heading.

The message sent from the person you removed (or anyone not in your contacts) will now go into a list kept separate from the rest of your messages. To access it, tap Filters on the top-left corner of the Messages app, and then tap Unknown senders.

6. Search for Specific Messages on an iPhone in Messages App

You can search for text messages you’ve sent on your iPhone, meaning that you never have to scroll for hours through your conversations to find a specific message.

  1. Open the Messages app from your iPhone’s home screen.
  2. To access the search bar, swipe down. It’ll be above your most recent message.
  3. Type the phrase, word, or number you’re looking for in the search bar.
  4. As you type, messages containing what you’ve typed will appear on the screen.
  5. Next, tap on the message thread containing the phrase you’re looking for. It will then jump to that conversation, and highlight the exact message containing the phrase you typed.

7. Use Messages on Your iPhone to Share Your Location

This Messages trick lets you send your current location to someone from your iPhone, or share your location even while you’re on the move on an iPhone from the Messages app.

  1. Open a conversation with the person whom you want to send your location to.
  2. Select the name of the person or group at the top of the conversation.
  3. If you want to send your current location, tap ”Send My Current Location.”
  4. If you want to share your location for a period of time, tap "Share My Location," and then choose how long you want your location to be visible — Share for One Hour, Share Until End of Day, or Share Indefinitely.
  5. Tap Done.

8. Insert an Emoji into Text Message Using Siri

Starting with iOS 16, anywhere you can dictate text using Siri, you can verbally insert emojis. That includes in Messages, email, Notes, and elsewhere.

Inserting an emoji into a text message using Siri is very simple and straightforward. Just do this:

  1. Start the Messages app on Your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to the text field and tap the Microphone button at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Dictate your text message as you normally would. When you’re ready to insert the emoji, say the name of the emoji, such as ”smiley face emoji." Continue dictating as desired.
  4. Tap the Microphone button again to stop dictating, and proceed to send your text message.

9. Make a Group Chat on iPhone

Group chats can be a useful tool in both your professional and personal life. Whether you’re planning a happy hour, surprise baby shower, or you want to text hilarious memes to your besties, a group chat is a great way to relay information to multiple people at once.

Make sure you have both iMessage and MMS turned on in Settings > Messages.

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone. It looks like a white chat bubble inside a green box.
  2. Tap the Compose button located at the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. Begin entering the names of the people you want to include in the group chat in the To: section. You can also tap the plus button to select people from your contacts.
  4. Type out your message, then tap the Send icon. It looks like an arrow pointing up.

Quick tip: When you add recipients to a new group chat, if one member of the group does not have an iPhone, the header above your recipient list will read New Group MMS. If everyone in the group has an iPhone the header above your recipient list will say New iMessage.

10. Unsend an iMessage on Your iPhone

Have you ever sent a text message only to immediately wish that you hadn’t? Thankfully, there’s an iMessage trick to unsend text messages on iPhone. With this iMessage trick, you can remotely delete a text message you’ve sent, even if the recipient has already seen it.

After you send an iMessage, you’ll have 15 minutes to unsend it and delete it from everyone’s phone.

Unsending only works when you’re texting another person who has iOS 16 or newer.

  1. In the Messages app, open the chat thread containing the sent message that you want to unsend.
  2. Long press the sent message that you want to fix.
  3. Hit Unsend from the pop-over menu. Your text message will explode into blue dust. Once it’s gone, everyone in the conversation will only see a notice saying that a message was deleted.

(If you don’t see the Unsend option, at least fifteen minutes have elapsed and you can no longer unsend it.)

11. Edit a Sent iMessage on iPhone

Even with autocorrect turned on, it’s easy to make typos when texting. That’s why a cool iMessage trick lets you edit texts even after you send them, so no one has to see your fumble-fingered messages.

Before anything, please note the following:

  • You can only edit iMessages — in other words, texts sent to other Apple devices, which appear on your device in blue bubbles. It doesn’t work with SMS messages, the kind that non-Apple phones like Android use, which send inside green bubbles.
  • You can edit messages for up to 15 minutes after sending them. After that point, the Edit option will disappear.
  • Anyone that you’re texting will see the word Edited appear underneath your new message. If they tap it, they’ll be able to see the original text and all the edited versions you’ve made.

With that in mind, follow the steps below to edit sent iMessage on iPhone:

  1. In the Messages app, open the chat thread containing the sent message that you want to edit.
  2. Long press the sent message that you want to fix. (If you don’t see the option, the message was sent over 15 minutes ago and you cannot edit it.)
  3. Tap Edit from the pop-over menu.
  4. You’ll now be able to edit the text of the message however you want — you just can’t erase the entire thing. When you’re done with it, tap the checkmark icon to save and send it again. The new version of your message will replace the original on every device you’re texting.

12. Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone

If you’ve accidentally deleted some text messages that you meant to keep, don’t panic — you can use a hidden messages trick to recover lost text messages on your iPhone.

With iOS 16, you can recover all text messages within one month of deletion.

Here’s how to recover a deleted message on an iPhone running ‌iOS 16.

  1. In the Messages app, navigate to the main Messages screen where filters like Known Senders and Unknown Senders can be found.
  2. Tap Recently Deleted.
  3. Tap the messages that you want to recover so that a blue check mark appears next to each one. (Note that each message show the days remaining before automatic deletion.)
  4. Tap Recover in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  5. Tap **Recover Message[**s] in the pop-over to confirm.

13. Report Junk SMS and MMS Messages

In ‌iOS 16 and higher‌, you can report SMS/MMS messages as junk in the Messages app which will alert Apple and your network provider and delete the message in question.

To report a message from an unknown sender as junk on an iPhone running ‌iOS 16‌ or higher, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the message and tap the blue Report Junk option that appears below it.
  2. Tap Delete and Report Junk in the pop-over to confirm.

14. Mark a Message as Unread

In ‌iOS 16 or higher‌, you can mark an SMS message or iMessage as new, thereby returning the blue dot to the message to remind you to return to it.

Marking a message as unread is pretty useful because it means if you get a message and don’t have time to read it or address its contents, you can mark it as unread so that it appears as a new message again.

Here’s how you mark a Message as unread on an iPhone running ‌iOS 16‌ or higher.

  1. Open the Messages app, and find the message in the conversations list that you want to mark as unread.
  2. Long press on the message in the conversations list.
  3. Tap Mark as Unread from the pop-over menu.

15. Add Reactions to Texts or iMessages on an iPhone

Reacting to text messages on your iPhone stamps them with a small emoji so everyone can see how you feel. Here’s how to react to a text message in the iPhone Messages app.

The process of reacting to a text message is even simpler than typing out a text message:

  1. Tap and hold on the text message you want to react to.
  2. Start Messages app on your iPhone and go into the conversation you want to add reaction.
  3. Tap and hold on the text message you want to react to.
  4. A popup will appear with various different reactions, in the form of emojis. These include symbols for love, like, dislike, laugh, exclamation reactions, and more.
  5. Tap on the reaction you want to send.
  6. An icon will appear on the corner of the text you reacted to.

You can undo a reaction by repeating the same steps mentioned above. Just tap and hold, then tap on the same emoji you already added to remove your reaction. You can also open the same popup by tapping on the icon instead of tapping and holding on to the text.

Your Favorite iPhone Messaging Tips and Tricks?

These are our favorites iPhone messaging tips and tricks. We hope they will enhance your user experience with messaging on your iPhone. What are your favorite iPhone Messages tips and tricks? Drop a comment and let us know.

By Dave Johnson Executive Editor
Dave Johnson is the editor-in-chief at GeeksChalk where he oversees all of site’s evergreen content to ensure it’s up to date with the latest information. Hailing from New Jersey in the US, he has over seven years of experience in the tech journalism space and holds a degree in English Literature. In his spare time, Dave can found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, and petting every dog he comes across in the outside world.
Leave a comment