5 Tips to Get the Most out of the iOS 8 Messages App

iOS 8 Messages logo

The most recent iOS update brought along with it a bevy of new features, some of which are centered on Messages, the text messaging app for the iPhone and iPad. While Apple outlined some of these changes in its release presentation, many people still don’t know what iOS 8 Messages is capable of, making the upgrades not very useful at all.

Check out the tips below to get the most out of iOS 8 Messages and text strong.

1. Delete a Message

The iOS 8 update moved quite a few settings and features around, and while they may be more intuitive now, those of us that knew where they were before can easily lose them.

Take, for example, deleting messages. In older versions of iOS you would tap the Edit button in the upper corner of the window and choose which messages to delete. In iOS 8 this button is gone.

To delete individual messages in iOS 8, just tap and hold the message you want to delete, and when the contextual menu appears tap More.

iMessage screen on iPhone showing contextual menu

Small checkbox windows will appear next to each message in the thread, with the one you tapped on already checked. To delete the message, tap the Trash can icon in the lower left corner on the screen. You can check more messages and delete them at this time, too.

iMessage conversation showing checkboxes next to messages

2. Swipe to See Timestamps

While iOS 8 Messages will show you the times of your most recent messages, it hides the timestamp for messages a few days in the past. To see the time older messages were sent and received, all you have to do is swipe to the left and hold.

iMessage conversation showing message timestamps

You’ll see all your old timestamps show up to the right. Let go of the swipe and they’ll disappear.

3. Send Audio Messages

If you want to leave a quick message for someone without calling them and you aren’t able to type it, you can send them an audio message from inside the iOS 8 Messages app.

To send an audio message, either open a new message with the contact you’re sending it to, or open an existing one. From here just tap on the microphone to the right of the text entry box and hold it to record. When you’re done with your message, stop holding the screen.

Recording audio message in iOS 8 Messages

You should now see a circle to the right with a Play button, an Up arrow, and an X. To hear your message tap Play, to cancel it tap the X, and to send it tap the Arrow.

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4. Mute Messages

We all have that friend or group of friends that sends way too many text messages. Most of the time it’s not a big deal. But if you’re at a movie or at work and you need to receive other messages while stopping ones in a specific thread, Messages has you covered.

If you don’t want to go so far as to block a contact from contacting you, but you just don’t want to be notified of messages in the thread, you can mute the thread and not affect other messages or calls from that contact.

Open up the offending message thread and tap the Details button in the upper right corner. Next, slide the toggle next to Do Not Disturb to the ON position. Now you’ll still receive messages from this thread, but you won’t be notified of them.
Messages Details screen with Do Not Disturb toggle switched to On

5. Quickly Attach Photos and Videos

iOS 8 makes it easier than ever to attach photos and videos to your messages – in two ways.

First, when you tap the Camera icon to the left of the text entry box you should now see your last four photos and links to see your entire photo library, along with the ability to take a photo or video. From here you can easily attach a recent photo or video to a message without viewing your entire library.

Last four photos in Photo Library showing in iOS 8 Messages

If you’re into taking quick pictures and sending them, there’s an even better way to send them via iOS 8 Messages. If you tap and hold the Camera icon, a circle will appear.

Inside this circle are three icons. First is the X, which will cancel your message. Next is the Camera icon, which will take a selfie and immediately send it as a message. Finally you should see the big red circle, which will take a video and send it immediately.

Taking photo from within Messages in iOS 8

The caveat here is that as soon as you tap either video or photo, your message will be sent without review. You’ll notice the camera starts up in selfie mode, but you can tap the icon in the upper right corner to switch it to the rear-facing camera instead.

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