You knew how to use the iOS Message, but don’t really use it

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Screenshot: Joel Cunningham – Use this trick for a little more zip with your iPhone messages. If you send “friends” or “happy birthday” to someone who uses messages on an iPhone, they are going to be slightly surprised: a Confetti or some celebration globes rain down or float along with your words on the screen. This is a nice little trick embedded on the message platform, but it can be triggered for every message you send.

If you want to send enhanced animated text, press the Blue Arrow button for a long time. This opens a panel called “Send with effect” to send text with additional pizzaz.

Screenshot: Andrew Liptak

You can send your texts two different ways, and select how you want to send them in the top: Bubble or Screen. The Bubble Effect — the one you probably used a little while ago — will change the way your text message appears on a receiver’s phone after a few options have been selected:

  • Slam: Your message’s text appears on the screen
  • Loud: The text seems to explode to the reader
  • Gentle: The text shows up to normal size slowly.
  • Invisible ink: The message is presented as a cloud of points to be revealed by the recipient. (After you read it the message will become obscured — a helpful trick if you don’t want people to read on your shoulder.)
Screenshot: Andrew Liptak

The other section, however, you may not notice that you know it isn’t, is Screen, which adds a full-screen effect to your text message. Tap it to check your options – but you must swipe from left to right to select the effect unlike the Bubble section:

  • Echo: Send your SMS to your screen and multiplicate it. (This is especially fun if you use some emojis — although they will appear in one line if you use more than four characters instead of individual characters)
  • Spotlight: darken the screen and light your text. Focus:
  • Balloons: Any text message will be accompanied by a balloon cloud.
  • Confetti: sends your text with a shower of confetti.
  • Love: with your text sends a huge heart.
  • Lasers: Together with your text send a small laser show.
  • Fireworks: When your message is delivered, fireworks explode
  • Celebration: This one is shooting showers of festival sparks at a corner of the screen.

These effects do not generally stack — except Echo, which can replicate the effects of the Bubble in a messages cloud that covers the entire screen. First select the Bubble effect, then swip to the Screen and choose “Echo.” (Layering works with other Screen effects, such as love and celebration, as of this writing.).

The impact is a good way to improve your texts (and you can tap under each text to replay them). You can activate or turn them off under Settings > Accessibility > Auto-Play Message Effects if they do not show up — or if you do not want them to show up. Apple will also allow you to use these effects to send regular text messages although only other message users are actually seeing them.