Next to spam calls, few things are more annoying than being inundated with spam, scam, and smishing texts. Your iPhone's Messages app should be a place for your friends and family to stay in touch, not a minefield of phishing attacks, malicious links, and viruses. Luckily, there are quite a few methods to block and report your way to a more spam-free iPhone.
One of the best reasons to enter Apple's ecosystem is iMessage, where you can communicate more securely with other Apple users and send and receive chats across all of your connected iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac devices. While those blue bubble conversations sync across devices, the green bubbles — SMS and MMS texts — remain on your iPhone alone unless you change a setting manually.
Messages is arguably the most important app on your iPhone, which is why it's always exciting when Apple pushes out new features for it. With the iOS 14 update, there a few critical changes as well as interface improvements and customization options that make the experience even more personalized than it already was.
How To: Make Perfect Shapes in Notes, Drawings & Annotations with iOS 14's New Shape Recognition Tool
There's a set of drawing tools that have been available for a long time on the iPhone that helps you create handwritten notes and sketches. It's great when you need a free-form way to capture your ideas, and now it's even better. Apple added shape recognition in iOS 14 so that you can now draw geometrically perfect shapes using finger doodles, giving the older shapes tool a run for its money.
One of iOS 14's more exciting features lets you tag someone in a group iMessage chat in the same way you would @ someone on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Even if the conversation is muted, you can get notified when you're mentioned, which helps you jump in only when needed. But if you want complete silence, then disable contact tagging notifications altogether.
Directing a message at a specific person in a group conversation, or to a select few people in the group, can be difficult if you're in a particularly active or hectic chat. Notifications and badges on your iPhone can help you keep track of important messages, but it's still easy to miss one meant for you and not the entire group — which is why you can now mention contacts, or get tagged, in Messages on iOS 14.
Group chats, particularly ones with many active participants, could bombard your iPhone with hundreds of texts in a single day. It can get overwhelming real quick unless you take precautions to hide all notifications for that conversation. But there's another option now, one that'll make sure you only get alerts for the messages that matter to you most in the thread.
Introduced in the Messages app back in iOS 8, audio messages are a fun way to spice up an iMessage thread when you're bored with text, emoji, and GIFs. However, it can be frustrating to lose an important, funny, or otherwise-interesting sound clip because iOS auto-deletes it two minutes after you send or listen to it. Thankfully, there is a way to stop this from happening.
Apple's Tapback is a great way to react to iMessages you find funny, surprising, confusing, and anything in between. However, in group chats, keeping track of who reacted with which Tapback can be difficult; iOS often just shows you how many people reacted but excludes many of the names. Luckily, there is a way around this — it's just a bit hidden.
How To: If 'Messages' Consumes Too Much iPhone or iCloud Storage, Don't Delete Your Conversations Just Yet
When iOS starts barking at you that you've run out of iCloud or iPhone storage, a quick trip to your settings to see what the culprit is may show that Messages is one of the worst offenders. But if deleting message after message doesn't free up your storage much, it's likely because "Messages" doesn't really mean messages.
How To: Disable the iMessage Typing Bubble Indicator So Others Don't Know You're Currently Active in the Chat
Apple's iMessage is one of the main reasons to use an iPhone, and there's a lot you can do in chats without being overly complicated. But there's one issue that continues to drive people nuts, and that's the blue typing bubble indicator with the moving ellipsis (•••). Can you stop it? Not officially, but there are workarounds.
Ah, the dreaded "green bubble" group chat. All it takes is one non-iPhone contact to turn an entire thread from iMessage paradise to SMS slog. Normally, it isn't that bad since the group chat still functions. However, sometimes, you end up getting messages individually instead of in a single group thread. Before you go blaming your Android friends, know that the issue is probably on your end.
Why are there no official Star Wars emoji in the Unicode Standard? We've got the "Vulcan Salute" from Star Trek, so where's the force choke hand gesture?! While you may never see Star Wars officially invade your emoji keyboard, there are ways to send Star Wars emoji and stickers to your friends in your favorite chat app.
How To: Stop Getting Those Annoying 'Share Your Name & Photo' Alerts in iMessage Threads on Your iPhone
Your iPhone comes with a feature that allows you to share your name and photo with anyone you iMessage in Messages. It's a useful feature if you want people to see a customized name or fun image that you pick, but seeing all those "Share your name and photo" alerts in conversations can get real annoying quickly. There's a way to stop that from happening, thankfully.
Sharing your iPhone's real-time location can be very useful when you want family and friends to know where you're at or your estimated time of arrival. By doing so, they can track you when you can't or don't want to update them manually. Depending on how you shared your location, however, they might still be able to track your exact coordinates after the initial share.
How To: Stop Photos from Automatically Creating iCloud Links When Sharing Images & Videos from Your iPhone
If you use iCloud Photos, Apple's iCloud link feature is meant to make sharing multiple photos and videos faster and easier, but it's not as great as you might think. Luckily, there's a way to stop your iPhone from creating them automatically, as long as you're running iOS 13 or later.
Apple's big iOS 14 update includes Memoji improvements such as new hairstyles and headwear to choose from for your personalized Animoji character. Even better, there are now face coverings, so you no longer have to resort to that one masked emoji to get the point across in these times of COVID-19.
A group conversation can be a chaotic place. Even with a small number of people, you still may get more messages than you can keep track of on your iPhone. What makes it even worse is trying to sort through all of the conversations within conversations. Apple, however, wants to make things easier on all of us, which is why iOS 14 allows you to respond to specific iMessages using inline replies.
Siri has slimmed down in iOS 14. The assistant now appears as a compact icon at the bottom of the screen instead of hijacking your entire iPhone. It's a welcome change to a user interface that has always felt a bit clunky, but just because Siri's UI has simplified doesn't mean that its capabilities have too. On top of several new features, Siri now lets you record and send audio messages using only your voice.
Apple has introduced several new features to its native Messages app with iOS 14. When it comes to group chats, you can now pin those conversations, use inline replies, and receive notifications only when you're tagged. And if that wasn't good enough, you or anyone else in the group can assign a photo for the entire group.