Apple is packing lots of new features into the iOS 13 update — practically no core app has gone untouched. The Messages app is getting plenty of love here, including new ways to dress and use your Memoji.
While the stable version of the new iOS update won't be available to the public until this fall, the new Messages features are available in the developer beta Apple announced at WWDC 2019. We'll go over the changes below, all of which should make your iMessage experience a lot more fun.
Apple's interactive emojis are getting more customization features in iOS 13. When you go to create a Memoji in the Messages app, you'll now have the following tools available to you in addition to those available in iOS 12:
- Eye Shadow
The makeup tools will allow you to choose from 15 different base colors, but you can go further and customize the saturation and lightness of each shade. Some of the new teeth options include a gap tooth, missing tooth, and even gold crowns.
Once you've set up your new and improved Memoji, you'll be glad to know you can take them outside of the Messages app. Now, while using the default keyboard, you'll be able to access a "Memoji Stickers" section in other Apple apps like Mail, or even third-party apps like WhatsApp.
These stickers will essentially embed themselves as images, so they'll work in almost any messaging or communications app. In a lot of ways, they're like Apple's version of Bitmoji. This feature will require that your iPhone has an A9 chip or newer — in other words, an iPhone 6S or newer.
Memoji trace their roots to Animoji, which are pre-made emoji that can track your face with Apple's AR capabilities. In the new iOS version, there are three new Animoji characters to choose from, bringing the total to 27 (up from 24 in iOS 12).
The new Animoji are mouse, octopus, and cow. We've yet to get our hands on these, but we'll update this guide with pictures as soon as we do.
Until now, the way you showed up in other people's Messages app was up to them. They would choose your name and photo when they added you as a contact, and from then on, when you messaged them, that's what would appear.
With iOS 13, you'll be able to customize your avatar and display name in Messages. Essentially, you're setting up an iMessage profile here, and it can include any name of your choice, a photo, or even a Memoji. When you start up a new conversation with someone, Messages can automatically populate this information (including the avatar) into the other person's Messages app.
You'll be able to choose who gets to see your "profile" when you message them. You can opt to share it with everyone, only your contacts, or just once.
When you're in a message thread and you tap the person or group's avatar at the top of the page, you'll reveal a little "i" button, among other controls. Tapping this button takes you to the Details Pane, which gives you several options like opening a FaceTime chat with the other party, calling them, customizing alerts for the conversation, and it even a list of all the file attachments from the thread.
Understandably, with as many features as are included in the Details Pane, it's a little messy. With iOS 13, Apple is cleaning up this menu to make it easier to use and more organized. We haven't gotten our hands on this yet, but we'll update this guide with before and after screenshots as soon as we do.
If you swipe down from the top of your Messages list, you'll expose a search bar where you can look for messages that contained certain keywords. In iOS 13, before you even start typing into this search field, you'll see messages, links, photos, and contacts that appeared in your recent Messages activity. So chances are, you'll find what you're looking for without actually having to search!
To make searching even easier, you can now open a message thread and tap a button to search within that thread. This will make it a lot easier to find messages that a certain person sent since you're not searching your entire Messages history.
This one is more of a keyboard feature than a Messages feature, but if you use the default keyboard to send texts, it will vastly improve your Messages experience.
Like Gboard, the default keyboard in iOS 13 now has gesture typing. Instead of pecking out each individual letter of a word, you can simply slide your thumb around the keyboard, connecting the dots between letters — perfect for typing with one hand. Apple's calling this new feature "QuickPath" typing, but it's the same basic functionality that debuted with the Swype keyboard in 2009.