How To: Apple's Messages App Has a Hidden Feature You Can Use Only by Doing This

Apple's Messages App Has a Hidden Feature You Can Use Only by Doing This

Apple has a secret iMessage effect so hidden that there's only one way to unlock it, and it's not by digging through the Messages app's settings, tools, effects, or interface. However, it's used the same way whether you're messaging from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, so it's easy to remember once you know.

Images, emoji, stickers, GIFs, and videos can help express your emotions, feelings, or ideas visually in a text conversation, and you can use Apple's bubble effects to emphasize any of those things. But when you want to add flair to whatever you're saying or visualizing, you'd use Apple's message effects.

Message effects blast animations across the entire screen in iMessage conversations for both the sender and recipient, making them a great way to accentuate specific text or images. On iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, and older software versions, there are eight total message effects, most of which have been around for over five years:

  • Echo, Spotlight, Balloons, Confetti, Love, Lasers, Fireworks, Celebration

While few people know about it, there is also a hidden Shooting Star message effect that Apple doesn't advertise or mention anywhere. It's a strange one because it was officially available in iOS 10–13, and it was never available on macOS. Still, it's usable if you know the secret trigger that Apple continues not to disclose.

To set off the Shooting Star full-screen effect on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, send any of the following greetings in the Messages app. Usually, they are capitalized, but sending one in all lowercase letters will also trigger the effect.

  • "Eid Mubarak"
  • "Happy Eid"

After you hit send, a starburst will shoot across the screen from left to right, exploding with a cha-ching sound effect as it falls from the starlit night sky.

Eid Mubarak is a traditional Muslim greeting used mainly for the holy festivals of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Eid al-Fitr is the "Feast of Breaking the Fast," celebrated when many adult Muslims fast at the end of Ramadan. Just over two months later is Eid al-Adha, the Islam "Feast of the Sacrifice" holiday celebrated when many Muslims perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

"Eid" means celebration in Arabic, while "Mubarak" means blessed. Together, the literal translation is "blessed celebration," but it can be translated as "have a blessed holiday," "blessed feast," "blessed festival," or another variation. It's frequently shortened to "Blessed Eid" or "Happy Eid."

If you're a Marvel fan, you may remember episode 2 of "Ms. Marvel" — "Crushed" — which prominently featured the "Eid Mubarak" greeting being said during Eid al-Adha, with Kamala referring to it as the "lesser" Eid.

Most of the other full-screen message effects for iMessage have keyword or keyphrase triggers that will auto-send an animation. And while there are only two for Shooting Star (that we know of), most of the others have many different variations. There are over 200 triggers in over 40 different languages!

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo, screenshot, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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