Ever since iOS 11, there's been a little drawer at the bottom of conversation threads in the Messages app. That drawer houses what Apple calls "iMessage apps," even though they also work in regular text messages. These apps are convenient for various reasons, but if you don't use any of them, it's just wasted space on the screen. Luckily, you can get rid of this app drawer.
Before we get to removing the pseudo-toolbar, let's first talk about the benefits of it. You might just realize that it's more necessary than annoying, especially since iOS 12 where one thing you used to do before now needs to be accessed from the drawer (*). Also, if you have an iPhone with Face ID, like an X, XS, XS Max, or XR, you have an extra benefit down there (**).
- Apple Pay Cash: Send money to anyone with an iOS device or Mac.
- Digital Touch: Send custom-drawn or preset animations.
- Music: Share recently played songs via Apple Music (not iTunes).
- Photos: Where your photo library now resides. *
- Animoji: Create and share animated 3D characters (as well as personal avatars called Memoji). **
These are in addition to all the third-party iMessage apps available, which provide stickers, GIFs, information, games, handwritten messages, and more.
Some of these iMessage apps have been around since iOS 10 when Apple introduced the iMessage App Store, but there was no persistent drawer in conversations. Instead, you had to open it up yourself. Now, there's the bar just under the text input box. You can scroll through the available apps by swiping left or right, and you can tap-and-hold on the bar to expand it and see names for the apps.
If you're still finding the app drawer more irritating than useful, there is a quick trick that will make it disappear. When you open a message thread on your iPhone in iOS 11 or iOS 12, the app drawer will appear at the bottom. Simply tap the App Store icon to the left of the iMessage or Text Message field, and to the right of the camera icon, to push it away.
This should get rid of the app drawer at the bottom for quite some time. There's no guarantee it's gone for good, but in our tests, it disappears from all message threads — even after force-closing the app and restarting the iPhone. So it should stop annoying you for a decent amount of time.
If you ever need to use it to make a quick Animoji, access your photo library, or send some cash, just tap the App Store icon to make it reappear. Then, when you're done using it, tap that App Store icon again to hide the drawer again.