Skip to Content
man using iphone messages app
© Prykhodov |
Tech tips

Best hidden iPhone messaging tips and tricks you should be using

Apple’s Messages app has undergone many changes over the years, and why not? Text messaging is one of the core components of any smartphone.

One thing that sets iPhone messaging apart is its higher file size limit. If you’ve ever tried sending a picture from an iPhone to an Android, you’ve probably noticed the degradation in quality. Tap or click here for one way to get around this annoying issue.

With each iPhone update, Apple tweaks or adds new features while fixing bugs and improving security. You may not be aware of quite a few neat tricks. Note: To access these texting features, update your iPhone to the latest version.

1. Unsend a text

Did you know that you could now unsend texts? It’s a nice feature to have, but there are some caveats:

  • You can only take back a message within two minutes of sending it.
  • The recipient can read your message before you unsend it.
  • If you unsend a message, it’ll disappear from the recipient’s screen, but they’ll be notified that you unsent it.

Now that you know how it works, here’s how to unsend a message:

  • While in an iMessage conversation, tap and hold the message you want to unsend.
  • Tap Undo Send.

2. Edit a sent text

Want to change the message you sent? Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • You have 15 minutes to edit a text.
  • You can edit a message up to five times.
  • The recipient can read your message before you edit it.
  • The recipient can tap your edited message and see its edit history.

Now that you know what happens when you partake in a bit of editing, here’s how it’s done:

  • While in an iMessage conversation, tap and hold the message you want to edit.
  • Tap Edit and make your changes.
  • Tap the blue checkmark when you’re done.

Tap or click here for our full report on these latest iMessage features.

3. Turn off read receipts

You can see when another iMessage user reads your message, and they can see the same when they message you.

While this is a helpful feature, read receipts tend to be distracting. You could find yourself constantly checking if your message has been read. It can also pose a safety issue. People can get angry for being left “on read,” asking why you didn’t respond after opening their message.

But guess what? You can turn off read receipts for all conversations or individual ones. With read receipts off, senders can only see that their messages were delivered.

Here’s how to change your read receipt options:

  • Go to Settings > Messages, then slide the toggle next to Send Read Receipts to the left to disable the feature.

Here’s how to turn off read receipts for individual conversations:

  • Go to Messages and open a conversation.
  • Tap the contact’s name at the top of the screen.
  • Toggle off Send Read Receipts.

Tap or click here for read receipt options on your Mac.

4. Mute notifications for a conversation

Group messages can be fun, but the constant text and comments can get to you. If you’re done with the conversation in a group message, you can get out of it without leaving the group:

  • Touch and hold a conversation in your list of Messages.
  • Tap Hide Alerts.
  • You can also tap the name(s) at the top of the conversation and toggle on Hide alerts.

That’s a practical option, but you’ll still get notifications if someone mentions you in a conversation. You can turn this type of notification off, too. Now you’ll be at peace (from that conversation, at least):

  • Go to Settings > Messages.
  • Scroll down to Mentions and switch off Notify Me.

5. Search through your messages

Are you trying to remember who you were texting about your favorite restaurant? The Messages app makes it easy to search through your iPhone text messages:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • At the top of the screen, type your search word or term in the Search field.
  • You’ll see options to search your Conversations.
  • Tap See All to get a list of messages containing your search word or term.
  • Tap on a conversation to be taken to that particular message.

You may also get results under other categories like Collaboration, Links, Photos, Locations and Documents.

Tap or click here for tips on searching through your Android, Facebook and WhatsApp messages.

6. Pin conversations

You can use the Messages app to pin conversations and links for easy reference later. Here’s how:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Tap and hold the conversation thread with the person you want to keep at the top of the list.
  • Tap Pin.

The conversation will appear at the top of your Messages app until you unpin it:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Tap Edit.
  • Tap Edit Pins.
  • Tap the minus sign – on the conversation you want to unpin.

7. Shake to undo

We all make mistakes when sending messages. You can highlight the incorrect text or hold down the delete button, but there’s an easier way.

  • Shake your phone after typing a message to open an Undo Typing window.
  • Tap Undo and your words will disappear.
  • Shake the phone again and tap Redo Typing to get your message back.

Note: This trick also works when entering text into Notes or emails.

8. Share your location through iMessage

We usually encourage you to hide your location, but sometimes you need someone to find you. You don’t need to fiddle with your GPS app, either. Here’s how to send your location to a trusted friend or relative:

  • Open the Messages app and choose the person you want to share your location with.
  • Tap the contact name at the top of the screen and choose Send my Current Location. Your recipient will see your location on the map.
  • We recommend you choose Allow While Using the App. Your location will be shared with the recipient.
  • You can also choose Share My Location, then select the length of time you want to share it.

Bonus: Use your phone with one hand

Smartphones are getting bigger, which is excellent as we use them more frequently for streaming and gaming. And let’s not forget that there’s an app for everything. The larger display makes it easier to send messages and check your calendar.

The problem is that even regular-sized iPhones (the ones that don’t carry the Max or Plus moniker) can be clunky to use one-handed. Your thumb can’t reach everything, particularly if your hands are more petite.

There are several ways to make your iPhone easier to use when you only have one free hand.

The one-handed keyboard

  • Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.
  • Tap One-Handed Keyboard.
  • Choose Left or Right.
  • You can also open Messages and hold down the emoji or globe button. Then tap the icon for the left or right keyboard.

Reach for the top

  • Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch.
  • Turn on Reachability to make it easier to lower the top half of your screen.

You may also like: Apple security tip: Use private browsing to erase your digital tracks (iPhone, iPad, Mac)

Refer friends, earn rewards

Share your source of digital lifestyle news, tips and advice with friends and family, and you'll be on your way to earning awesome rewards!

Get started