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9 ways Apple's Messages app will change the way you text

Apple announced a ton of fun, new features for its Messages app at the company's annual developers conference. Here are the ones we think will have you saying "Snapchat, who?"

Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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At WWDC 2016, Apple announced a ton of new features for iOS 10, including fun, interactive ones for its Messages app. The functions make the messaging app more enjoyable to use for sending silly selfies to your bestie or doing some dogspotting, however there are a few practical and useful tools thrown in there, too. Here are the new Messages features we think will have you reconsidering your Snapchat allegiance.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Invisible Ink

OK, so, it's not actually invisible or ink, but it does add a fun dash of mystery to your texts. When using the feature, your message (text or photo) will be disguised as a blurry, pixelated image, and not until the recipient swipes on the message bubble will it become visible.

I like the dramatic unveiling (it reminds me of a cheesy banner reveal), but aside from coyly sending NSFW material, I'm not sure what practical use it has. I, personally, don't, but if you do (no judgement here) it could save the recipient some embarrassment if they accidentally open your message on a crowded bus.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

TapBack

In real-life you can nod, smile or give a thumbs up to simply acknowledge what someone has said. Apple's bringing that same sentiment to Messages with TapBack. Instead of reacting with a dull "OK" response, you can reply with a thumbs-up, heart, etc. (similar to Facebook Reactions) by tapping on the message. I often grapple with overtexting (should I respond just to let them know I read their text? Or let them assume I did?) and I like that the TapBack function gracefully eliminates this anxiety.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Emojify your text

It takes time to swipe and search through the bevy of emojis available just to find the right one. Not anymore. By analyzing the text, Messages will highlight words that you can switch for emojis instead. Also, to sweeten the deal, Apple's made the emojis three times larger. I :heart: using emojis but I hate :magnifying glass: for them, so this feature is right up my :alley:.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Digital Touch

A handwritten note can convey your personal feelings in a way a text message can't. The Digital Touch feature tries to bridge that gap by encouraging handwritten messages. You can write a simple "Thank You" in your own handwriting and send it as a text, or spruce it up first by taking a photo or video and then writing "Thank you" over it, like how Snapchat works. I'm more of an animated GIF and flurry-of-emojis kind of communicator, but whatever floats your Boaty McBoatface.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Bubble effects

Bubble effects add animation to text, so you can add more personality to your messages. You can exude excitement with an effect that magnifies the text, or show remorse with an effect that minimizes it. As someone who's always looking for the most obnoxious way to text a friend "Happy Birthday," this is the feature I'm most looking forward to.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Quicker camera

When you tap on the camera icon in Messages, your camera roll photos, as well as what your camera currently sees, will appear. This makes it easier to take or send a quick photo. I can see this coming in handy during events, like concerts or weddings, where you're sharing photos as quickly as you're taking them.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Rich links

Rich links sounds like a fancy sausage company that caters to the one percent but, thankfully, it's not. It just means that once you paste a link into your message, instead of seeing a long hyperlink, you'll see a photo and short description, like how it looks when you share a link on Facebook.

If you send a YouTube video link or song via Apple Music, it'll also allow you to play that media in the text message window, instead of opening the app to do so. It makes shared links look more visually appealing on Messages, in turn encouraging users who care about presentation (like me) to choose it over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Intelligent scheduling

If you make plans with a friend over Messages, your iPhone will let you easily add it to your calendar by automatically gathering the information in the text message, like time and location. Creepy? A little. Useful? Very. I'm terrible at reminding myself to add things to my calendar, so this semi-automated process will make scheduling events a breeze.


Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Current location

Meeting up with friends somewhere without an exact address (like a park or beach) can be tricky. Many people send pins of their location on Google Maps, but Apple's making it simpler to use its own Map app by building that same function into Messages.

If someone sends you a message asking "where are you?" it can recognize the phrase and suggest sending your location as an automatic response. It can't get any easier to describe to your buds exactly where in Dolores Park you've set up camp.