Apple introduced several new features to iOS 10 in the Messages app to create a more social and creative experience. Users communicating over iMessage can now send each other screen effects, bubble effects, hidden pictures, stickers, handwritten messages, and drawings. In this post, I will show you how to use bubble and screen effects for better text messaging experience.
Just a couple of notes before getting started. These effects only work between Apple devices and requires iOS 10 for mobile devices and macOS Sierra for computers. All other devices, including Android, will not experience the effect or they will simply read “(Sent with [effect name]). If the chat bubbles are blue then you are messaging something with another Apple device. Also, if Reduce Motion is enabled in the Settings app for devices running iOS 10.0.2, iMessage effects are automatically turned off. The next update, iOS 10.1, allows Reduce Motion to be turned on and iMessage effects will not be affected.
Bubble effects change the way an iMessage bubble is added to a conversation. Instead of the simple (and boring) swipe up to just appear, messages can be sent in four new ways: slam, loud, gentle, and invisible ink. Messages sent with the slam effect are forced down and cause the other chat bubbles to move out of place for a moment. The loud effect enlarges and shakes the chat bubble and the message inside. This is great for saying “Hey” or to share something exciting. Gentle effects are a subtle way of sending an apology with a little extra meaning. Finally, invisible ink sends a message that has to be wiped away before the text is revealed and it is great for sending secret messages. All these effects are not just limited to text messages; pictures, emoji, stickers, and more can be sent too. Bubble effects can enabled by first putting a message or a picture in the text field. Tap and hold the blue arrow and slide your finger up to one of the effects. You can also tap the gray dot to select the effect. When you’re ready to send, just tap the blue arrow again. In the iOS 10.1 update, message effects can also be replayed if they are missed.
Screen effects take over the entire iMessage screen. They appear behind all the chat bubbles and the keyboard and either have a black or white background depending on the effect. Currently there are balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, or a shooting star. They add an extra bit of fun to sent messages and work well when celebrating holidays like a friend’s birthday or the Fourth of July. Screen effects can be enabled by first writing a message then tapping and holding on the blue arrow. Let go of the blue arrow, tap Screen, then swipe to the desired effect. When you’re ready to send the message, tap the blue arrow again, or tap the X to cancel. On devices with 3D Touch, there may be taptic feedback when enabling a screen effect.
Bubble and screen effects are just two of the ways Apple enhanced the Messages app. In a future post, I will share about stickers, handwritten messages, and emojification.