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Here’s everything new coming to Messages in iOS 18 – 9to5Mac

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Apple has some major feature upgrades coming to the Messages app in iOS 18.

As announced earlier today during the WWDC keynote, Messages is receiving big enhancements to tapbacks, a new scheduled send feature, the ability to format text with bold and italics, new effects, RCS support, and more.

Here’s everything coming to Messages in iOS 18.

Emoji tapbacks and new tapback designs

Tapbacks have gone unchanged on the iPhone for years, but in iOS 18 they’re finally getting some big improvements.

For starters, you’ll be able to send any emoji as a message tapback. Gone are the days of being limited to a handful of tapback reactions. Now you can send a tapback with the eyes-looking emoji, or barf emoji, or anything else that fits the occasion. If emoji options aren’t enough, you can also use stickers as tapbacks.

Your most commonly used emoji and stickers will be accessible with a swipe left on the initial set of tapback options that appear, sliding those default options out of the way to present your most used emoji and stickers.

Speaking of those default options, they’re getting a facelift in iOS 18. The classic thumbs up, heart, and more are being splashed with full color and new designs that will make them fit in better among the wider array of new tapback options.

Schedule messages for later

We’ve all had an occasion where we wanted to send a message later. In iOS 18, that will finally be possible. No more need to ask Siri to remind you to send something later, you can simply schedule it yourself.

Prep a message in iOS or iPadOS 18 and, if you don’t want to send it right away, you can choose a later day and time for it to automatically go out. The option is available by pressing the + button on the left side of the screen and selecting the new Send Later option.

Text formatting and special effects

Messages was the last major Apple app that supports text input but never supported rich text formatting options like bold and italics. That changes in iOS 18, where you can customize the formatting of words in your message to implement the standard four formatting styles:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Underline
  • Strikethrough

Joining these options are eight neat special effects that can also be applied on a per-character basis:

  • Big
  • Small
  • Shake
  • Nod
  • Explode
  • Ripple
  • Bloom
  • Jitter

I’m not exactly sure which messaging occasions will call for some of these effects, but they’re nice options to have nonetheless.

RCS support

Apple had previously announced that it would support RCS in 2024, but it was great to see confirmation of that today.

RCS is a newer, more capable text message protocol that serves as a successor to SMS and MMS. Essentially, by adding RCS support in iOS 18, Apple will make your conversations with Android users more reliable than before.

When communicating over iMessage, everything will stay as-is. Your blue bubble conversations don’t change. But in those situations when, say, you’re in a group chat that includes a green bubble friend, RCS should make the experience better for everyone.

Everything else

Genmoji: Though not exclusive to Messages, the place you’re bound to use Genmoji most is in your conversations with friends and family. These AI-generated emoji will provide endless potential for future emoji communications.

Image Playground: Similarly, the new Image Playground tools for creating AI images in a variety of styles will be a useful option to have baked into the Messages app when it launches later this year alongside other Apple Intelligence features.

Messages via Satellite: Messages in iOS 18 also includes support for a new Messages via Satellite feature that’s designed to help you out in situations where you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Wrap-up

Messages in iOS 18 provides a variety of new tools and features that are bound to get a lot of use. Though the core of the app is remaining the same, Apple has provided enhancements that I personally expect to benefit from a lot.

What are your favorite features in iOS 18’s Messages app? Let us know in the comments.

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