How to disable and deactivate iMessage on iPhone or iPad. Imessage на теле2

How To Fix iMessage “Waiting for Activation” Error on iPhone,iPad – iOS 9/10/11

There are constant bugs in iOS that apple does not seem to fix. One of the most popular problem in ios 9, ios 10 and ios 11 is the iMessage waiting for activation error / issue. There seem to have no fix for this that an average user can try.

Despite constant efforts. Even reinstalling firmware or giving a reset to your phone does not seem to fix the iMessage waiting for activation dreadful issue.

So what can you do ? Easy, all you have to do is try out this simple fix.

There are quite a lot of fixes but the chances of them working are 50%. I looked at the most commonly worked solution for this imessage error and have come up with a working fix for waiting for activation imessage error on iOS 9 or iOS 10 or ios 11.

This solution has helped many users and is continuing to get more appraised by more and more iOS users over time. If you are facing the same issue. Don’t give up on your phone before trying these methods to fix the imessage activation error on ios 9, ios 10 , ios 11.

Get Ready For The iMessage,”Waiting For Activation Error” Fix

Before you proceed on to the solution. Please make sure of the following precautions and carefully make sure that you have these.

  • Open your contacts. Make sure that you see your own phone number on the top of the contacts. If not then go to Settings, Phone, My Number and enter your number. It should come up now in the contacts.
  • Check that your Date and Time are correct. Set your time setting to automatically under the General settings.Make sure that your iPhone,iPad displays correct time.
  • One of the most necessary thing is your internet connectivity. Make sure you are on a working network and that you are not facing any wifi or connectivity issues.Either you are on cellular or wifi.Get a working network.

Sometimes, for us international users, i message tends to send out an international message to activate itself. So it is precautionary to have sufficient amount of balance and carrier permission.

Lastly,you should contact your carrier and ask them if they support iMessage or not. Contact them and verify any limiting condition on your for iMessage, blocks, or filters on text messages.

Try these 2 fixes to get iMessage working and activated once again on your iPhone or iPad.

Airplane Mode Fix

Sounds strange ? Maybe it is. This is the most working and most thanked method by thousands of users getting the activation error.This is a simple method I found while browsing some forums and discussions. It is easy and you will be amazed how often it works.

So here are the steps for iMessage Activation Airplane Mode Fix.

  1. Go to your settings -> go down and search for Messages -> in Messages turn of iMessage + disable FaceTime.
  2. Now swipe up and open the control center. Tap on AirPlane Mode and turn it on. Also turn off the Wi-Fi.
  3. Now wait for a second (give your phone a restart if you want) and turn On Wi-fi.
  4. Go back to Messages from the settings and turn on iMessage.
  5. You will be prompted for your Apple ID and Password. If you have not added it yet. (Optional)
  6. In most cases, you will are shown a notification that ‘Your carrier may charge for SMS’ .Tap on OK.
  7. If you are not shown the message. Turn off iMessage and turn it On again.
  8. In a short while, iMessage will get activated.

This worked for most users. And me too. Try this and let me know what you get using this method.

Apple ID Sign-out, Sign-in Fix

Sometimes, it is not the carrier or iPhone messing with you. It is your Apple ID. Since the whole of iOS revolves around your apple id. You just need to quickly tweak it to fix problems. To fix iMessage Waiting for Activation error issue using this method. Follow the steps.

  1. Go to Settings -> Messages -> Send And Recieve.
  2. Now in the first column. You will see your Apple Id attached. Tap on it and select Sign out.
  3. Switch or turn off iMessage for a While. Turn your Wifi or Cellular Data Off and On.
  4. Now go again to iMessage and goto Send & Recieve. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  5. Try to reactivate .

Done. You should now be able to get the waiting for activation problem fixed. It is recommended that you should try both the methods. Give me a comment if this is not working for you.

If nothing seems to work. You can always try to restore or install a fresh new iOS firmware. As this is your last option. You can also try to restore network settings.

These were the top 2 Fixes for getting the problem easily fixed on iOS 9 and iOS 10, ios 11. Hope by now, you should have successfully reactivated your iMessage.

If you are facing any issue still. I will try my best to help you. Let me know.

If this worked for you .Can I get a share and a thumbs up (Y) . Thankyou .

How to disable and deactivate iMessage on iPhone or iPad

The Messages app lets your iPhone and iPad owning friends, family, and colleagues send you iMessages instead of SMS or MMS, thus avoiding carrier fees. Apple does this by detecting that you're both using iOS and then sending an iMessage instead of an SMS or MMS. If you stop using your iPhone, though, and switch to Android, Apple has to stop sending iMessages instead of SMS. The best way to make sure Apple knows you've switched, and to make sure you don't miss any messages from those still using iOS, is to turn off iMessage before you go.

How to deactivate iMessage before switching from iPhone to Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone

Complete these steps from your iPhone before starting to use your new smartphone:

  1. Launch Settings from the Home screen of your iPhone.
  2. Tap Messages.
  3. Tap the slider next to iMessage to turn it off.

  4. Go back to Settings.

  5. Tap on Facetime.
  6. Tap the slider next to Facetime to turn it off.

Now hop into the Messages app and send some messages to people you know have iPhones to make sure they can message you back. You want green messages bubbles for everything.

Once you're done this, iMessage should deactivate from Apple's servers and you shouldn't have any issues, nor should you have to go any further into this guide. As a side note, the sooner you do this, the better off you are. If you know you're going out to purchase an Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone in 3 days, do this process right now. That way you have turned off iMessage and it gives the servers a few days to actually process the request completely and boot you off.

Once you've switched to your new smartphone, verify you can send and receive text messages to someone else using an iPhone. If you aren't receiving anything back, continue on to remedy the problem...

How to manually deactivate iMessage from Apple's servers

If you've already migrated over to your new device but forgot to deactivate iMessage and no longer have access to an iPhone, don't sweat. Apple has an online process for you to deactivate your phone number from the iMessage servers.

  1. Go to ( from any web browser.
  2. Scroll down to the second section labeled No longer have your iPhone?.
  3. Enter the phone number you'd like to de-activate from iMessage and click Send Code.
  4. Check your current phone for a text message and enter the code that you're sent.
  5. Wait for confirmation that iMessage has been de-activated.

Alternatively, you can need to call 1-800-MY-APPLE in order to have Apple manually de-register your phone number from the Apple servers. In order to do this, make sure you have your Apple ID on hand as well as the phone number in question.

To expedite the process of your call, be sure to ask for technical support when calling in. Then just tell them you're switching to a smartphone that isn't an iPhone and you can't receive messages so you need them to manually unregister you from the iMessage servers.

TiPb Answers: How iMessage works [FAQ]

We're getting tons and tons of questions about iOS 5's new iMessage, how it works, where it sends to, and how to avoid sending to the wrong person or device. Apple hasn't given out a lot of details about it yet, but based on what they showed on the keynote and how they've previously handled user and device ID, we can make some guesses. Now if it looks a little complex... wellafter the break!

So here's how iMessage works, as best as we can figure out at the moment.

How do you enable iMessage?

You can enable iMessage in Settings on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It's similar to how FaceTime is setup.

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Tap on Messages
  3. Tap on Use Your Apple ID for iMessage
  4. Sign In with an Apple ID (MobileMe, iTunes, etc.) or Create New Account
  5. Enter the email address you want to use for iMessage
  6. Apple will verify the address, if it's not already registered, you'll get an email asking you to verify it.
  7. You can Add Another Email address, or several, if you want.

If you're on an iPhone, once you're logged into iMessage your iPhone phone number will also be registered with iMessage and anything sent to it from another iOS 5 device will prioritize iMessage over SMS.

Does iMessage count as text or data?

  1. Messages SMS still count against your total number of SMS/MMS in your package (if you have a limit)
  2. iMessages are sent over data, not SMS/MMS so they count against your data cap (if you have one).

How does Message decide between sending SMS and iMessages?

When you enter a contact into Messages, you'll see all the available phone number and email accounts for that contact.

  1. If they have an iMessage-registered email address, you'll see a little blue word bubble to the right of the address.
  2. If they have an iMessage-registered iPhone phone number (their iPhone is logged into iMessage), you'll see a little blue word bubble to the right of the address.
  3. If they have a non-iMessage phone number (for example, they're logged out or they're using a BlackBerry), you won't see any bubble.

When you pick a contact, it starts off gray and Messages will process it for a second.

  1. If it determines it can send via iMessage, the contact turns blue and the text entry box says "iMessage".
  2. If it determines it can send via SMS/MMS, the contact turns green and the text entry box says "Text Message".
  3. If it determine it can't send via either iMessage or SMS/MMS, the contact turns red and shows an exclamation mark.

So which device sends what type of message then?

  1. If you're on an iPhone and all you have is the other person's mobile number, Messages will send via SMS
  2. If you're on an iPad or iPod touch and all you have is the other person's mobile number, Messages will not be able to send (you'll get a red exclamation mark in the contact name), because iPod touch and iPad can't do SMS.
  3. If you're on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and all you have the other person's iMessages ID, Messages will send via iMessage

What if I have an iPod touch or iPad, but my phone is non-Apple? (Feature, BlackBerry, Android, etc.) Will my iOS device intercept my SMS?

No. Remember, when you enter in a contact, you can see all their associated numbers and email addresses.

  1. If the person sends to your iMessage email address, it will show up on your iPod touch or iPad.
  2. If the person sends to your mobile phone number, it will show up on your mobile phone.

If we share the same iTunes account, how do I make sure my husband/wife/kids don't get my iMessages

Luckily, Apple's fragmented ID system works in your favor. Just like FaceTime, iMessage email addresses are separate and independent from iTunes logins.

  1. Choose the same address for multiple devices if they're all yours and you want to get your iMessages on all of them.
  2. Choose different addresses for multiple devices if they belong to different members of the family and you want them each to get their own iMessages.

You can use any email account you validate with Apple (we even know some people using accounts. Shh. No names.)

How do I see/change the address associated with iMessage?

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Tap Messages
  3. Scroll down and tap on Receive At
  4. Tap Add Another Email to add an addition email account
  5. Tap an existing email account, the tap Remove This Email to remove an account

Just go through each of your devices and assign them the same email, or different emails, as suits your individual or family needs.

Any other questions?

Again, we won't know for sure until iOS 5 ships this fall and Apple officially explains how iMessage works, but this is our best guesses based on available information. If you have any corrections, or other questions, let us know!

iOS 5: iMessage – MacStories

With today's release of iOS 5, Apple has added a significant new feature to their Messages app with the introduction of iMessage. Seamlessly integrating into the existing Messages application, iMessage is a new service from Apple that acts as a replacement for the traditional text message service that comes with mobile phones.

In actual fact, a more accurate description of the Messages app with iMessage on iOS 5 would be that it improves on the traditional text messaging service whilst maintaining compatibility with it. The new iMessage service works by associating a person with an Apple ID - rather than a particular device or SIM card as the traditional text message service does. This is one of iMessage's advantages, you are not restricted to a single device and you can now use your iPad or iPod touch (and hopefully Mac soon) for receiving and sending messages to other people.

Jump the break to read the rest of our iMessage overview.

How it works

The Messages app on iOS 5 can send either an iMessage or a traditional text message, which one is used will depend entirely on who you are sending the message to. If the person you are sending the message to is also signed up for iMessage (determined by whether their phone number is on Apple's database) then your message will be sent through iMessage - if they aren't on Apple's iMessage database it will go through the traditional text messaging service. This selection process and database check is done automatically and instantly, with no user action required.

An important piece of information to convey here is that unlike the traditional text messaging service, iMessage is not tied to a particular device or SIM card - it uses an Apple ID. Consequently the Apple ID you entered during the iOS 5 set-up phase will be the one used, by default, for iMessage. The Apple ID can be changed from within the Settings app, but more importantly you can also set up "proxy" email addresses through which you can receive iMessages. These proxy addresses act as gateways through which iMessages can be funnelled into your Apple ID, which is what actually stores your messages. If you have an iPhone your phone number is also added automatically to this list of "proxies".

When sending an iMessage, it doesn't matter whether you have that person's Apple ID email, one of their proxy addresses or even their phone number - as long as they have associated it with their Apple ID, it will be sent to them through iMessage. Obviously if they do not have iMessage and you enter their email address, your message will not be sent, but if you enter their phone number the Messages app will revert to sending via the traditional text messaging service. The key point here is that the Messages app will default to sending messages through iMessage and revert back to the traditional text messaging service if iMessage isn't available.

iMessage = Traditional Text Message

There really isn't much difference between an iMessage and a traditional text message. Both can send text to one or more people whilst also supporting the transfer of images and videos. The only real difference is that there is a much higher word limit per iMessage and everything is transferred through the internet via the iMessage service, rather than a carrier - meaning no exorbitant costs for sending images or video. Similarly, any iMessage will be delivered with a push notification from the Messages app, just as it would be done if it was a traditional text message. From my experience, iMessage is as quick at sending and receiving messages - perhaps even a bit quicker, especially with multimedia. The iMessage service is fully encrypted and the service will display a "Delivered" note next to each message to indicate a successful delivery and there is also the option of sending 'read receipts' - these simply allow the other person (who sent the iMessage) to know that you have read their message.

Messages on all your iOS devices

A consequence of developing iMessage is that Apple can now offer the Messages app on the iPad and iPod touch because the service needs nothing more than an internet connection. It could well be (and it is my belief) that Apple specifically developed iMessage in order to get a good messaging service on the iPad. Apple is intent on seeing the iPad be the Post-PC device that is core to our digital lives and they have inched it closer to that reality with every iOS update. iOS 5's big push has of course been the PC-Free and iCloud features which sever the shackles between the PC and the iPad - and iMessage should be seen as part of Apple's move to make the iPad independent and distinct from other products.

Text messaging is an increasingly important way of communication and for it to be restricted only to a mobile phone seems increasingly absurd with the advent of Facebook messaging, Twitter direct messages and a thriving selection of apps in the App Store. Independently those options work fine, but the user experience is not optimal, because users must remember what service to use for contacting a specific person. iMessage should help significantly reduce this confusion, and has potential to be even more significant if Apple plays its cards right.

One shouldn't discount the fact that the iPod touch also gets iMessage, making the device even more useful - particularly for older children and young teens who can now communicate with each other without parents worrying about giving their kids a phone and all the associated text messaging costs, when perhaps they don't really need one yet.

Completely transparent

Unlike the similar service of Blackberry Messenger (BBM), there is no separate app or division between your collection of text messages sent through your carrier and those messages sent using iMessage. All your messages live on inside the Messages app that has existed since iOS 1.0. This transparency is one of iMessage's strongest virtues; average users probably won't even really notice a difference and because iMessage requires virtually no user interaction to set-up, millions of people will start to use iMessage within days. This fast take-up is vital to the success of iMessage, because the best benefits only start once most of your contacts use iMessage. Incredibly, it could be an iPhone owner's phone bill where an average consumer first actually notices the presence of iMessage, with a reduced number of text messages and (if their carrier charges per text message) a reduced bill.

An important distinction

I've described above the transparency through which iMessage integrates with the Messages app, although there is a small exception. When sending messages through iMessage, your text will now be encased in a blue bubble - rather than the traditional green bubble. It's a distinct difference between sending through the two different services but it is purely a visual indicator that does not impinge on the user experience. The only other distinction that Apple has employed is the mention of "iMessage" in the text box - another visual indicator.

iMessage also helps spread the iOS 5 theme of "iCloud is the truth" - no matter what iOS device you are using, all your iMessages will be in sync. It's incredibly satisfying to receive an iMessage whilst using your iPad and not having to search around for your iPhone (which could be in another room or charging) and read it straight away and even respond right there and then. Some might call it lazy, but in reality it is just getting rid of yet another time-wasting problem that we should be glad to get rid of.

A source of potential annoyance

As explained earlier, messages sent through iMessage will appear on any and all of your iOS devices that are associated with your Apple ID. As more and more of the people you contact upgrade to iOS 5 and start using iMessage, this will mean most of the messages you receive will go to all your devices. But for those that don't upgrade or don't use an iPhone, Messages will automatically revert back to the standard text messaging protocol - which isn't an issue, except for the fact that those messages can only be sent and received on an iPhone. This doesn't make iMessage useless, but it is an annoyance in that some messages will go to your iPad whilst some won't - it means you could never rely solely on the iPad to get all your messages.

An open platform?

The annoyance I have described above is a problem that I am afraid will never go away. Because iMessage is a completely closed system (unlike email or text messaging), it will likely only ever be integrated into Apple devices - I doubt Apple would even bother developing Android or Windows Phone 7 apps that can use iMessage (despite Google and Microsoft developing apps for iOS). At the moment iMessage tries to make messaging a simpler experience by integrating it onto all of your iOS devices, but it fails in reaching its full potential because the reality is that not everyone is going to use an iOS device. Unlike some other features, this means that even those who do use iOS devices lose-out because they can't use iMessage to contact their friends who don't have an iOS device.

I don't hold out much hope for Apple opening up iMessage though, as I think it is unlikely Apple would make one of its core features of iOS 5 an open platform and take away a point of differentiation - they probably feel it accomplishes enough in its current state and would point to the 250 million plus iOS devices out there in the world. FaceTime perhaps proves this is the most likely outcome, because when it was launched in June last year, Apple originally said it was going to be an open standard, but 15 months later they haven't said a word. Nonetheless, Apple has used FaceTime as a big selling point for the iPhone 4 and featured it in widespread ad campaigns. With that said, Apple has shown signs of opening up platforms and services both in the past and with iOS 5, some examples include iTunes, Safari and Photo Stream - all of which are available on Windows.

At the very least though, I would like to see a Mac client of iMessage sometime soon.

How to Disable iMessage on the iPhone Completely

iMessage is the fantastic free messaging service from Apple that lets iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac users send each other endless free text messages, pictures, and videos. Because iMessage skips the standard SMS/text protocol from cellular carriers and relies on data transmission instead, it can often help you reduce your phone bill by cutting out the text message plan fee, or at least reducing it to a lower cost.

All the benefits to using iMessage hardly matters if you need to turn off the iMessaging service for another reason, so long as you are clear as to why you are disabling it in the first place. No, we don’t mean temporarily sending an SMS text on a one-off basis, though that can be a workaround for some situations. The fact is there may be times where turning off iMessage in it’s entirety is necessary, whether due to cell reception problems, sporadically inadequate cell service, not having a data plan with the iPhone, hitting a data cap, or even switching from an iPhone to an Android or Windows device, be it temporary or permanent. With the latter situation of switching, disabling iMessage while on the iPhone is essential, otherwise inbound messages can sometimes be caught up in a mystery no-mans land, never delivering the intended recipient.

We’ll go a bit more in-depth about some of the common reasons why you’d want to turn off the universally loved service below, but first let’s show how to disable iMessage on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in iOS.

How to Turn Off the iMessage Service

This disables the iMessage service entirely in iOS. On an iPhone that will force the device to fall back to traditional SMS and MMS messaging services. On the iPad and iPod touch, this will turn off all messaging functions on the device entirely, since there is no traditional texting to fall back on.

  1. Open the “Settings” app in iOS
  2. Choose the “Messages” option
  3. Toggle the topmost switch for “iMessage” to the OFF position

To be perfectly clear, if you disable iMessage you will no longer receive any type of iMessages, though you will continue to receive traditional text messages (SMS and MMS). This means that a user who is trying to text message you from an iPhone or other smartphone will still succeed in reaching you, but a user who tries to iMessage you from an iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, will not fail, since those devices do not have the cellular capability of falling back onto the SMS protocol. Doing so will also turn off the “Read” and “Delivered” Receipts completely, because SMS texting doesn’t offer the same ability.

Note that turning off the iMessaging service will not delete any current message threads, that must be done manually if it’s needed.

Once you’ve turned off the service, all future Message threads will use green text bubbles and the text input box will say ‘Text Message’ to indicate they are going through the SMS protocol. If you continue to see blue text bubbles with the ‘iMessage’ block within the input box for new messages, you probably didn’t turn off the service.

Here’s what a text message looks like within the Messages app:

Why Bother? 4 Common Reasons to Turn Off iMessage

Though we generally recommend leaving iMessage turned on because it’s a great service, there are undoubtedly reasons you may want to disable it, even on a temporary basis. Here are some of the most common reasons to turn off iMessage and allow an iPhone to use SMS/text messaging exclusively instead.

You’re Messaging in a 2G / GPRS / EDGE / Low Reception Area

Because iMessage relies on cell data, you need a reasonably decent cellular connection to be able to send and receive messages. That’s why if you’re in an area with really bad reception on a horrible network you’ll often not be able to send iMessages at all. Sometimes, but not always, turning off iMessage can get the text messages to go through on both ends. Of course you can also selectively send iMessages as Texts through the SMS protocol too, but if you’re in a conversation it’s easier to just turn the entire service off temporarily.

iMessage Uses Data Plans

Yes, iMessage uses a cell phones data plan. Thus, if you have a very small data plan with a low capacity (usually 100MB or less per month) and you’re getting pelted with media messages of tons of photos and videos from friends, you may want to use caution and consider disabling the iMessage service, because all those multimedia messages can add up quick. For simple text based iMessages, each message is tiny, measured in a few KB (rather than MB), and thus there’s usually nothing to worry about unless you have no data plan at all, which brings us to the next reason….

The iPhone is Using a Cellular Plan with No Data but Unlimited Texting

iMessage takes very small amounts of data to use (unless you’re sending a lot of pictures and videos, that is), but that small data use doesn’t matter much if you don’t have a data plan on the iPhone at all. This is a fairly common situation for those who are using iPhones as Pay-Go devices, or when going traveling abroad and using a cheap SIM card with calling and texting support only.

Switching to an Android / Windows Phone (Even Temporarily)

Turning off iMessage is absolutely essential if you plan on using the same phone number and SIM card with an Android phone or another smartphone, even if the usage is just on a temporary basis to try out a new Nexus, otherwise you’ll find that most inbound text messages, be it SMS or MMS, simply won’t appear on the Android device. This is a truly weird side effect of leaving iMessage on if someone has switched phones from iPhone to just about anything else, and one that many people complain about if they have switched smartphone platforms. The only obvious way to prevent that is to disable iMessage on the iPhone before switching out the SIM card or phone number, but a fair amount of users forget to do this and thus they wind up with some of their inbound messages lost. Frustrating, but there will likely be another solution to this introduced in the future that doesn’t require disabling iMessage directly on the iPhone itself.


How to use iMessage groups on iPhone and iPad

You don't have to send iMessages to just one person. Thanks to groups, you can share text, photos, videos, soundbites, location — almost anything you like — with two people, three people, and more. You can even name a conversation thread to make it easier to find and keep track of, or mute it for when it's getting too noisy to follow.

How to start a group message on iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Messages app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the compose new message button (looks like a pencil and paper).
  3. Type in your first contact's name (I chose my friend Drew).

  4. Type your next contact's name (I chose my friend Alf).
  5. Tap inside of the text field at the bottom of your message.

  6. Type the message you want to send to the group.
  7. Tap send.

Now you'll be able to start group chats, instead of having to text each person individually.

How to name a group message

If a few people come and go or the topic of the group message changes, you can easily rename it!

  1. Launch the Messages app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap the group conversation you'd like to rename.
  3. Tap the info button. It's an 'i' in a blue circle.
  4. Tap the Group Name.
  5. Tap Enter a Group Name.
  6. Enter a name.
  7. Tap Done.

Note: Everyone, including you, must have iMessage enabled in order to be able to name the group chat.

How to mute a group message

Got added to a group message that you have no interest in following? No problem! Walk away with no regrets, or just mute notifications with a few taps on your phone.

  1. Launch the Messages app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the group message you want to leave.
  3. Tap the info button at the top right of your screen.
  4. Tap the switch next to Hide Alerts.

How to leave a group conversation

You can only leave group messages if all participants are using iMessage. Since Apple doesn't have access to block or remove you from SMS/MMS carrier messages, iMessage threads are the only thing they can remove you from on their end.

  1. Launch the Messages app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the group message you want to leave.
  3. Tap the info button at the top right of your screen.
  4. Tap Leave this Conversation.


Let us know in the comments below!

iMessage in iOS 8: Explained

Messages is the most popular app on the iPhone and iPad, according to Apple. Given the enormous demand for instant messaging, and the integration Apple's provided with traditional carrier SMS (simple messaging service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service), that should come as no surprise. Neither, then, should the attention given to it in iOS 8. Not only is Apple making group messaging less maddening, but they're making sharing faster and easier as well, from location to media to voice to video. So does it all work?

Messaging metamorphosis

Messages replaced the old iPhone SMS app in iOS 3 (iPhone OS 3) when MMS was added to the feature set. Apple hadn't wanted to {implement a WAP browser](/debug-40-nitin-ganatra-episode-ii-os-x-ios) — it had real web browser in Mobile Safari after all, as well as full-on HTML email support — and that meant there was no way to display the contents of MMS on the iPhone. MMS proved too entrenched to ignore, however, so Apple had to change its minds and add it in.

But Apple didn't stop there. With iOS 5 it added iMessage, a parallel service that could send SMS-like texts, MMS-like media, but using data and Apple's push notification service (APN) instead of the carrier-specific services. Apple distinguished between old-style SMS/MMS and iMessage by color coding the former green and the latter blue. Since iMessage didn't depend on the carriers or having a separate texting plan, Apple also added it to the iPod touch, iPad, and even the Mac.

Though iMessage was and is proprietary to Apple, and only works on Apple devices, its ease of use combined with the massive popularity of the iPhone and iPad have made it into a major messaging platform.

And in iOS 8, it's getting even better.

Tap to talk

Previously there was no way to record an send a voice message from the built-in iOS Messages app. If you wanted to send a voice message, you had to go to the Voice Memo app, record the message there, then uses the Share Sheet to send it via iMessage. It worked but it was an unnecessary amount of work.

With iOS 8, if you want to send an audio message, all you do is touch and hold the microphone button, start talking, and then swipe up to send.

That's it. That's all.

Of course you can cancel it if you misspeak, but you if you get it right, the message just goes. That's a little disconcerting to error-prone old-time message-senders like me, who've come to depend on a second glance and a deliberate send action, but it's the new normal. It's how all the kids send their selfies and stickers these days. It's fast, and it's the way everything but text strings will be sent.

To make voice messaging easy to do, even one handed, Apple is using a radial control. It's a first for iOS and, while it can be a little confusing and stressful if you're not used to it, it's incredibly efficient once you you are.

Touch your thumb or finger down on the microphone button and hold it there. The mic instantly becomes a red record button and a circle expands out around it. Talk as much as you want and then slide your finger up to the upwards pointing arrow to send the recording, or left to the cancel button to trash it instead.

If you panic, unsure what to do, and pull your finger off, the interface will just stay there, waiting, send and cancel circles lingering so you can take them in, come to terms with them, and decide what to do in your own time.

It works and it works well, however. Most importantly, it means Apple is establishing yet another software solution for one-handed-ease-of-use. Add it to previous gestures like the swipe-to-go-back and the raise-to-talk, and it's not only great for tablets, it'll also be great when and if Apple ships a bigger iPhone.

Raise to listen and talk

Back when Siri was introduced in iOS 5, Apple introduced "Raise to Speak" along with it. The accelerometer, proximity, and infrared sensors, could determine when you lifted your iPhone to your ear and automatically engage Siri for you.

With iOS 8, lifting your iPhone to you ear no longer engages Siri. Now, if you have a voice message on your Messages screen or a voice message notification on your Lock screen, lifting your iPhone to your ear automatically starts playing that voice message back for you. Take your iPhone away from your ear and it automatically pauses. Bring it back to your ear and it automatically resumes right where it left off.

Moreover, once the voice message has finished playing back, you can lift the iPhone to your ear and automatically record a voice message reply. Pull the iPhone away from your ear, and your reply gets sent.

The Messages app or Lock screen will tell you what action will be performed when you lift your iPhone by placing a small "Raise to listen" or "Raise to talk" label beneath the wave-form message, just so there's less chance for confusion.

If you dislike the very idea of "Raise to...", you can disable it in Settings. If you do like it, however, it becomes ridiculously easy to sling voice messages back and forth.

Tap to video... or selfie

Photo/video messaging works essentially the same way as voice messaging, although the interface is a little more complicated on account of there being two options — photo and video — rather than just one.

Tap and hold the camera icon to activate the front-facing FaceTime camera for a quick selfie. If you'd rather take a picture of someone or something else (elsie?), you can tap the switch button to choose the rear-facing iSight camera instead.

There's no shutter button like there is in the Camera app. Instead you slide your finger up the radial interface just like you do to send a voice message. However, in place of the upward pointing arrow, there's a second camera button. Reach it, let go, and your picture is taken and sent.

You don't slide to the side to cancel. To cancel, you slide back to your original finger position in the center, which is now a yellow X button.

Sliding to the side brings you to the video button. Touch it and it and it starts recording instantly. Slide back and it's canceled. Slide up to the now-present upward pointing arrow an it's sent.

Again, trying to do both photos and videos in the radial interface results in a higher complexity, but you can still pull your finger off an study the options at your own speed until you get them.

Also, the camera button still lets you add photos and videos the old-fashioned way if you want to, but with a decidedly new-fangled twist.

Easy media messaging

In addition to the tap to take photo/video messaging interface, Messages in iOS 8 also makes it easier to send existing photos and videos. If you tap the camera button instead of holding it, you get a new sharing sheet with big, easier-to-see thumbnails of your most recent photos and videos, and old-school options to go to the Photo Library or take a photo or video.

You can swipe through the thumbnails to find exactly the photo or video you want. Tap on one and it gets a checkmark and the entire thumbnail set gets bigger. You can then keep swiping and check off additional images.

Once you've chosen all the photos and videos you want to send, tap to confirm and they're sent.

Ephemeral expiration

One of the biggest complaints about Messages in previous version of iOS was how much local storage space photos, videos, and animated GIFs could take up. iOS 8 aims to solve the problem by allowing messages to expire.

For all messages in general you can choose, universally, to keep them forever, for 1 year, of for 30 days. For audio and video messages you can choose, each independently, to have them expire never or after 2 minutes. Even if you choose to have them expire after two minutes, there's a "Keep" button beneath every voice or video message that lets you override the settings and retain them indefinitely if and when it's important to you.

With messages expiring, you no longer have to worry about gigabytes of hard-to-delete media clogging up your iPhone and iPad. Also, like Snapchat, you don't have to worry about personal and private messages (sexies?) subsisting long enough to cause anyone any embarrassment.

Your messages come in, you hear or see them, and then they simply fade away...

Group messaging made un-maddening

The long neglect of groups in Messages is over. Where previously, once added to a group, you had no hope of labeling it anything useful, and no hope of escaping the beeping and buzzing even if you never asked to be included, now all the control is right where it belongs: with you.

The improvements all sit comfortably in a new screen off to the right of the the conversation thread view called Details. Tap on the Details button from any individual or group conversation and you're taken right there.

Right up top, if the conversation has more than one participant, you can add a Group Name. While in some cases you may prefer to be constantly reminded of who exactly is in a conversation by leaving the default participant name scheme intact, there are times a group name can be better. For example, if you use a persistent iMessage group for your team, instead of it being called Peter & Ally, it can be called iMore Editors to distinguish it from casual conversations with the same people. If you're on an excursion with a bunch of family members, it can be called Disney Trip. Labels like Secret Birthday Plans, WWDC After Dark, Avengers Initiative, can all make group conversations more identifiable, whether you keep them for a day, a month, or always.

Below the group name option is a list of everyone in the group, shown in contact-line format. That means you can see their avatar, their name, and have one-tap access to calling or FaceTiming them, or going their full contacts info sheet.

There's also a big, bright button for adding additional contacts to the group, as well as a handy toggle to go into or come out of Do Not Disturb mode for just that specific group conversation, and an option to leave the conversation altogether.

All of this combines to make it incredibly easy to add people to your group chat, leave a group chat that no longer involves or interests you, and even temporarily suspend beeping and buzzing for when you don't want to leave but also don't need to be alerted every time some overly chatty chatters get their message ping-pong going.

Location, location, location

Like with voice messaging, you could always send your current location over iMessage. However, like with voice messaging, you had to go to a different app — Maps — and share it from there. Persistent location was a little different. With Find My Friends, released alongside iOS 5, Apple made it easy to share your location, temporarily or permanently, with family, friends, and colleagues. However, it was also a separate app — one more place to go to or jump between when trying to stay in touch.

With iOS 8, Apple has made it easy to send your location straight from the Messages app. Just tap into the Details screen and tap to send. Like voice or photos, it's sent instantly. No "Send" button tap required. Hopefully accidental tap detection and rejection will be really, really super good for something as sensitive as location data...

Apple has also moved some Find My Friends-style functionality right into the Messages app as well. From the same Details view you can choose to share your location for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. So, whether you're meeting friends at a bar, trying to keep the group together at a theme park, or staying permanently on the map with your partner and kids, it's both simple and obvious.

That it requires two steps to complete — tap to share, tap to choose duration — is heartening.

Attachment order

Previously, if you wanted to find a specific photo or video in one of your Messages conversations, you would have to swipe up through the conversation until you saw it, or tap any photo or video and then switch to list view and swipe through the thumbnails.

While you can still do that if you really want to, you can now also simply tap the Details view on any conversation, individual or group, and scroll to the Attachments section at bottom. There you'll see a patchwork of all the recent photos and videos that are part of the conversation.

Tap a photo or video and you're get the full screen version, along with the share button and list-view button that are currently found in iOS 7.


In addition to all the other Messages improvements, Apple's new Continuity feature means the iPad (and the Mac) can piggyback on your iPhone and send and receive SMS and MMS from all your green-bubble friends. Even if your iPhone is in your bag or in another room, you can still use the carrier messaging channel to stay in contact with Android phone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and feature phone users all.

Bottom line

Messages in iOS 8 is a substantial improvement. It may not have every single feature found in BlackBerry Messenger or derivatives like Whatsapp, but it closes the gap considerably. It also keeps things relatively focused and simple. Likewise, even though iMessage still isn't cross-platform, and remains unavailable to Android and Windows customers, Continuity means that other Apple devices can now send SMS and MMS via the iPhone to those on other platforms.

Overall the new interface elements are as efficient as they are intriguing, and the new group messaging features are as convenient as they are welcome.

More of iOS 8: Explained

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