Apple is Finally Updating iMessage With Long-Awaited Features


Apple held its annual Annual Worldwide Developers Conference industry event on Monday, June 10, where the company previewed its upcoming iOS 18 operating system. And among the various revelations unveiled were some major and long awaited changes to iMessage, including satellite capacities, revamped Tapback features, message scheduling, and more.

Perhaps the biggest game-changer is that users with newer iPhone 14 models and above updated to iOS 18 will be able to send and receive text messages, emojis, and Tapback reactions over iMessage and SMS via satellite, even when not connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network.

Apple is also making improvements to the iMessage interface itself. In addition to redesigning the Tapback icons such as the heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, and exclamation marks to be more colorful on iOS 18, users will now be able to choose from any emoji to react to messages. iMessage will finally also allow for the capability to bold, italicize, underline, and strikeout text. It’s likewise adding the ability to apply playful animated effects to any letter, word, phrase, or emoji, which will typically be automatically suggested as a user types.

Another big change is that Apple is adding long-awaited support for RCS (Rich Communication Services) messaging, which will replace SMS and do away with the frustrating barriers between messaging across Android and iOS devices. Now, users will be able to send longer messages, higher-quality images and video, and feature read receipts. Whether or not it does away with the dreaded green bubbles remains to be seen. 

While RCS has become standard on Android phones over the past several years, Apple has been slow to provide support. But the timing of the move suggests that Apple’s hand has been forced to appease EU regulators, which is also why iPhone 15 devices switched to USB-C charging connectors with the launch of then new devices last year.

Finally, another notable feature for iMessage going forward will be the ability to schedule messages, which will allow users to send texts at a specified time such as when it’s too late at night or when there’s something too important to forget. 

Apple finally adding a “send later” option for iMessage is a remarkable W for people like me who exclusively think of messages I need to send at 3:30 AM

— Zara Rahim (@ZaraRahim) June 10, 2024

iOS 18 is expected to launch a public beta in July, with the developer beta arriving on the same day as the event.

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