Last week Apple introduced the iPhone X at the all-new Steve Jobs Theater, along with a new Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 8, and more. With new hardware and the launch of iOS 11, iPhone owners will soon enjoy several new features while using the popular Messages app.
1. See more with iPhone X
iPhone X features a stunning edge-to-edge OLED screen. The width of the iPhone X matches the 4.7-inch displays of the iPhone 6, 7, and 8 (when held in portrait mode). But the iPhone X gains 20% additional vertical space so you can see more of your conversations.
2. New iMessage App Store tray
iMessage Apps were introduced last year with the release of iOS 10. But the apps were difficult to find and use. In iOS 11, a new horizontal scrolling app dock is visible at the bottom of your conversations. Once you've upgraded to iOS 11, give iMessage apps and sticker packs another try!
3. Type with one hand
iOS 11 makes it easier to type with one hand. When the keyboard is visible, tap and hold the smiling emoji key or the globe key at the bottom of the keyboard. A pop-up will allow you to select a left-handed or right-handed keyboard. If you prefer typing with a one-handed keyboard, you can make it permanent using the Settings app under General > Keyboard.
4. Animoji with face detection
Face detection on the new iPhone X unlocks your device. But the same technology also lets you create 3D animated emoji that mimic your facial expressions in real time. Apple calls these Animoji. When you send Animoji using the Messages app on an iPhone X, your friends receive looping animations along with your audio voiceover. Animoji characters include a monkey, robot, alien, panda, unicorn, and of course the infamous pile of poop 💩
5. Mute specific contacts or group chats
iOS 11 allows you to selectively silence conversations in your Messages list. Swipe left on a row in your conversation list to reveal the button labeled Hide Alerts.
6. New screen effects
iOS 10 introduced animated screen effects in iMessage like Confetti, Balloons, and Fireworks. iOS 11 adds two more effects called Echo and Spotlight.
7. Don't text and drive
If your iOS 11 device thinks you're driving, you'll be prompted to enter Do Not Disturb While Driving mode. Notifications won't distract you, and anyone who texts you will receive an auto-response to let them know you're driving. Don't worry, this feature is optional and highly customizable. Your contacts can still reach you in an emergency by typing the word "urgent."
8. Business Chat (coming soon)
Messages is used mostly for personal communication, but many iPhone users would like to use the same app to communicate with businesses, too. Apple introduced Business Chat earlier this year. As Business Chat rolls out, customers will be able to find businesses and start conversations from Safari, Maps, Spotlight, and Siri. Businesses will be able to use enterprise messaging platforms like Textline to answer questions and resolve issues. (Subscribe to be notified when Textline releases support for Apple's new Business Chat.)
9. Apple Pay in Messages (coming soon)
Text your friends real money along with stickers and emoji. Apple plans to release their own peer-to-peer money transfer service, Apple Pay Cash, later this year. iOS 11 and watchOS 4 users will be able to send and receive money using iMessage. Money will be deposited onto an Apple Pay Cash card that lives in Apple Wallet.
10. iMessage meets iCloud (coming soon)
Apple will launch iMessage sync in an upcoming iOS 11 update. With help from iCloud, you'll be able to access your conversations from different devices and they'll stay in sync. (Deleting a message in one place will also delete it on all other connected devices.)
And the Hits Just Keep on Comin'
Believe it or not, there are even more changes coming to Messages that didn't make our top 10, like smarter auto-suggestions in the iOS keyboard. Some iOS 11 changes are found only on iPads, like punctuation and letters on the same keyboard. iPad also gains drag and drop functionality, so you can move photos and other files into and out of Messages without lifting a finger -- just tap, hold, and drag.
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