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Messaging Shortcuts You Should Know

The Messaging app keeps you in touch with everyone you know, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s probably the app you use most. Apple’s shortcuts and gestures built into Messages make it quicker to chat and once you figure out how to use them are very useful. Here are my favorites.

Pull to Search

Once inside the Messages app, you can pull down on the screen to reveal Spotlight search. Start typing, and anything related to that search will show below.

Swipe Back

Another handy gesture that can be used in a message is swiping back to get to the Message inbox. Again, you’ll need to start with your finger slightly off the screen and then swipe from left to right.

Timestamps in Messages

Suppose you want to know precisely when a message arrived. Place your finger on the right edge of the screen and pull. Now you’ll see all of your timestamps listed.

Reaction Tapback

You can quickly react to a message by touching and holding on to the message you’ve received and want to react to. 

Now, tap on the reaction you want to use. Your options are a heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, Ha ha, !! Or?. These will appear with any message, including audio or images.

Hold To Copy a Message

You won’t find an edit button in Messages. However, if you push and hold on to a message you have the option to reply copy,and  translate.  Choosing More from the popup menu, you can select messages and either forward or trash these messages.

Save Images

When receiving images in a message, you can quickly save them to the Photos app by pushing and holding the image or video and selecting save, or now you should see a little down arrow next to the image or video, which will save it to the photos app.

Attachments in Messages

Messages show you a thumbnail of the video or image that you receive. Tap on the Thumbnail the photo or video will go fullscreen. You can swipe through all the images in the conversation if there is more than one image. Saving them is easy. Just click on the down arrow next to the stack.

Audio Message

You can quickly send audio messages by pushing and holding the soundbite icon inside the messages area. Then, when done talking, tap the up arrow to send or tap the x to delete.

Note: This was done on iOS 15. Here’s how it looks in iOS 16.

Delete Conversations

If you want to delete an entire conversation, swipe right to left the message from inside the message inbox. This will delete the whole conversation with that individual. You will still receive new messages, but all the old ones will be deleted.

Hide the Keyboard

If you want to see more of a message while typing, tap outside the message area, and you will no longer see the flashing cursor. Swipe down, and the keyboard will disappear. To reactivate it tap inside the message area, and it will reappear.

Quickly Pull Up a Contact

Firmly press a contact’s profile picture and tap on the option you want. You can tap their name at the bottom and be taken into their detailed view.

Add an Effect

Effects in messaging allow you to send your message with confetti, lasers, fireworks, and a few others. To add an effect, type your message, hold on to the send button, scroll to the effect you want to add and tap send.


Hopefully, I’ve added plenty of new message shortcuts; if I’ve missed any, add them to the comments below.

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