Hide or Customize the iMessage App Drawer on Your iPhone or iPad

Annoyed with the apps in your iMessages? Get rid of them!

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Apple has done a lot to make our text messages more fun in recent years, but what if you mainly just care about the text itself? The message doesn't have to get lost in iMessage. In fact, you can easily hide the iMessage App Drawer.

Better, you can customize it. One of the biggest complaints many people have with iMessage apps isn't that they exist but that they exist in such chaotic abundance. Do we really need the ESPN app and the IMDB app in the App Drawer? After all, there is a Share button in these apps for the express purpose of bragging about the outcome of the big game? Luckily, we don't need to hide the entire App Drawer to get rid of these apps, we can customize which apps show up and where they show up on the list.

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How to Hide the iMessage App Drawer

Screenshot of iMessage

Let's start with the easiest: hiding the app drawer.  Don't go hunting through your device settings for a way to get rid of the App Drawer.  You can turn iMessage on or off, but you can't turn off the App Drawer.  What you can do is hide the icons:

  • Open iMessage.
  • Choose a message thread.
  • Inside of the message thread, tap the button to the immediate left of the input box. This is the button with the letter "A" on it. Tapping this button will hide the apps listed across the bottom of the app.
  • The apps will stay hidden even if you reboot the iPhone or iPad. If you want to see the list of apps again, simply tap the A button again.
  • If you accidentally tap one of the individual apps, a small window will pop up at the bottom of the screen. Tapping the apps button will close this app window, but will not hide the app icons. You must tap it when an app is not being displayed in iMessage to completely hide the bottom row of app icons.

 

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How to Customize the App Drawer

Screenshot of iMessage

What if you don't want to hide it completely? If you just want to get rid of apps you'll never use in a text message, you can easily customize the App Drawer.

  • Open iMessage.
  • Choose a message thread.
  • With the app icons lining the bottom of the screen, swipe your finger from the right side of the icons to the left to scroll through the list until you reach the end.
  • The last button has three dots on it. Tap this button to bring up the App Drawer settings.
  • Tap the Edit button in the top-right corner of the screen to hide app icons or rearrange the list.
  • The top of the list is Favorites. You can add an app to your list of Favorites by tapping the green plus sign next to the app. You can remove it from Favorites by tapping the red minus sign.
  • You can also rearrange your Favorites. To the right of the app's name you'll see a button with three horizontal lines. If you hold your finger down on this button, you can slide the app up or down the list. Remember to keep your finger on the screen while reordering the app's position.
  • Your favorites will always be displayed in the App Drawer.  That's why they are your favorites, right? For the rest of your iMessage apps, you can choose choose whether or not an app is displayed by tapping the on/off switch next to the app's name.
  • When you are finished making changes, tap the Done button in the upper-right corner of the screen.