How to Send iMessages With iPhone Text Effects

Use the slam, fireworks and other iMessage effects to spice up your chats!

A finger pressing the Message button on an iPhone

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Why send a plain old text from your iPhone when you can enhance your correspondence with message effects that include animations, filters, handwritten words and much more? Follow the instructions below to add iPhone text effects to your outgoing messages.

The text effects below will only be available if you're using iMessage as opposed to basic SMS. 

The effects only work in iOS 10 and above (and some require iOS 12 as noted).

Adding Expressions to a Text Message Conversation

  1. Open an existing conversation.

  2. Double-tap on a message, image or video within this conversation.

    iMessage Tapback options
  3. A pop-up toolbar will appear, displaying multiple Tapback expressions including thumbs up and thumbs down as well as others to express love, laughter, excitement or confusion. If you select one, it will instantly be appended to that specific message item for all recipients in the conversation to see.

Adding Camera Effects to Your Text Messages

Camera Effects are only available in iOS 12 or above.

  1. Continue an existing conversation or create a new message.

  2. Tap the Camera icon, located to the left of the iMessage text entry field.

  3. The iPhone camera interface should now appear. Choose PHOTO, VIDEO or one of the other capture types provided.

  4. Tap the Star button, found in the lower left-hand side of the screen.

  5. A toolbar containing multiple options will now be displayed, just under the photo/video capture window. Found within this toolbar are buttons for the following effects: Animoji, Filters, Text and Shapes. Other apps that support iMessage may also be included here.

  6. The Animoji button, represented by a smiling monkey, lets you choose from a number of animated personas that take your place from the neck up. As you move or speak, so does your Animoji, and this can all be sent as part of a still photo or video via iMessage.

    iMessage Animoji selection

    Animojis and Memojis are only available on iPhone X or later models.

  7. The Filters button contains three colored circles (green, red and blue) and lets you apply one of over a dozen effects to your image before sending.

  8. Text (Aa) is a very handy effect, as it allows you to add letters, numbers and special characters to your photos prior to sending them to someone in iMessage.

  9. Represented by a red squiggly line, the Shapes button provides the ability to include animated arrows, check marks, fireworks and other items to your photos and videos.

  10. When you have created the image you want, click the little close button on the lower right side of the screen. You'll then see what that effect ready for you to capture in a photo or video.

Adding Handwritten Words to Your Text Messasges

  1. Continue an existing conversation or create a new message.

  2. Turn your iPhone sideways so that it's in Landscape mode.

  3. A set of common handwritten messages including 'hello', 'thank you' and 'congratulations' should now be displayed on the bottom of your screen. To add one of these to your iMessage conversation, simply tap on it once. Next, select the Done button found in the upper right-hand corner.

    iMessage handwritten message
  4. To send your own custom handwritten message, use your finger or a stylus to write whatever you wish in the blank space provided. Once satisfied with your message, tap the Done button. If you need additional room, just tap the greater than symbol on the right side of the message and you'll get a little more room.

Adding Bubble Effects to Your Text Messages

  1. Continue an existing conversation or create a new message.

  2. Type your message or insert a photo using the accompanying Camera icon.

  3. Tap and hold the Up Arrow button, located in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen next to your new message.

  4. A series of bubble effects will now be displayed, including the following: Slam, Loud, Gentle and Invisible Ink. Select the button (gray circle) accompanying each one of these to see how your new message will look with the respective text effect applied. If you'd like to use one of these bubble effects, tap the Up Arrow that appears next to it following this preview.

    iMessage bubble effects
  5. Your message will now be sent with the chosen bubble effect applied.

Adding Full-Screen Effects to Your Text Messages

  1. Continue an existing conversation or create a new message.

  2. Type your message or insert a photo using the accompanying Camera icon.

  3. Tap and hold the Up Arrow button, located in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen next to your new message.

  4. Tap the Screen tab, located towards the top of the screen.

  5. A preview of your new message with the Echo full-screen effect applied will now be displayed. Swipe left to preview other full-screen effects, including the following: Spotlight, Balloons, Confetti, Love, Lasers, Fireworks, Shooting Star and Celebration.

    iMessage balloon full-screen effect
  6. To send the message with a specific full-screen effect applied, select the Up Arrow accompanying the text or image. To cancel, tap the gray and white 'x' button located directly below this arrow.