How to Text in Group Chats Using the iPhone

Group texts can be fun and useful

Teenage friends hanging out on outdoor basketball court

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You can hit up all your friends with a single group text message sent to multiple people at the same time and have them all reply in one conversation. No phone tag required. Texting multiple people using the iPhone's Messages app is easier than you might think.

The instructions in this article apply to Apple's Messages app that comes bundled with the iPhone in iOS 12, iOS 11, and iOS 10. Other third-party text messaging apps support group texting as well.

How to Group Text People Using The iPhone

Follow these steps to send a group text:

  1. Tap Messages to open it.

  2. If you're already in a conversation, tap the back arrow in the top left corner to see the list of all your conversations.

  3. Tap the new message icon, which looks like a pencil and paper, in the top right corner.

  4. If the people you want to text are in your address book, there are two ways to add their names: Begin typing each recipient's name or phone number in the To field, and the name autocompletes, or tap the + icon and browse through your contacts. Tap the name of the person you want to add to the group message.

  5. If the people you want to text are not your address book, tap the To field and type in their phone number or Apple ID if you're texting someone on an iPod touch or an iPad without cellular support.

  6. After you add the first recipient, repeat these steps until everyone you want to text is listed in the To line.

  7. Write your message as you normally would for a single-person text.

  8. Tap the Send button (the up arrow next to the message field), and the text message goes to everyone listed in to To line.

    Three iOS screens showing Messages app New Message, Add Contact, and Send buttons

A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you text a group of people, every response to your original text is sent to everyone on the original text unless one person starts a separate conversation.
  • If everyone you're texting is an iPhone user, the text appears with a blue background, indicating you're sending the text using Apple's iMessage protocol. The message is encrypted, and it doesn't count against your monthly texting limit (if you have one.)
  • If one person in the group you're texting is not an iPhone user, you won't be able to send via iMessage. In that case, the background of the message is green, and all the messages are sent as standard text messages.
  • Any of the things you can send to a single person can be sent in group chats, including photos, videos, and emoji.
  • Not everything that works on your iPhone works on other people's phones. For example, Animoji don't work on Android phones or iPhones running iOS 10 or earlier. Some animations won't work for Android users either. You can feel confident that your messages always work, but add-ons sometimes won't.

    Having problems sending your texts to a group or to one person? Find out what causes that and how to fix it in iPhone text messages not sending? Here's how to fix It.

    How to Name Your Group Text Conversation in iMessage

    By default, group texts are named using the names of all the people in the chat. If everyone on the chat owns an iOS device, you can name the chat. It's better to have a chat named "Family" than named "mom, dad, bobby, sally, and grandma." Here's what you need to do:

    1. Open Messages and open the chat you want to name.

    2. Tap the icons of the people in the chat at the top of the screen. Then tap the i info icon.

    3. Tap Enter a Group Name.

    4. Type in the name and tap Done.

      Three iOS Messages screens showing Group, Info, and Done buttons

    How to Mute Alerts From an iMessage Group

    Depending on your notification settings, you may get a notification every time a new text comes in. If there's a particularly busy group conversation, you may want to mute those alerts. Here's how:

    1. Open Messages and open the group chat you want to mute.

    2. At the top of the screen, tap the pictures of the people in the chat or the name of the chat to reveal a group of icons.

    3. Tap the i icon at the top of the screen.

    4. Move the Hide Alerts slider to the On/green position.

      Screens showing Messages path to Hide Alerts

    A moon icon appears next to this conversation in the Messages list so you know it's muted.

    You can also hide alerts by swiping left on a group conversation in the list of Messages and tapping Hide Alerts.

    How to Add or Remove People From an iMessage Group Chat

    Ever started a group text and after a few messages realized you need someone else in it? No need to start a new conversation. Just add that person to the group by following these steps:

    1. Open Messages and open the chat you want to add people to.

    2. At the top of the screen, tap the pictures of the people in the chat or the name of the chat.

    3. Tap the i icon under the pictures at the top of the screen.

    4. Tap Add Contact. In the Add field, start typing and either select autocomplete suggestions or type in a full phone number or Apple ID.

      Path to add or delete a contact in a group message
    5. Tap Done.

    The same process works for removing people from the conversation, except instead of tapping Add Contact, swipe left on the person's name and tap the Remove button. There must be at least three people in the group to remove a contact.

    How to Leave an iMessage Group Text Conversation

    Sick of all the chatter? You can leave a group conversation — but only if it has at least three other people in it. If it does, follow these steps:

    1. Open Messages and open the chat you want to leave.

    2. Tap the i icon at the top of the screen.

    3. Tap Leave this Conversation.

      Path to leave a conversation in messages