The iOS 14/iPadOS 14 update introduces significant changes to the official Messages app on the iPhone and iPad. The changes involve pinned conversations, group photos, mentions, inline replies, enhanced Memoji styles, stickers, etc.
With pinned conversations, your most essential threads are kept at the top of the Messages app. This can include up to nine individuals or groups, or a combination of both.
To create a pinned conversation:
- Tap on the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Hard press on a conversation you wish to pin.
- Choose Pin from the pull-down.
That’s it; the conversation is pinned to the top. Repeat steps 1 through 3 to pin more chats.
You can find the pinned threads at the top of the main Message screen. You can unpin these at any time by:
To unpin a conversation:
- Hard press on a pinned conversation.
- Tap Unpin.
Repeat Steps 1 through 2 to remove additional pinned conversations.
Two or more contacts can make up a group in Messages. From there, you can customize those groups by adding a photo and name.
To create and maintain a group in Messages:
- Open the Messages app on your device.
- Tap the New Message icon at the top right.
- Add two or more contacts in the To: box.
- Prepare your text, then sent it.
- Choose the group created above.
- Tap on the group cluster at the top of the screen.
- Select Info.
- Tap Change Name and Photo to make changes. You can adjust the photo to include an image, Memoji, or emoji. The name and photo changes are shared with everyone in the group.
With mentions, you can send a direct message to a person in a group conversation. In doing so, they’re the only person in the group chat to receive an alert.
To send a direct message in a group conversation:
- Tap on the Messages app.
- Choose the group conversation.
- Type your message in the iMessage box, starting with “@[name of person].”
- Send the message as you always do.
Turn Message Notifications Off
With direct messages, notifications are turned on by default. You can change this by going into the Settings app on your Apple device.
- Tap the Settings app.
- Choose Messages.
- Toggle off Notify Me under Notifications.
With inline reports, you can reply directly to a specific message in a group conversation. As such, you can view replies in the full discussion or as a separate thread for a more focused view.
To use inline replies on iPhone or iPad:
- Tap on the Messages app.
- Choose the appropriate group chat.
- Push on the specific message within the group conversation which you’d like to reply to.
- Choose Reply.
You’li see the word Reply next to inline replies. Tap to view additional comments for the message.
Finally, Apple has added advanced age options and face coverings to Memojis. You can also access over 20 new hair and headwear styles to reflect your hobby, profession, and personality.
So Much to See
There’s more to the iOS 14 update than just the Message changes. You’ll also find widgets, an all-new iPhone App Library, more AirPods integration, etc. Other new features in iOS 14 and iPad 14 include:
- A new Translate app lets you translate text and voice conversations on the fly in 11 different languages. An on-device mode allows you to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
- Meanwhile, the Find My app gains third-party support for accessories and other products for the first time. This means you can track the location of supported devices across all of your Apple devices. Manufacturers will need to join Apple’s Find My network accessory program to get started.
- The Weather app now includes features from the popular Dark Sky app, which Apple purchased earlier this year. The new features include changing widgets to keep users up to date on severe weather events, new next-hour precipitation charts, and more.
- Siri is getting smarter this year and also can send audio messages. The voice assistant also integrates with keyboard dictation.
- And finally, yes, Picture in Picture is coming to the iPhone. Already available on iPad, the feature lets you keep watching videos or continue your FaceTime call while using another app.
- Safari on macOS gained lots of new features in macOS Big Sur. The mobile version also picked up a few new tools, including a privacy report that lets you see which cross-site trackers the web browser has recently blocked for your protection. Safari also offers secure password monitoring, so you always know when one of your online accounts might have been involved in a data breach.
You can download iOS 14 by going into your Settings app, then choosing General > Software Update.