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Receiving, Reading, and Replying to Messages

Text messaging is about communication, so when you send messages you expect to receive responses. People can also send new messages to you. As you learned earlier, the Messages app keeps messages grouped as a conversation consisting of messages you send and replies you receive to the same person or group of people.

Receiving Messages

When you aren’t currently using the Messages screen in the Messages app and receive a new message (as a new conversation or as a new message in an ongoing conversation), you see, hear, and feel the notifications you have configured for the Messages app. (Refer to Chapter 2 to configure your message notifications.)

If you are on the Messages screen in the Messages app when a new message comes in, you hear and feel the new message notification sound and/or vibration, but a notification does not appear. On the conversation list, any conversations containing a new message are marked with a blue circle showing the number of new messages in that conversation.

If a new message is from someone with whom you have previously sent or received a message, and you haven’t deleted all the messages to or from those recipients (no matter how long it has been since a message was added to that conversation), the new message is appended to an ongoing conversation. That conversation then moves to the top of the list of conversations in the Messages app. If there isn’t an existing message to or from the people involved in a new message, a new conversation is started and the message appears at the top of that list.

Reading Messages

You can get to new messages you receive by doing any of the following:

  • Read a message in its alert. Tap a banner alert notification from Messages. You move into the message’s conversation in the Messages app.

  • If you are using an iPhone that supports 3D Touch, you can press on an alert to open the conversation to which the message was added. You can read all the messages it contains and reply to those messages.

  • Open the Messages app and tap a conversation containing a new message; these conversations appear at the top of the Messages list and are marked with a blue circle. The conversation opens and you see the new message.

  • Swipe to the right on a message notification when it appears on the Lock screen. You move into the conversation to which the message was sent (you might need to unlock your phone first).

  • If you receive a new message in a conversation that you are currently viewing, you immediately see the new message.

However you get to a message, you see the new message in either an existing conversation or a new conversation. The newest messages appear at the bottom of the screen. You can swipe up and down the screen to see all of the messages in the conversation. As you move up the screen, you move back in time.

Messages sent to you are on the left side of the screen and appear in a gray bubble. Just above the bubble is the name of the person sending the message; if you have an image for the contact, that image appears next to the bubble. The color of your bubbles indicates how the message is sent: Blue indicates an iMessage and green indicates a cellular message.

Viewing Images or Video You Receive in Messages

When you receive a photo or video as an attachment, it appears in a thumbnail along with the accompanying message.

To view a photo or video attachment, tap it. You see the photo or video at a larger size. You can rotate the phone, zoom, and swipe around the photo just like viewing photos in the Photos app (see Chapter 15 for details). You can watch a video in the same way, too.

Tap the Share button to share the photo with others via a message, email, tweet, Facebook, and so on. (When you hold an iPhone Plus horizontally, all the buttons are at the top of the screen.)

If there is more than one photo or video in the conversation, you see the number of them at the top of the screen. Swipe to the left or right to move through the available photos.

Tap the List button to see a list of the recent photos in the conversation (this only appears if there is more than one photo in the conversation).

Tap a photo on the list to view it. Tap Close to return to the photo you were viewing.

To move back to the conversation, tap Close.

When you use an iPhone that supports 3D Touch and you press on a photo, it opens in a Peek. If you continue pressing on the photo, it opens in the view window just like when you tap on it in the conversation.

When you are peeking at a photo, swipe up on it to reveal options. You can copy the photo so you can paste it elsewhere, save the photo in the Photos app, or forward it to others.

Listening to Audio in Messages You Receive in Messages

When you receive an audio message, you can tap the Play button to play it, or, if you enabled the Raise to Listen option, lift the phone to your ear and the message plays automatically. Tap the Speaker icon to hear the message via the iPhone’s speakerphone.

While the message is playing, you see its status along with the Pause button, which you can tap to pause the message. After the message finishes, you see a message saying that it expires in 2 minutes or 1 year, depending on your settings. That message is quickly replaced by Keep.

Tap Keep to save the message on your phone. (Keep disappears indicating the audio is saved.)

Replying to Messages from the Messages App

To reply to a message, read the message and do the following:

  • cir_1.jpg Read, watch, or listen to the most recent message.

  • cir_2.jpg Use the photos, Digital Touch, or App tools to reply with content of that type as you learned about earlier in this chapter.

  • cir_3.jpg Tap in the Message bar if you want to reply with text.

  • cir_4.jpg Type your reply or use the Dictation feature to speak your reply (this is translated to text; it’s not recording and embedding an audio message).

  • cir_5.jpg Tap the Send button.

Replying to Messages from a Banner Alert

If you have banner alerts configured for your messages, you can reply directly from the alert from either the Home or Lock screens:

  • cir_1.jpg Press on the notification (3D Touch) or swipe to the right (non-3D Touch). The conversation opens.

  • cir_2.jpg Type your reply or tap the right-facing arrow to add other types of content to your response.

  • cir_3.jpg Tap the Send button. Your message is added to the conversation.

Having a Messages Conversation

Messaging is all about the back-and-forth communication with one or more people. You’ve already learned the skills you need, so put them all together. You can start a new conversation by sending a message to one or more people with whom you don’t have an ongoing conversation; or you can add to a conversation already underway.

  • cir_1.jpg Send a new message to a person or add a new message to an existing conversation. You see when your message has been delivered. If you sent the message to an individual person via iMessages and he has enabled his Read Receipt setting, you see when he has read your message and you see a bubble as he is composing a response. (If you are conversing with more than one person, the person doesn’t have her Read Receipt setting enabled, or the conversation is happening via the cellular network, you don’t see either of these.)

  • As the recipient composes a response, you see a bubble on the screen where the new message will appear when it is received (again, only if it is an iMessage with a single individual). Of course, you don’t have to remain on the conversation’s screen waiting for a response. You can move to a different conversation or a different app. When the response comes in, you are notified per your notification settings.

  • cir_2.jpg Read the response.

  • cir_3.jpg Send your next message.

  • cir_4.jpg Repeat these steps as long as you want. Conversations remain in the Messages app until you remove them. Messages within conversations remain forever (unless you delete them, for one year, or for 30 days depending on your Keep Messages setting as shown earlier in this chapter).

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