10 Exciting Updates for Apple Messages in iOS 16


These are the updates you’ve been waiting for!

Image created by Jonathan Wylie

Although most of Europe prefers WhatsApp, the Messages app still has a strong following, especially in North America. Today, text messages are an essential part of how we communicate, and Apple is always looking for ways to expand and enhance how we use the Messages app. So, here’s a quick rundown of what they added in iOS 16.

1. Edit a Message

The ability to edit a message is something that iPhone users have been wanting for a long time. In iOS 16, that functionality is finally here! You can now edit a message for up to 15 minutes after sending it, and recipients can see all of your edits. Here’s how it works.

If you press and hold on a message bubble, you will see an “Edit” button. When you tap “Edit” the compose window reopens and lets you change anything on the original message. When you are done, tap the checkmark to confirm your changes.

Your message will now have the word “Edited” underneath it. You can tap “Edited” to see previous versions of your message. If your recipient is using iOS 16, they can also tap “Edited” to see the other versions.

If you send a message to an Android device, or the recipient has not yet upgraded to iOS 16, they will not see the changes to the original message. Instead, they will receive a second text message with the changes that you just made.

2. Undo Send

The next logical step after editing a message is the ability to recall one that has already been sent. I need this. I often send a message to my mother-in-law instead of my wife. I’m not sure why that happens, but it does. It hasn’t got me in too much trouble yet, but it is probably just a matter of time.

In iOS 16, you can undo the sending of a message for up to two minutes after sending it. All you have to do is tap and hold the message bubble and select “Undo Send.” If the recipient is on iOS 16 or later, the message will be removed on their device, and there will be a note in the conversation to confirm a message was removed.

If you try to undo the sending of a message to an Android device, or the recipient has not yet upgraded to iOS 16, the original message remains in the conversation, and you are notified that the recipient may still see the original message.

I will be updating my mother-in-law’s iPhone to iOS 16 tonight.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtqyzSop4Uw?feature=oembed]

3. Mark as Unread

Sometimes I get a text message at work while on a Zoom call or in a meeting. I may have time to read it, but I don’t have time to compose a reply. That’s why I am glad that you can now mark a message as unread.

To mark a message as unread, you technically have to mark a group or conversation unread. From the Message list, swipe right on a message you want to mark unread, and then tap the blue speech bubble.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

4. Recover Recently Deleted Messages

If you delete a photo on your iPhone, you have 30 days to recover it from the Recently Deleted album before it leaves your phone for good. In iOS 16, Apple is bringing the same functionality to the Messages app.

To find your recently deleted messages, tap “Edit” in the top left corner of the Message list, and then tap “Show Recently Deleted.” It is here that you will see all the messages that you have deleted within the last 40 days. Tap on the ones that you want to resurrect, and then hit “Recover” in the bottom right corner.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_iuF4Hdjag?feature=oembed]

5. SharePlay via Messages

The pandemic was bad for many reasons, but one of the things that became popular in the time of lockdowns and quarantine was the idea of watching a TV show or movie with your friends over the internet. Apple’s implementation of that came in 2021 when they introduced SharePlay as a way to do this very thing using FaceTime.

However, the problem with FaceTime is the same problem you sometimes get at the theater; some people just won’t stop talking over the movie. Enter the Messages app. If you find a show on Apple TV+ (or an album on Apple Music), you can tap the Share arrow and select SharePlay to invite your friends with the Message app.

If they accept, you can watch a TV show together and in sync with each other while using text messages to provide the director’s commentary.


6. Collaborate on Projects in Messages

If SharePlay is for fun, then the next update is more focused on work or things that need to get done. In iOS 16, you can now collaborate with others on a group project and discuss edits and changes with others via the Messages app.

It works with apps like Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and Notes, but Apple has also created an API for developers to enable this feature in third-party apps. You can use Messages to invite friends or colleagues to collaborate on a project with you. When they accept, everyone in the conversation is added to the document, spreadsheet, or shared file.

You can choose access levels and editing permissions. You will also see the latest changes in Messages when updates are made. It’s a great idea, but I am unsure how many people will actually use it. Learn more here.

7. Tapbacks on Android

iPhone users love Tapbacks. Most of them don’t know what they are called, but the name doesn’t matter. Tapbacks are the quick replies you can leave on a message by pressing and holding on the message bubble to selecting a heart, a thumbs up, a thumbs down, and so forth.

I mean, what’s not to like about that?

Well, if you are texting an Android person, or you have an Android person in your group chat, they won’t see the thumbs-up you added to that last message. Instead, they will see an additional text message that reads, “Jonathan liked your message.” Weird, right?

That changes in iOS 16. Android users will now be sent the corresponding emoji for the Tapback that you used. It won’t make much of a difference to you, but think how much it will mean to the green bubbles in your life.

8. Audio Message Updates

The iPhone has included the ability to create voice messages for several years now, but it was never very intuitive. You had to press and hold a button that didn’t look like a voice recording button, and that button was right in the corner of your iPhone, where it was so awkward to hold that you felt like you were going to drop your phone.

Thankfully, iOS 16 has fixed all that. Well, most of that. The button still looks a little weird, but now, if you want to record a voice message, you press the blue and white wavelength button at the bottom of your screen. This opens up a window with a big, red record button for you to tap (or hold) to record your voice message. Much better!

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

9. Dual SIM Message Filtering

I don’t know many people who use Message filters, but they can be a useful way to manage text messages on your iPhone. In the past, I have used them to filter unknown senders. It doesn’t stop those spam text messages that we all get, but at least I don’t have to see them as often.

In iOS 16, you can use the same message filters for dual SIM messages. If you use one SIM for work and one SIM for home, you can choose to filter the messages from your work SIM when you are at work and the messages from your home SIM when you are at home.

This is not necessarily a feature that a lot of people will use, but for those that need it, dual SIM message filtering is a great option to have.

10. Automatically Send in CarPlay

CarPlay has always been convenient for sending and receiving messages, but, by default, Siri will always ask if you are ready to send the message. In iOS 16, you have the option to change this behavior. Here’s how.

When your phone is connected to your vehicle, tap on the CarPlay Settings app on your vehicle’s touchscreen. Next, choose Siri and Suggestions, and enable the option that says Automatically Send Messages.

Once enabled, Siri will still read your message back to you, but it will not ask you if you are ready to send it. Instead, it will send it automatically.

Don’t worry. If Siri butchered your carefully chosen words, there is a three-second pause after your message is read aloud where you can say, “Change” or tap the Change button to make try again.

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

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