Get quick access to important conversations in your iPhone’s Messages app

Don't let the good stuff get buried.
A man sitting on a bench outside a brick building looking intensely at his phone.
Hey dude, it's just some text messages, don't think too hard. Jeferson Santu / Unsplash

Text messages can be incredibly convenient, but if you’re constantly texting countless people and dozens of group chats, it can be hard to find specific conversations when you need them.

Apple’s built-in Messages app on iOS offers the ability to pin your most important chats at the top of the app, sticking them there for quick access no matter when the last message was sent. It’s an easy-to-use function that’s equally easy to overlook, and there are three ways to get the job done.

How to pin a conversation in iOS’s Messages app

The easiest way to pin a conversation on iOS 14 or later is to open the Messages app, find the chat you want to save (but don’t open it), and swipe across it from left to right to unveil a yellow pin button. Keep swiping all the way across the screen to activate it, or tap on it if you stopped swiping part-way.

You can also pin a conversation from the main list of chats by long-pressing on it and choosing Pin from the menu that appears.

The third option is most useful if you want to pin a bunch of conversations at once. From the main Messages screen, tap Edit in the top left, then Edit Pins. Yellow pin icons will appear next to each conversation, and you can tap them to put chats at the top of the list—you can save a maximum of nine.

How to unpin a Messages conversation on an iPhone

There’s no way to quickly swipe to unpin a chat, so you’ll have to choose from one of two options if you want to drop a conversation from your starting roster.

The fastest method here starts with the Edit button in the top left corner of the main Messages screen. Tap that, and in addition to the yellow pin icons next to unpinned conversations, you’ll see minus icons next to pinned ones. Tap a minus icon to unpin a chat. Again, this is most useful for bulk editing because you can add and subtract pinned discussions at will as you go.

The other choice is to long press on a pinned chat and select Unpin. You can only edit conversations one at a time this way, and you won’t be able to immediately replace an unpinned one with a new one. And watch out: your brain may trick you into thinking the bright red Delete button is the one you want—it’s not. That will, of course, trash the whole conversation for good.

How to edit pinned Messages conversations

Beyond pinning and unpinning conversations, you can edit the order of pinned chats. To do so, go back to the Edit button, choose Edit Pins, and you’ll be able to press and drag your pinned chats around to place them in whatever order you please.

You can also rearrange them by long pressing on any pinned chat from the main screen. This will bring up the pinning options menu and display a preview of the chat. Ignore all that and drag your finger across the screen. Everything else will disappear and you’ll be able to drop the conversation where you want it. Not exactly the most convenient approach but hey, you do you.