How to Use the New iMessage Features in iOS 10

Stickers, games, digital touch, new emoji, and more...
Apple's iMessage is getting extended links, automatic emoji, and better picture-sharing options in iOS 10.
Apple's iMessage just saw its biggest update yet. Screenshot

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Here’s our guide on how to use the new iMessages app for the iPhone and iPad in iOS 10. For our complete guide to iOS 10, head over here.

iMessage, Apple’s default messaging app — the green one with the word bubble labeled “Messages” on your home screen— has a ton of new updates in iOS 10.

You access many of the new functions by engaging with the commands directly above the keyboard in the messaging app. It allows you to share music from Apple Music, send stickers and games, send drawings, and even send everyone’s favorite method of communication: animated GIFs. But bear in mind, if you want your recipients to see the new features, they need to have iOS 10 downloaded and installed on their iPhone or iPad as well.

Link previews

Now, whenever you paste a link to an article in iMessage, it will show a preview image and the name of the source website. Even more impressive: If you send a friend a YouTube clip or another video link, they can actually watch it directly within iMessage, without having to redirect to Safari or the YouTube App.

Web previews in iMessage

You can share links from anywhere on the internet to your iMessage recipients by going to Safari, tapping the top of the address bar, and holding down on the web address to pull up the “Copy” option. Then go back to iMessage and paste the address. Or, look for the little box with the arrow coming out of it, and tap that to pull up the Share Sheet, and tap “Message” from there.

Drawing directly in iMessage

If you have iMessage open and have already downloaded iOS 10, when turn your iPhone or iPad sideways, it will show a new option: a drawing keyboard!

Apple's new drawing keyboard in iMessage on iOS 10
Note how the emoji don't have a blue background in iOS 10

How to play games inside iMessage

You can now play games within iMessage on iOS 10
How to invite people to play games in iMessage for iOS 10

How to send reactions

Press and hold on a message to react to it. Apple gives you a list of six different reactions: a heart, a thumbs up, a thumbs down, a “Ha Ha” laugh, a pair of exclamation points, and a question mark.

iMessage has a new way to respond, now: reactions

Here’s how to send stickers

Stickers are a new edition that Apple teased You can download sticker packages (some for free, like the PBS Kids and Mario sets seen above) from the App Store, and they will automatically sync into your messages. Tap on the button that has the App Store logo, and you can see everything you’ve downloaded by swiping through the navigation panel.

Tap this button to get started
You can now send 'stickers' in iMessage on iOS 10 as well


The final, most overboard addition to iMessage comes in the form of sending animations. By holding down the blue arrow, you can send messages with various effects that change either how your message appears or displays background effects in the chat. It’s important to note that these do not work on any of the iPhone 5’s.

Look for the blue up arrow to send animations
An example animation frame in iMessage.

Read our full guide to using iOS 10