What’s new in Messages in iOS 18?

Apple’s new iOS 18 operating system will bring important new features to the classic Messaging app, including the ability to send messages via satellite when out of Wi-Fi or cellular range.

Messages was one of the first apps focused on during the iOS 18 reveal at WWDC 2024 on Monday, bringing some rumoured updates and others that had escaped the speculation.

Let’s dive in.

Messages via Satellite

Apple says it is leveraging the technology behind the Emergency SOS satellite messaging tool to bring satellite connectivity to the Messages app itself.

Apple says iMessages (between Apple devices) and SMS messages will be compatible with the new tech. iMessages will remain end-to-end encrypted too.

It’s not clear yet how much this service will cost and how responsive the messages will be. Could be handy if you’re in a fix though.

Send Later

Messaging apps like Slack have the ability to schedule messages to ensure you can send a message while you think to, without disturbing people who may not be working. Now Apple is bringing a version of it to the Messages app. So, for example, if you remember it’s your friend’s birthday tomorrow before you go to bed, you can schedule the message to ensure you don’t forget.

Send Later Messages iOS 18Send Later Messages iOS 18

All-emoji Tapbacks

Apple has opened up the tapbacks (currently limited to thumbs-up/down, love, question, exclaim) to any emoji in the library. The current options are also getting a little colour revamp. This might get a little messy though.

Word effects and formatting

In iOS 18 you’ll be able to format text (bold, underline, strikethrough) while adding effects to words. Words can be selected and formatted to jitter, shake, bloom, explode and others.

Text formatting in iOS 18Text formatting in iOS 18

RCS Messaging

Apple didn’t go into much detail on this, but confirmed Messages will begin supporting the RCS Messaging in iOS 18. That’ll mean more secure texting between iPhone and Android users, including high resolution images and videos, typing indicators, read reports and more.

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