How to use bubble and screen effects in Messages for iPhone and iPad


iPhone messages bubblesSource: iMore

One thing that makes iPhone and iPad special is the Messages app. Aside from the “blue chat bubbles” that are all the rage with the kids, you can trigger fun effects on iMessages you send.

That includes effects for iPhones or iPad that make text bubbles slam, loud, gentle, or invisible or turn the whole screen into balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, or shooting stars.

Here’s how to spruce up your iMessage on the best iPhones and best iPads, including the iPhone 13 Pro.

How do I add bubble effects to my iMessages?

  1. Enter the message you want to send.
  2. Long press on the Send button (looks like an upward pointing arrow).

    How to add bubble effects to an iMessage showing how to open messages and long-press on the Send button

    Source: iMore

  3. Select the Bubble tab at the top if it’s not already selected.
  4. Tap on the effect you want to apply: Slam, Loud, Gentle, or Invisible Ink.
  5. Tap the Send button to the right of your chosen effect (it looks like an upward pointing arrow).

    How to add bubble effects to an iMessage showing how to tap on an effect and tap Send

    Source: iMore

How do I cancel a bubble effect in Messages?

Showing how to cancel a bubble effect

Source: iMore

If you change your mind about sending a bubble effect, tap the Cancel button at the bottom of the effects list (it looks like an X).

What do bubble effects do in Messages?

  • Slam: Stamps the bubble down and makes the entire screen ripple.
  • Loud: Sends a giant bubble that shakes before settling down into place.
  • Gentle: Sends a tiny bubble that meekly slips into place.
  • Invisible ink: Covers the bubble in animated noise and blur until you swipe it out of the way.

How do I add screen effects to my iMessages?

You can also send a screen effect from the Messages app or the new interactive notifications, even from the lock screen!

  1. Enter the message you want to send.
  2. Long press on the Send button (looks like an upward pointing arrow).
  3. Select the Screen tab at the top if it’s not already selected.

    Adding screen effects showing how to long press on the send button and tap the Screen tab

    Source: iMore

  4. Swipe from right to left to switch between the effects you want to apply: balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, or shooting stars.
  5. Tap the Send button to the right of your message (it looks like an upward pointing arrow).

    Adding screen effects to Messages showing how to swipe through the effects and tap Send

    Source: iMore

How do I cancel a screen effect in Messages?

Showing how to cancel a screen effect

Source: iMore

If you change your mind about sending a screen effect, tap the Cancel button at the bottom below your message (it looks like an X).

How to replay bubble and screen effects in iMessage

You can replay the bubble and screen effects you receive in an iMessage. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Open the conversation where you want to view the effects.
  3. Find a message with an effect attached and press the Replay button to view the effect again.

    How to replay bubble/screen effects, showing how to open Messages, tap a conversation, and tap Replay

    Source: iMore

How to use Message effects with Reduce Motion turned on

If you have the Reduce Motion setting turned on to reduce things like the icon parallax effect, you can still have Message effects play automatically by flipping a switch in the Accessibility settings.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.

    Using Message effects with Reduce Motion on showing how to Open Settings and tap Accessibility

    Source: iMore

  3. Tap Motion.
  4. Tap the switch next to Auto-Play Message Effects to the green ‘on’ position to allow Message effects to be played even when Reduce Motion is turned on.

    Using Message effects with Reduce Motion on showing how to tap Motion, then tap the switch next to Auto-Play Message Effects

    Source: iMore

What do screen effects do in Messages?

Here are all of the current screen effects and what they do.

  • Echo: Have your text duplicate and flood your recipient’s screen.
  • Spotlight: Put a literal spotlight on your incoming iMessage.
  • Balloons: Sends multi-color balloons expanding and flying up from the bottom right of the screen.
  • Confetti: Drops multi-color confetti from the top of the screen.
  • Love: A giant heart will appear to expand and pop from your latest iMessage.
  • Lasers: Fills the screen with “unce, unce, unce” lasers and sound.
  • Fireworks: Sets off multi-color fireworks from the center of the screen.
  • Shooting stars: Launches a “the more you know” starburst shooting from the left of the screen, exploding as it reaches the right.

Add some uniqueness to your messages

Whether it’s with balloons or lasers, fireworks or shooting stars, there are many different ways you can highlight your text messages and make them unique. Start using them today.

Updated July 2022: Updated for iOS 15 and the iOS 16 beta.





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