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Express yourself in Messages with formatting, text effects, and tapbacks | iOS 18 Guide

iOS 18 brings exciting enhancements to the Messages app, making it easier than ever to express yourself via the medium of text messaging. Here’s how to use the new features.

Note: This guide previews upcoming features. iOS 18 is due for release September 2024, with a public beta in July.

Jazz up your text

There are lots of ways to emphasize specific parts of a message, from standard text formatting like bold and italics to dynamic animations like ripple, jitter, and explode. You access both in the same way.

First, type out your message as usual and select a word or phrase. Then, press the text effects button (☰A) to the right of the QuickType bar. Remember, you can double-tap individual words to select them or triple-tap to highlight an entire sentence instantly. Note that if you press the text effects button with nothing selected, it will apply the effects to your entire message.

You’ll see straightforward formatting options allowing you to apply bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough to your messages.

Underneath is where it gets interesting: there’s a suite of animation effects you can use to really spice up your messages. Choose whichever you like and the recipient will see the animations play when they first receive the message. If you want to replay an animation, you can back out of the chat thread and open it up again.

New clear reactions

Tapbacks – those little reaction graphics you can stick to messages – have received a significant upgrade in iOS 18. Previously limited to six basic designs, you can now use any emoji or sticker as a Tapback, offering a more personalized way to respond to messages. You can even respond with an AI-generated Genmoji tapback if your device is capable of making them!

To try it, double-tap or long-press any message to bring up the Tapback menu. You’ll see the six standard reactions, plus some emoji suggestions if you swipe left. To search through the full range of options, tap the little gray smiley button. This flexibility allows you to react to messages in a way that best fits the context and your personality!