New ways to stay connected with Group Messages
Announced in late June at Apple’s World Wide Development Conference and currently running a beta trial before getting released next fall, iOS 14—the upcoming operating system for the iPhone—will offer users a lot of new experiences and options. Some of the most exciting changes it offers will come in the Messages app, where people go to send and receive most texts.
For years, iMessage has been a pretty simple and straightforward platform for sharing and exchanging messages via the iPhone. Group chats have always been an option on Messages, but still, users often opt to download Slack, GroupMe, or Facebook Messenger for more sophisticated or efficient groups.
iOS 14 is aiming to change that, as its biggest upgrades in Messages focus on refining the group message experience. First, users will finally have the option to pin conversations in their Messages conversation screen. This means that you can select up to nine conversations to be at the top of the list when you open the app. It will certainly help users keep their closest contacts and most important groups highly accessible.
Within the conversations, users will also have the ability to create threads and mention people directly. Much like the “Reply” option on Facebook’s comment section, iMessage’s “unthread” utility will let people respond directly to individuals within a larger group message. This will save users the time of starting a separate message when they want to address someone in the group directly. Moreover, it will also make the group chats more efficient, as topics and messages will no longer avalanche and interrupt on top of each other without organization.
Mentions and Memoji Updates
As for the mention feature, people will now be able to call out individuals within the group. Much like how on Slack or Facebook you can highlight an individual by typing “@” before their name, iMessage under iOS 14 will let users carry out the same function, but with no “@” symbol necessary—the phone will just recognize the name when typed. Likewise, when someone is mentioned within a chat, iOS 14 will give that person a separate notification. That way the mentioned individual knows when he or she is brought up and becomes more aware of the conversation. It’ll be particularly useful when you’re mentioned in a thread that you’d otherwise would ignore or keep on mute.
Lastly, for bells, whistles, and aesthetic’s sake, the new Messages will allow group chats to have Group Photos and it will offer a variety of new Memoji. Group Photos will provide conversations with fun identity signifiers as they sit in the app. Meanwhile, the Memoji will make for more visual communication options while using Messages. The new Memoji include 20 new hairstyles and face-coverings along with additional age and headwear options. There will also be three brand new stickers: a hug, a fist bump, and a blush.
Many of these novel features and more will also be available on the iMac under the new macOS Big Sur, which will similarly come out sometime later this year.
The iOS 14 will also feature an updated home screen with widgets and a more organized app library, as well as a built in translator, a virtual CarKey app, picture-in-picture technology, and an upgraded Apple Maps with a long-overdue cycling option. All of this is exciting, but as aforementioned, Messages is (and always has been) one of the iPhone’s premiere utilities. Messaging is at the very core of what makes a SmartPhone a SmartPhone.
Therefore, under iOS 14, it looks like the SmartPhone is about to get little smarter.
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