iMessage Overview Updated January 10, 2022


Send texts, photos, videos, and audio messages — all from the Messages app

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172 'iMessage' stories

February 2012 - January 2022

iMessage was announced by Scott Forstall at the WWDC keynote in 2011. When iOS 5 was released in October, it included a version of the messages app that had iMessage built-in. In early 2012, Apple announced that a new Messages app would be included in OS X Mountain Lion which was released on July 25, 2012.

By 2012, Tim Cook announced that over 300 billion messages had been sent using iMessage. In 2016, Eddie Cue announced that 200,000 iMessages were being sent every second. Apple also announced an App Store for the platform in 2016.

When Apple announced its messaging platform, mobile carriers were caught off guard as it took over SMS technology. One of the reasons it was initially so successful is that users didn’t realize they were using something new. The only visual change was that the messages went from green to blue. The box for typing message had a faint iMessage in the box before starting a message as well.

Since its release, Google has tried multiple times to create its own messaging service similar to iMessage, but it hasn’t been able to find the same success. Apple has been applauded for including end-to-end encryption in iMessage.

We use end-to-end encryption to protect your iMessage and FaceTime conversations across all your devices. With watchOS and iOS, your messages are encrypted on your device so that they can’t be accessed without your passcode. We designed iMessage and FaceTime so that there’s no way for us to decrypt your data when it’s in transit between devices. You can choose to automatically delete your messages from your device after 30 days or a year or to keep them on your device forever.

Third-party apps that use iMessage do not have access to participants’ actual contact information or conversations. iOS provides each app with a random identifier for each participant, which is reset when the app is uninstalled. iMessage and SMS messages are backed up on iCloud for your convenience, but you can turn iCloud Backup off whenever you want. And we never store the content of FaceTime calls on any servers.

In iOS 11.4, Apple released Messages in the Cloud. If you enable it, it keeps your entire message history updated and available on all your devices. If you purchase a new device, all of your conversations will be synced over as well.

iMessage Stories January 10

Comment: iOS should support RCS, but Apple has no incentive to make iMessage work with Android

Over the past year, Google has publicly pressured Apple to support Rich Communication Services. The latest salvo this weekend was the harshest yet, but RCS on the iPhone is not the panacea to Google’s historical messaging woes, nor will support lead to a transformatively better experience for Android users when interacting with their iPhone counterparts.

iMessage Stories January 6

Messages read receipts bug is sending them even when switched off

A Messages read receipts bug means that recipients may be able to see when you’ve read a message, even if you have the feature switched off in your settings …

iMessage Stories December 26, 2021

iMessage waiting for activation? Here’s how to fix it

If you’re setting up a new iPhone or have recently replaced or reset your iPhone, you may run into an iMessage/FaceTime issue where it is waiting for activation. Let’s take a look at how to fix the “iMessage waiting for activation” issue.

iMessage Stories December 21, 2021

Apple’s Messages app has greatly improved group iMessage in recent years, but there’s one missing feature that Slack gets right. Addressing this and other creative recommendations in iOS 16 next year would be extremely well received.

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iMessage Stories November 19, 2021

Google Messages may soon show iMessage reactions as emoji [Update: Rolling out]

The latest update to Google Messages prepares for a new way to handle the annoying iMessage reaction messages often seen in mixed group chats.

Update: This feature has already begun rolling out for some, allowing us to see it in action.

iMessage Stories October 8, 2021

Although we tend to think of text messaging and SMS as synonyms, that’s not quite the case. SMS (short messaging service) is simply the original technical standard for text messages. In recent years, there’s been a drive to switch to RCS (rich communications services, or rich communications suite), a more sophisticated text messaging standard.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, mostly due to the rivalry between Apple and Google, and that’s something Google wants to change …

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iMessage Stories September 13, 2021

London police chief Cressida Dick has used the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to attack companies like Apple, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal for offering end-to-end encrypted message services.

It follows the British Home Secretary – in charge of policing for the UK – seeking tech companies to find some way to break end-to-end encryption

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iMessage Stories August 31, 2021

iMessage has offered stickers since 2016 with the introduction of iOS 10, but there is no easy way to create your own stickers like there is in other messaging apps. However, “Sticker Doodle” is a new app for iPhone and iPad users that is designed to solve just that.

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iMessage Stories July 21, 2021

An associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute has said that Apple can and must do more to prevent NSO attacks.

He argues that while it’s true that it is impossible to completely prevent exploits based on zero-day vulnerabilities, there are two steps that the iPhone maker can take to make NSO’s job much harder …

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iMessage Stories July 5, 2021

Apple seeks double-rejection of VoIP-Pal’s iMessage and FaceTime patent claims

Less than a month after Apple paid $440M to settle one FaceTime patent infringement claim, it was faced with another one, by VoIP-Pal. In this case, however, Apple is calling for a court to reject VoIP-Pal’s claims in the most unambiguous of terms …

iMessage Stories June 9, 2021

iMessage gets integration with Giphy’s ‘Clips’ GIFs with sound

Giphy is out today with an expansion of its “Clips” content. The short GIFs with sound (or videos 😄) have been available for a bit on the service’s website and apps but now Clips are supported right in the Giphy iMessage app.

iMessage Stories June 4, 2021

We are just a few days away from WWDC 2021. On Monday, Apple will likely unveil iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15. Ahead of the event, the Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern has teased that there are four things likely to receive “big updates” at Apple’s 32nd Worldwide Developers Conference.

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iMessage Stories April 27, 2021

New filings in the Epic vs. Apple legal battle have shed additional light on Apple’s decision-making process regarding bringing iMessage to Android. As it turns out, Apple senior VP Eddy Cue pushed for iMessage to come to Android in 2013, but was overruled by other Apple executives.

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iMessage Stories March 29, 2021

Apple says the App Store, iMessage, and other services are down for some users

Update: Apple’s System Status website now indicates that services are back to normal.

Apple has updated its System Status webpage this afternoon to note that a variety of its services are experiencing issues and downtime today. The company says the App Store may be “slow or unavailable” for some users, while other services such as iCloud Mail and iMessage are also down.

iMessage Stories February 18, 2021

If you’ve noticed that Instagram links are no longer showing previews when sent through iMessage, you’re not alone. Despite speculation it could be due to the growing rift between Facebook and Apple, Instagram has confirmed that this is a bug, and it’s working on a fix.

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iMessage Stories January 28, 2021

iOS 14 was announced with some great new features for iMessage, including more options for group conversations, inline replies, and more. However, there’s also an important change in iMessage that Apple hasn’t mentioned so far. The company has adopted a new security system called “BlastDoor,” which is basically a sandbox mode that protects the Messages app from the rest of iOS.

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iMessage Stories January 7, 2021

There has been much debate over the years about whether Apple should bring iMessage and FaceTime to Android.

I made the FaceTime case earlier in the year, arguing that the pandemic was the perfect time to do it. Apple didn’t heed that call, but I think there is now an equally compelling argument in favor of allowing iMessage on both Android and Windows …

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iMessage Stories January 4, 2021

Apple’s new app privacy labels went live in the App Store last month, giving users the chance to see what data is collected by each. We then explained how to view them.

All apps are required to show what data is used to track you, and what data is linked to your identity. Looking at that more comprehensive category reveals some stark differences between four popular messaging apps…

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iMessage Stories December 21, 2020

A suspected state-sponsored attack saw dozens of iPhones hacked by exploiting an iMessage vulnerability that remained unpatched for around a year. The attack was a so-called zero-click one because it didn’t require the victims to take any action: the hack was enabled simply by receiving a text message.

The victims of the attack were Al Jazeera journalists, and is believed to have been carried out on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates governments, using spyware developed by Israeli company NSO Group. It is suspected that these journalists are a ‘minuscule’ fraction of the iPhones hacked using this method …

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iMessage Stories December 12, 2020

iMessage has become a popular way to communicate since its release with iOS 5 in 2011. In the following years, it’s added new features and been added to more devices. Today, you can use iMessage to communicate over LTE or Wi-Fi using an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or even an Apple Watch. iMessages boasts end-to-end encryption, so not even Apple can read your messages. It’s become one of the most comfortable and secure ways to communicate with friends and family. The problem with iMessage is it has become a business communication tool, and terrible at it. iMessage at work might also cause your company legal problems in the future as well.

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iMessage Stories November 12, 2020

Apple just released its major macOS update with Big Sur. While downloads are often slow with the large file and many users trying to get the software at the same time, it looks like download times are particularly slow this year and are failing in many cases. Meanwhile, it seems that Apple’s Developer website is down as is iMessage and we’re even seeing macOS Catalina performance impacted.

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iMessage Stories July 29, 2020

During the US House Judiciary antitrust hearing looking into Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the latter’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg attempted to downplay the service’s market dominance by pointing to areas it’s behind its competitors. Notably, Zuckerberg called out Apple in a surprise deflection.

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iMessage Stories July 7, 2020

After WhatsApp and Telegram promised that they will not, for now, hand over any user data to local authorities, Apple has said that it is assessing its own Hong Kong policy.

The Cupertino company said that it already has one protection in place …

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iMessage Stories May 23, 2020

9to5Mac exclusively reported some of the details and new features of the upcoming iOS 14, which will be officially announced by Apple next month. Now we have found evidence that Apple is working to completely replace the Messages app on macOS with a Catalyst version, based on iOS 14 code.

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