Here’s everything new coming to Messages in iOS 18

Apple is delivering major feature upgrades to the Messages app in iOS 18.

As announced earlier today during the WWDC keynote, Messages is getting major improvements to tapbacks, a new scheduled sending feature, the ability to format text in bold and italics , new effects, RCS support, and much more.

Here’s everything coming to Messages in iOS 18.

Emoji Tapbacks and New Tapback Designs

Tapbacks have remained unchanged on the iPhone for years, but in iOS 18 they finally get big improvements.

To start, you will be able to send any emoji as a tapback message. Gone are the days of being limited to a handful of tapback reactions. You can now send a tapback with the eyes emoji, or the barf emoji, or anything else that fits the occasion. If the emoji options aren’t enough, you can also use stickers as tapbacks.

Your most commonly used emoji and stickers will be accessible by swiping left on the initial set of tapback options that appear, dragging these default options to present your most used emoji and stickers.

Speaking of those default options, they’re getting a makeover in iOS 18. The classic thumbs, heart, and more are splashed with colors and new designs that will make them better suited to the wider range of new tapback options.

Schedule messages for later

We’ve all had an occasion where we wanted to send a message later. In iOS 18 this will finally be possible. No more asking Siri to remind you to send something later, you can just schedule it yourself.

Prepare a message in iOS or iPadOS 18, and if you don’t want to send it right away, you can choose a later day and time for it to be sent automatically. The option is available by tapping the + button on the left side of the screen and selecting the new Send Later option.

Text formatting and special effects

Messages was the last major Apple app that supported text entry, but never supported rich text formatting options such as bold and italics. This changes in iOS 18, where you can customize the formatting of words in your message to implement the four standard formatting styles:

  • Bold
  • Italics
  • Emphasize
  • Rod

In addition to these options, there are eight interesting special effects that can also be applied per character:

  • Big
  • Little
  • Shake
  • Nod
  • Explode
  • Ripple
  • Bloom
  • Jitter

I’m not sure which messaging occasions will require some of these effects, but they are interesting options nonetheless.

RCS support

Apple previously announced that it would support RCS in 2024, but it was great to see confirmation today.

RCS is a newer, better text messaging protocol that is the successor to SMS and MMS. Essentially, by adding RCS support in iOS 18, Apple will make your conversations with Android users more reliable than before.

When communicating via iMessage, everything will remain as it is. Your conversations on the blue bubble do not change. But in situations where, for example, you’re in a group chat that includes a green bubble friend, RCS should improve the experience for everyone.

Everything else

Genmoji: While not exclusive to Messages, the place you’ll use Genmoji the most is in your conversations with friends and family. These AI-generated emoji will provide endless potential for future emoji communications.

Picture Playground: Likewise, the new Image Playground tools for creating AI images in a variety of styles will be a useful option to integrate into the Messages app when it launches later this year, alongside other Apple Intelligence features.

Satellite messages: Messages in iOS 18 also includes support for a new Messages via Satellite feature designed to help you in situations where you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.


Messages in iOS 18 offers a variety of new tools and features that are sure to get a lot of use. While the core of the app remains the same, Apple has made some improvements that I personally hope will greatly benefit.

What are your favorite features in the Messages app in iOS 18? Let us know in the comments.

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