All the Best Features in Messages for macOS
The stock Messages app for the Mac has a ton of hidden features. While you may mostly use it as a tool to quickly reach out to your contacts, you can make your conversations more engaging and improve the overall experience by taking advantage of these features.
Apple has made some significant improvements to the macOS Messages app over the past couple of years, with more features planned to release soon. Whether you’re new to the platform or you’ve been a long-time iMessage user, here are all the best Messages features in macOS.
1. Mentions and Inline Replies
These are two distinct features, but they’re mainly used for the same purpose. Both mentions and inline replies come in handy, especially in group conversations. You can use them to respond to a particular group member or reply to a specific message.
Additionally, you can use mentions to ping the people who’ve muted the group chat, provided they haven’t disabled mentions. On the other hand, you can click on an inline reply to open a dedicated thread and view all the replies to the particular message.
To mention someone in iMessage, just type the contact’s name or use the @ sign followed by their name. As for inline replies, simply Control-click on the text bubble to access the Reply option.
2. Pinned Conversations
The updated Messages app allows you to prioritize your conversations too. You can pin threads to the top of your messages list and make sure they remain easily accessible at all times. Typing indicators, Tapbacks, and new messages animate right above the pin.
Right now, you can have up to nine pinned conversations in the macOS Messages app. Yes, you can pin group conversations too.
When there are unread messages in a group thread, you’ll notice the most recent participants circle around the pinned conversation.
To pin a conversation, all you need to do is right-click or Control-click on the message thread and select Pin from the context menu. You can also click and drag message threads to the top of the list. To unpin a pinned thread, Control-click and choose Unpin.
3. iMessage Effects
Want to congratulate someone, celebrate a special occasion, or wish your friend a happy birthday? Use iMessage effects to help express yourself. The Messages app gives you access to 12 different effects, including screen effects and bubble effects.
You can access all these effects from the app drawer located next to the text field. Make sure to type the message before you check them out, though. You’ll be able to preview all the effects before you actually send them.
Message effects can also be triggered with certain keywords too. For instance, you can send a Happy Birthday message to trigger the Balloons effect. Or you can wish someone a Happy New Year to trigger the Fireworks effect.
4. Message Search
You might think this is a basic feature, but it’s actually a lot more useful than you think in the Messages app. Apart from using it to search and filter messages from all your conversations, you can find files, photos, links, and more within seconds.
The search results are neatly sectioned into contacts, conversations, photos, documents, and links. The matching keywords are highlighted as you type in the search field. When you click on a result, you’ll jump to the text bubble you’re looking for in the thread.
Other than the obvious way of using the trackpad to select and access the search tool, you can use the Cmd + F keyboard shortcut too.
5. Integrated GIF Search
You can send memes and other hilarious GIFs to your friends directly from the Messages app. You don’t have to use your web browser or a third-party app like GIF Keyboard any more. The search tool is built right in and can be accessed pretty easily.
The feature is named #images in the app drawer and located alongside other features such as Message effects and Memoji stickers. Type the keyword and you’ll find GIFs matching it. Before you ask, you cannot use it to send custom GIFs.
Related: The Best Free GIF Maker Apps for Mac
6. Memoji Stickers
Emojis are fun for sure, but you can personalize how you express yourself with Memoji stickers. Memojis can be fun animated avatars of yourself, and you can create one within minutes from the Messages app.
If you’ve already created a Memoji on your other Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you should be ready to go. Unlike regular emojis, Memoji stickers can be accessed from the app drawer.
Apart from the custom Memoji stickers, you also have access to a bunch of stock Memoji characters like an alien, robot, giraffe, and more. Unlike Animojis, Memoji stickers don’t animate.
7. Shared with You
Next on the list, we have a new macOS Monterey feature that will work in tandem with other apps installed on your Mac. Links, photos, videos, and other content that you receive from contacts will be accessible in the respective app from a dedicated section called Shared with You.
Let’s say someone shares a playlist with you in Messages while you’re busy. The playlist will automatically show up in your Apple Music app so that you don’t have to scroll through all the messages anymore.
This feature seems to only work with Apple’s apps at the moment, such as Apple News, Apple TV, Safari, and Photos.
8. Photo Collections
This is yet another upcoming feature that will change the way you view a bunch of photos that are sent to you. Currently in macOS, if someone shares multiple photos, they appear in the thread individually. This means that you have to scroll a lot to go through all of them.
This isn’t the case in macOS Monterey. Photo collections will make sure all the shared images appear as a single stack that you can swipe through one by one. Smaller collections will appear as a collage that you can glance at once.
You can click on these new photo collections to enter a grid view from where you can add Tapbacks or inline replies.
Messages on the Mac Has Caught Up
For quite some time, the macOS Messages app lagged behind its iOS and iPadOS counterparts, lacking key features like iMessage effects, GIF search, Memoji stickers, and so on. Fortunately, the macOS Big Sur update addressed almost all of these oversights problems.
And, it looks like macOS Monterey is further improving the messaging experience on the Mac.
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June 21, 2021 at 02:11PM