iPhone MMS - AT&T Late Summer

Today's the day everyone on AT&T has been waiting for -- MMS lands now. Well, now-ish, because AT&T is doing a rolling roll-out, and we'll see how the network holds up.

AT&T MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25. Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.

If you're waiting for MMS to come your way -- whether to use or just to check off your AT&T bucket list -- check out our MMS for iPhone walkthrough after the break so you're ready when yours lights up. And when it does light up, let us know when and where in the comments so we can cheer (and those nearby can lose their minds with anticipointment!)

iPhone 3.0/3.1 MMS Walkthrough

iphone_30_icon_messagesMessages is the new SMS, and is renamed to signify the addition of MMS (multi-media messaging service). It allows, in the case of the new iPhone OS 3.0 software, for you to receive, vCards (contacts), audio, location, and -- for iPhone 3GS only -- video to be sent using the Messages interface to any other smartphone or feature-phone that supports MMS and those file types.

Once you receive an MMS, you can tap the icon in the message bubble to get a better look at it. In the case of a contact, you'll see a page similar to what you get when you call up a contact in Phone, except at the very bottom you'll have extra, saving and sharing related options that we'll cover later in the Phone app section.

Location opens in Google Maps as you'd expect, audio and video in iPod, and images pop up full screen where you can tap the share icon to Save Image -- but strangely not re-share it...

When it comes to sending MMS, only picture sending can be initiated from within the Messages app itself. Everything else starts a "share" function from another app (i.e. Share Contact is in Contacts, Share Location is in Google Maps, Share Audio is in Voice Recorder, etc.)

There are two ways to insert a picture into MMS. The first is to tap the camera icon, bottom right. A requester will ask if you want to Take Photo or Choose Existing. Take Photo will call up an embedded version of the Camera app. Frame your picture, tap the camera icon, look at the preview and either hit Retake to try again or Use to insert the picture into your MMS window. (If you want to erase it later, just backspace over it like you would a text character you want to delete)


Choose Existing will call up an image picker (like the Photo App). Pick an Album, pick a picture, and tap Choose to confirm.

The second way to insert a picture into MMS is to paste it...

iphone_30_icon_cut-copy-pasteThe new, system-wide Cut, Copy, and Paste service has also been introduced into Messages. It works in a similar way to the implementation in the Notes app, and we'll cover it more fully there. One difference is that double tapping a previous SMS will give you the Copy popup allowing you to duplicate the entire contents of the SMS to the clipboard. Tapping on an empty entry box will launch the Paste popup, so you can stick the contents back down in an message of your own. If the entry box already contains text, double tapping will select the closest word, and double tapping an holding will select the closet word and popup the loupe.

Again, we'll cover this more fully in the section for the Notes app.

Messages also now includes line-item deletion and forwarding. Tap the Edit button at the top right, select the messages you want -- as many of them as you want -- and then hit the red Delete button at the bottom, or the blue Forward button beside it. Edit still isn't the most elegant name for the combination of deletion and forwarding, mind you, but the functionality is consistent with the Mass Edit feature introduced for Mail in iPhone 2.0.

iphone_30_icon_landscapeLastly, Apple has also answered the call for pervasive landscape-style keyboards, and Messages is one of the text-entry apps that received it. For those who want a Cadillac-wide typing experience, enjoy!

(Note to Apple: a way to "lock" the iPhone in portrait or landscape mode would be appreciated, especially when typing while reclining and every little angle change sends the UI spinning.)

iphone_30_icon_messagesStill no MMS for AT&T users. That's being released on September 25 (though whether it will require an iPhone 3.1.1 update, or just a new carrier file is unknown).

With iPhone 3.1 you can tap the action button at bottom, left to save them to the camera roll, just like you could previously do with pictures under iPhone 3.0.

Save MMS Video