iMessage lets you send text, photo, video, audio, and more!

With iMessage you can send all kinds of messages to all kinds of people. You can send standard SMS/MMS (text/multimedia messages) to anyone, on any phone, and you can send data-based text, photo, video, and audio messages to anyone on any Apple device. You can also share your location immediately, or for a certain amount of time.

How to tell if you're sending an iMessage or an SMS/MMS

Apple's built-in Messages app can send both carrier-based SMS/MMS to any phone and data-based iMessages to any other Apple device. To make it easy to tell the two apart — and so that you know what might be charged as SMS/MMS vs. part of your data package – Apple color-codes all your messages.

  • Blue is for iMessage. Any time you're on Wi-Fi or using cellular data, and you send a message from your Apple device to another Apple device, it'll be contained in a blue bubble.
  • Green is for SMS/MMS. Any time you're on the cellular network and sending to another mobile phone, it'll be contained in a green bubble.

If iMessage is offline, your iPhone may try to send over SMS/MMS, so keep an eye on it if you want to avoid charges, especially international charges outside of any texting plan you might have.

How to send a text message using iMessage on iPhone or iPad

If you've ever sent an SMS message, you already know how to send an iMessage. If you're brand new to the iPhone or iPad, here's how it's done:

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Compose button in the upper right hand corner.
  3. Type the name of the contact to whom you'd like to send a message.

    Launch Messages, tap compose button, type a name

  4. Tap the contact to whom you'd like to send a message.

  5. Type your message in the message field.
  6. Tap Send.

    Tap the contact, type message in the message field, tap send

Remember, green bubbles represent SMS messages while blue bubbles represent iMessages.

How to send an instant photo or video using iMessage on iPhone or iPad

Sending instant selfies is increasingly the thing to do, and iMessage lets you do just that. Whether still or video, all you have to do is touch and send!

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send a photo.
  3. Tap on the photo button in the lower lefthand corner.

    Launch Messages, tap the conversation, tap the photo button

  4. Tap Take Photo or Video to snap a photo or shoot a video on the spot.

  5. Tap Use Photo or Use Video on the bottom right of the screen, once you have taken your photo or video. Tap Retake if you need a re-do.
  6. Tap Send.

    Tap Take Photo or Video, take photo or video, tap use photo or use video, tap send

How to send an instant photo using Messages in iOS 10 on iPhone or iPad:

In iOS 10, it's even easier to send those instant selfies, with Messages offering a new, quicker way to take photos.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send a photo.
  3. Tap on the camera button in the lower left corner.

    If the keyboard is up, tap the arrow next to the Compose box first.

    Tap camera button, tap capture

  4. On the camera panel at the bottom of your screen, tap the capture button to take a photo. The photo will automatically appear in the Compose box.

  5. Tap the Send button (it looks like an arrow).

    Tap capture, tap send

How to take and send a new photo or video using Messages in iOS 10 on iPhone or iPad:

If you want a better view of what your photo or video will look like, Messages has another option for taking new images.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send a photo.
  3. Tap on the camera button in the lower left corner.

    If the keyboard is up, tap the arrow next to the Compose box first.

    Tap camera button, tap camera

  4. Swipe right on the camera panel at the bottom of the screen.

  5. Tap the Camera button.
  6. Tap the capture button to take a photo or swipe right to switch to video.

    Swipe right, tap camera, tap capture

  7. After you've captured a photo or video, tap Markup if you want to mark up your photo (photos only), Edit if you want to add a filter or adjust the lighting, or Retake to take a new photo or video.

  8. When you are ready to send, tap Done in the top right corner of the screen.
  9. Tap the Send button (it looks like an arrow).

    Markup, Done, Send

How to send an existing photo or video using iMessage on iPhone or iPad

If you've already taken a great photo or video that you want to share, you can do that too.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send a photo.
  3. Tap on the photo button in the lower lefthand corner.

    Launch Messages, tap the conversation, tap the photo button

  4. Tap Photo Library.

  5. Choose a category from which to send a photo or video.
  6. Tap the image or video you'd like to send.

    Tap Photo Library, tap a category, choose a photo

  7. Tap Choose.

  8. Tap Send.

    Tap Choose, tap Send

How to send an existing photo or video using iMessage in iOS 10 on iPhone or iPad:

It's not just new photos and videos that have gotten an upgrade in iOS 10. Sending existing images or clips has also been improved.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send a photo.
  3. Tap on the photo button in the lower lefthand corner.

    Open Messages, tap camera button

  4. Swipe to the left to scroll through recent photos.

  5. Swipe to the right and tap the Photo Library button to see your entire photo library and all of your albums.
  6. Tap the image or video you'd like to send. When viewing your whole library, tap Choose. Your photo will appear in the compose box.

    Swipe right, tap Photo Library

  7. Tap the Send button (looks like an arrow).

    Choose your photo, tap Done, hit send

How to send your current location using iMessage for iPhone and iPad

If you don't want to constantly share your location but do want to send someone your current location, it's easy to do.

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to send your location.
  3. Tap on Details in the upper right hand corner.
  4. Tap on Send My Current Location.

    Tap the conversation, Details, Send My Current Location

The person on the other end can then tap on the location in order to view it and even get directions.

How to share your location for a period of time using iMessage for iPhone and iPad

Apple has tied iMessage into Find Your Friends, so if you want to share your location for an hour, the rest of the day, or the rest of time, that's also an option.

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you'd like to share your location. It can be with an individual person or with a group, as long as everyone in it is using iMessage.
  3. Tap on Details in the upper right hand corner.

    Launch Messages, tap the conversation, tap Details

  4. Tap on Share My Location.

  5. Choose the duration for which you'd like to share your location.

    Tap Share My Location, choose the duration

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