Can't see the new iMessage bubble effects in iOS 10? Here's how to fix it!

Some of the funnest new features coming to iPhone and iPad are the bubble effects in iMessage for iOS 10. With them, you can SLAM down a message or send it softly. You can light the screen with lasers or fill it up with balloons. But what do you do when you try to use it and nothing happens?

The easiest fix is to check your accessibility settings, namely: reduce motion. Bubble effects rely on the very physics engine reduce motion disables. So, if you turn on reduce motion, you turn off bubble effects. It's not obvious, but it's what happens.

Note: If you turned on reduce motion because iOS animations cause vertigo or similar reactions, leave it off. You're not missing any real functionality with bubble effects, only fun. If you turned on reduce motion because you think the lack of animation makes iOS faster, feel free to turn it back off. iOS with reduce motion on is actually a fraction of a second slower — it's just a trick of perception that makes it seem faster.

How to turn off reduce motion on your iPhone or iPad

First you need to make sure reduce motion is off:

  1. Launch Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on General.
  3. Tap on Accessibility.

  1. Tap on Reduce Motion
  2. Switch Reduce Motion to Off.

How to send bubble effects iMessages in iOS 10

Now test to see if Bubble effects are working:

  1. Enter the message you want to send.
  2. Press firmly (3D Touch) or long press (no 3D Touch) on the Send button (looks like an upward pointing arrow).
  3. Select the Bubble tab at the top (if it's not already selected.)
  4. Tap on the effect you want to apply: Slam, Loud, Gentle, or Invisible Ink.
  5. Tap in the Send button to the right of the effect you chose (looks like an upward pointing arrow).

Any questions?

Bubble effects should now be working as designed for you. If you have any questions or need any more help, let me know in comments!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

22 Comments
  • Yeah I call BS on the effects needing reduce motion to be off in order to work. It worked fine in previous betas with reduce motion on, so this seems like Apple just wanting that effect to be kept off.
  • I agree, doesn't make sense.
  • I was trying to use these features since the first beta and couldn't get them to work until I finally found this same solution on a reddit page.
  • I noticed this in the first iOS 10 beta and was hoping the settings were only temporarily tethered. Maybe that'll be the case as IMHO, the new iMessages effects should just work, there doesn't seem to be a need to turn them off. If there is and I'm just ignorant, it should be a subsetting of the motion-off option. I'd rather do without the new iMessage effects rather than turn motion back on.
  • Funny thing... I did all of this and it worked. BUT.... I cannot see other people's animated bubble effects. I have restarted, tried other settings. Nothing. Anything you can suggest?
  • this is happening to me i cannot se friends bubble effects, any solution yet?
  • Try turning off low battery mode if you have it on, because it turns off all effects
  • I can send messages with bubble effects, they show up on my phone and my friends, but I can't receive them from other people??? Any clue why? For example, if a friend tries to text me "hey" with the laser effect it will send "hey" then "(sent with Laser Effect)" please help! thanks
  • Having the same problem. Please help.
  • Same issue with my wife's iPhone 6. No issue on my iPhone 6S or iPad Pro.
  • with the iOS GM, it works fine on my iPhone 6, but I also cannot see incoming iMessage effects on my iPhone 6+ Checked that Reduced Motion was not turned on, turned it on and back off. Still no change.
  • Although I deleted all messages on the iPhone 6+, and now the effects are working just fine. Weird.
  • Settings>General>Reset>Reset All Settings. This option saves all media and data, just resets actual phone settings.
  • Still didn't work
  • To fix this and start seeing message effects on your iOS device: Go to Settings.
    Tap Messages.
    Toggle iMessage off.
    Toggle iMessage back on.
  • This worked!!
  • i dont get the menu after long pressing. i have tried turning imessage off and back on again and restarting. any suggestion?
  • Same! I'd like an answer to this as well. I have a 6se
  • Nothing is working for me. I can send balloons and confetti and fireworks but can't receive them. My reduce movement is off and I tried the turning imessage off and back on and nothing has worked.
  • I have played with my phone with many different things and it works but the bubble effects comes and goes with my texts. one minute it works great and I can do everything and then the next minute I press the arrow and the screen just goes grey and doesn't give me options to do anything. it is very frustrating. I can receive it but very rare I can send it out. I thought it was the iphone I have. I have the iPhone 6s, which my best friend has. and she has no problems with it.
  • I don't get the menu either. I've tried all of the above suggestions to no avail. Anything else I can do?
  • I've read thru all of these suggestions and tried each....still not working. I troubleshoot this sort of thing for a living and this shouldn't be so difficult. Any help would be appreciated