Screen effect on iPhoneSource: iMore

One thing that makes iPhone and iPad special is the Messages app. Aside from the "Blue chat bubble" that is all the rage with the kids, you can trigger some pretty fun effects to iMessages that you send.

That includes effects for iPhone or iPad that make bubbles slam, loud, gentle, or invisible, or turn the whole screen to balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, or shooting stars.

Here's how to spruce up your iMessage!

How do I add bubble effects to my iMessages?

  1. Enter the message you want to send.
  2. Long press on the Send button (looks like an upward pointing arrow).

    How to add bubble effects to an iMessage showing how to open messages and long-press on the Send buttonSource: iMore

  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).

    How to add bubble effects to an iMessage showing how to tap on an effect and tap SendSource: iMore

How do I cancel a bubble effect in Messages?

Showing how to cancel a bubble effectSource: iMore

If you change your mind about sending a bubble effect, tap the Cancel button at the bottom of the effects list (looks like an X).

What do bubble effects do in Messages?

  • Slam: Stamps the bubble down and makes the entire screen ripple
  • Loud: Sends a giant bubble that shakes before settling down into place.
  • Gentle: Sends a tiny bubble that meekly slips into place.
  • Invisible ink: Covers the bubble in animated noise and blur until you swipe it out of the way.

Will the bubble effects I send show up in Messages on the Mac?

The Mac can receive the Invisible Ink bubble effect if you're running macOS Sierra or High Sierra or later.

You can receive any bubble effect if you're running macOS Big Sur, which has a brand new Messages app that can send and receive all of these effects, just like its counterparts for iPhone and iPad.

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How do I add screen effects to my iMessages?

You can also send a screen effect from the Messages app or the new interactive notifications, even from the lock screen!

  1. Enter the message you want to send.
  2. Long press on the Send button (looks like an upward pointing arrow).
  3. Select the Screen tab at the top, if it's not already selected.

    Adding screen effects showing how to long press on the send button and tap the Screen tabSource: iMore

  4. Swipe from right to left to switch between the effects you want to apply: balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, or shooting stars
  5. Tap in the Send button to the right of your message (looks like an upward pointing arrow).

    Adding screen effects to Messages showing how to swipe through the effects and tap SendSource: iMore

How do I cancel a screen effect in Messages?

Showing how to cancel a screen effectSource: iMore

If you change your mind about sending a screen effect, tap the Cancel button at the bottom below your message (looks like an X).

How to replay bubble and screen effects in iMessage

You can replay the bubble and screen effects you receive in an iMessage. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Open the conversation in which you want to view the effects.
  3. Find a message with an effect attached and press the Replay button to view the effect again.

    How to replay bubble/screen effects, showing how to open Messages, tap a conversation, and tap ReplaySource: iMore

How to use Message effects with Reduce Motion turned on

If you have the Reduce Motion setting turned on to reduce things like the icon parallax effect, you can still have Message effects play automatically by flipping a switch in the Accessibility settings.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap Accessibility.

    Using Message effects with Reduce Motion on showing how to Open Settings and tap AccessibilitySource: iMore

  3. Tap Motion.
  4. Tap the switch next to Auto-Play Message Effects to the green 'on' position to allow Message effects to be played even when Reduce Motion is turned on.

    Using Message effects with Reduce Motion on showing how to tap Motion, then tap the switch next to Auto-Play Message EffectsSource: iMore

What do screen effects do in Messages?

Here are all of the current screen effects and what they do.

  • Echo: Have your text duplicate and flood the screen of your recipient.
  • Spotlight: Put a literal spotlight on your incoming iMessage.
  • Balloons: Sends multi-color balloons expanding and flying up from the bottom right of the screen.
  • Confetti: Drops multi-color confetti from the top of the screen.
  • Love: A giant heart will appear to expand and pop from your latest iMessage.
  • Lasers: Fills the screen with "unce, unce, unce" lasers and sound.
  • Fireworks: Sets off multi-color fireworks from the center of the screen.
  • Shooting stars: Launches a "the more you know" starburst shooting from the left of the screen, exploding as it reaches the right.
  • Celebration: Fireworks and festivities aplenty will appear on your iPhone.

Will the screen effects I send show up in Messages on the Mac?

Not just yet, but with the arrival of macOS Big Sur later in 2020, you will be able to both view and send screen effects in Messages on your Mac.

Questions?

Do you have any questions about bubble and screen effects in an iMessage? Put them in the comments, and we'll help you out.

Updated September 2020: Updated for iOS 13 and the iOS 14 beta.

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