iOS 14 MessagesSource: Apple

The Messages app for iOS/iPadOS 14 is picking up new features. Two of these are mentions and inline responses. Here's a first look at how these new tools work and why they're useful.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

What's changing?

In iOS 14, Apple's adding new tools to group chats, including the ability to name the group and assign an image or emoji. With mentions, you target a specific person in the group and send a direct message. When mentioned, your name gets highlighted in the text.

With mentions, you can receive an alert on your device even when conversations in Messages are muted. With Inline replies, you can address a specific message in a group chat. You can decide to view the responses to the message in the full group conversation or separately in a new thread.

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Using mentions in iOS 14

To use mentions on iPhone or iPad:

  1. Tap on the Messages app on your Home screen.
  2. Choose the appropriate group chat.
  3. Type your message as usual.
  4. Include @person to create a mention. For example, if Jay is a member of your group, type "@jay."
  5. Tap the up arrow to send the message.

For mentions to work, you must type of the name as it's listed in Messages. Successful mentions are highlighted in the group chat.

Setting up alerts for mentions

By default, you'll receive alerts anytime someone mentions your name in Messages, even if you turn off notifications for the Messages app overall. To change this setting:

  1. Tap the Settings app on your device.
  2. Choose Messages.
  3. Toggle off Notify Me under Mentions.

Using inline replies

To use inline replies in iOS 14:

  1. Tap on the Messages app on your Home screen.
  2. Choose the appropriate group chat.
  3. Push on the specific message which you'd like to reply.
  4. Choose Reply.

From then, you'll see inline replies to the specific message noted with the word Reply. Tap on this to view additional comments for the particular message.

That's it! You can now use mentions and inline replies in group chats!

So much to see

The iOS/iPadOS 14 betas are currently available to registered Apple developers. In July, public betas arrive for both operating systems. The first official release should debut in September.

Besides the new Messages tools, iOS 14 also includes all-new widgets, an App Library, and more much.

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