iOS 9 wish-list: 'Favorite' iMessages

iMessages on iPhone
iMessages on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

Sometimes I'm having a conversation on iMessage and the person — or one of the people in a group — I'm conversing with says something so funny, so profound, so touching, or so important I just want to favorite it so they'll know, and so that I'll be able to find it again in the future when I want or need to see it again. Right now, I can't. But maybe iOS 9 could change that?

It's become something of a joke in my regular conversations — we'll resign ourselves to sending a star emoji. It conveys the symbolism of a favorite, if very loudly, and the frustration that the feature doesn't yet exist, but it doesn't help us find the messages later. (Search in Messages isn't quite what it should be yet either...)

By adding a "favorite" feature to iOS 9, we could send those subtle, social signals Twitter favs and Facebook likes send, we could tell the people we're conversing with that we've not only "read" what they've sent us, but enjoyed or appreciated it. And we could go back and find their messages again.

Apple already has mechanisms for interacting with messages. A long tap brings up a contextual menu. Adding "Favorite" or "Like" to that menu could work. iOS 8 also added in-line controls. Tapping the small text below an image can override the 2 minute auto-delete. Perhaps a star or thumbs-up glyph could live there.

Either way, a list of favorited messages for each conversation could then live in that conversation's Details view, like location and attachments do now. A full list of all favorited messages could also live beside the compose button in the main Messages list view, likewise with a star or thumbs-up glyph.

Best of all, they could sync across devices, so you could quickly find them again, whether you're on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Just like Apple's done with favorites in the Photos app.

It may seem like a small thing. Even a silly thing. But messaging is important. Messages are important. And it's sometimes the small things, even the silly things, that make them all the more so.

Apple knows that. They just improved the group, instant, and ephemeral components of Messages in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. The Apple Watch will even let us send taps and sketches and heartbeats.

Here's hoping iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 let us favorite in Messages as well.


Rene Ritchie

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.

  • Would also be great if they added a feature where by any text that is auto corrected is underlined in red so we are aware the text has changed and before sending we can glance and immediately see what's changed. Sent from the iMore App
  • Much easier to turn off auto correct and just let it underline the word in red so you yourself can decide to change it Sent from the iMore App
  • I want the option of having incoming phone calls as a notification instead of the full screen domination it is now. There is a jailbreak app called 'callbar'. Why don't Apple just borrow/steal that idea.
  • This is a great idea! So many times do I get a list from my wife and 50 messages later need to refer to it.
  • Exactly... Like for her Chipotle Order... Perfect.
  • Print screen.
  • I like the favorite idea, but really want to be able to mark texts as "unread". Too many times I've read a text and been unable to immediately respond (driving, meeting etc) and forget to respond later.
  • Seriously? This has to be the most frivolous and useless feature request I've ever read.
  • Yep Sent from the iMore App
  • Why not just screenshot it?
  • How about when you want to make a call without showing your CALLER ID in the PHONE (green and white) APP from your iPhone instead of going to SETTINGS to turn off "show caller id". This will be a lot more convenient lets say you want to call to ANY COMPANY that you do not want to leave your phone number with. Also, for mac, iPads as well.
  • Just implement tagging.
  • Also if we could lock individual messages so that if we delete an entire stream of messages the ones that we locked would be saved. That'd be great. Sent from the iMore App
  • Introducing the new AppleShot. It's the same damn screenshot function as before, but with a new magical innovative name to go with the $50 pricetag. Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • Also according to the picture provided, you must see something in "Heaters without borders" that the rest of us don't see. The favorite feature would save that one text. A screenshot shows the context of the text, and therefore shows why it was funny/profound/important in the first place. Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • Slight hijack -- is radar still as frustratingly opaque in terms of looking at other people's filings, or the progress of your own filed issues?
  • I would love if they came out with this new feature where everything worked and there were no bugs...that would be awesome. :-|
  • Well, in that case I recommend to you the new iRock. It's suitable for all your bug free needs because it's completely stone. Like your brain. Posted from the amazing whatever device I can afford because I'm a broke college kid.
  • I guess I just have uninspiring friends (no offense intended to those that read this). This would be of no use to me, and frankly, I wouldn't really want it at all. We already have Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other social networks where this type of function exists; I don't want iMessages/SMS to turn into this kind of thing. If I want to "favorite" or "like" something for easier searching, I copy and paste it into Drafts/NoteBox/Clips and push it someplace more permanent than just on my phone.
  • Yep. Just make the share sheet available by long pressing the message and selecting more. I'll save important messages right to Evernote (or somewhere). Sent from the iMore App
  • ⭐️ Sent from the iMore App
  • And I know that this was specifically a messages wish list, but for iOS 9 my main requests are Print to PDF (which then opens in a Preview App that syncs with iCloud) and multiple document attachments from within the mail app (using a document picker that opens with all available signed in cloud storage options). Sent from the iMore App
  • I would like to see an option to switch on contact photos to display next to each message. Just like in group messages. Sent from the iMore App
  • And within a group message to see who has read the message and who has not. Sent from the iMore App
  • Number one on my iOS 9 wish list is to look like Yosemite more than 8 does. Failing that, be iOS 6. Failing THAT, just let me run Darwin on my iPad.
  • Not to be a jerk, but this app doesn't have the ability to favorite articles. A lot of times I want to reference it later and quickly and can't find it in time or at all. Sent from the iMore App
  • I use the share sheet to add to (safari) reading list. It works ok for me. Sent from the iMore App
  • I would love to see when deleting messages from one device, it automatically deletes them from all devices. Sent from the iMore App
  • Yes please! It's currently annoying to have to delete across multiple devices. Sent from the iMore App
  • Now there's something useful. Sent from the iMore App
  • Being able to put an icon anywhere on the home screen would be nice. Sent from the iMore App
  • Hope ios9 comes out with really awesome features. Sent from the iMore App
  • What I would LOVE to see in messages is the ability to "Lock" messages so that they aren't deleted unless you purposely delete them individually, like on Android.
  • Ios 9 will be available only for 64 bit devices. The non-64 bit devices will stay with ios8 or apple release forked ios 9. Sent from the iMore App
  • Really Rene? Of all the features you'd like Apple to add to iMessage you choose "favoriting"? Either you have a very narrow view of the importance of improving ios texting or you and I do not see eye to eye on the future of iOS. To me, if I could add any feature to iMessage to make it better, I'd say the #1 thing on my wish list would be 3rd party texting support. Allow Google talk, wechat, snapchat, FB messenger, etc. to be used in imessage (both on iOS and OS X). Provide an API or extension or Whatever to IMEssage to allow this. Messaging has become so over-blown and I have way too many messaging apps on my phone and it's really annoying the heck out of me. And you pick "favoriting". hA! Lame!
  • I would like to see an option for scheduled Push in emails. Android has had this for years. I don't want emails pushed to my iPhone at night. But I want the push feature turned on during the day. I get between 15-20 emails every night. So if I could just turn on push between, let's say 8 am and 11 pm, and off during the night, that would be great.
    Some might say, why don't you just leave it on and use the Do not disturb function at night? I don't want that, because if someone calls me at night, I am gonna assume it is important and I would like to take that call.
  • I was just saying this! I'm a heavy GroupMe user and when I'm in my iMessage groups sometimes I want to quick reference something or just simply like what someone says during a debate. If Apple really wants to compete with the likes of Snapchat, Whatsapp, etc. This would be a great start. Sent from the iMore App
  • i want shut off and flightmode security locked Sent from the iMore App
  • I'd like for iOS9 to allow me to turn Location on and off from the control center, instead of making me dig deep into menus. It's annoying.
  • Is there a better place in iMore to voice our wishes unrelated to the specific one in this article?
    The one that's most recently pissed me off-
    Get rid of that f'n giant lingering volume square!!! Make it a little bar on the side of the screen next to the physical volume buttons. Sent from the iMore App