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.