Messages is arguably the most important app on your iPhone, which is why it's always exciting when Apple pushes out new features for it. With the iOS 14 update, there a few critical changes as well as interface improvements and customization options that make the experience even more personalized than it already was.
Google is making its Phone app, the default dialer for Pixel and Android One devices, available to many other smartphones via the Play Store. If you're enticed to replace your factory-installed dialer to take advantage of the spam-filtering capabilities, you don't want to miss out on other features like the ability to customize canned responses for declining calls.
There are plenty of reasons to upgrade to iOS 14, home screen widgets chief among them. With that in mind, it's ironic that Apple placed so much emphasis on "widgets" this year when the new update removes a fan-favorite widget of the past — the "Favorites" Phone widget, which was accessible via the Today View or quick actions on the home screen. Here's how to get it back.
One of iOS 14's more exciting features lets you tag someone in a group iMessage chat in the same way you would @ someone on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Even if the conversation is muted, you can get notified when you're mentioned, which helps you jump in only when needed. But if you want complete silence, then disable contact tagging notifications altogether.
Directing a message at a specific person in a group conversation, or to a select few people in the group, can be difficult if you're in a particularly active or hectic chat. Notifications and badges on your iPhone can help you keep track of important messages, but it's still easy to miss one meant for you and not the entire group — which is why you can now mention contacts, or get tagged, in Messages on iOS 14.
Group chats, particularly ones with many active participants, could bombard your iPhone with hundreds of texts in a single day. It can get overwhelming real quick unless you take precautions to hide all notifications for that conversation. But there's another option now, one that'll make sure you only get alerts for the messages that matter to you most in the thread.
You might be using Zoom on your iMac, playing a Steam game on your MacBook, or completing a work assignment on your iPad, when suddenly you get a phone call on your iPhone. If the same Apple ID is used on all of your Apple devices, the call won't ring on your iPhone only — it'll ring on every damned device.
How To: Change Your iPhone's Default Text Responses for Incoming Phone Calls to Quick Reply in Style
Since iOS 6, "Respond with Text" has allowed us to quickly respond to a call we can't (or don't want to) answer. But Apple only gives you three options to choose from, and if you don't have time to type out your own response, those three might not cut it. Luckily, you can customize these three replies to whatever you want.
Saving a chat's history is useful for finding valuable information later on or just reliving a favorite conversation from the past. Sometimes, however, it's good to delete chat threads, and it's even better to have them auto-delete right after you see new messages. While some apps have had disappearing messages for some time (e.g. Snapchat), Facebook Messenger now has it too with "Vanish Mode."
End-to-end encryption makes WhatsApp chats private and secure. However, if someone has access to your iPhone, they can easily open the app and browse through all of your personal conversations. Luckily, there's an easy way to block any would-be intruders at the gates — just lock the app behind Face ID or Touch ID.
How To: Send & Receive Disappearing Messages in Your WhatsApp Conversations to Keep Chats Clutter-Free
Sometimes, keeping every message comes in handy. Maybe you want to relive fun conversations from months or years ago, or perhaps you need to recall a piece of data such as an address, name, or link. However, not all chats need to stick around forever. Whether you're concerned about privacy or just keeping your threads clutter-free, WhatsApp's "disappearing messages" may be what you're looking for.
Android updates don't have as many headlining features as they once did, but that's the point. If you keep updating software to add features and fix bugs, you'll eventually reach a point where the main focus is polish. That doesn't mean you can't get excited about a fresh coat of wax.
As if telemarketers weren't bad enough, now we have robocalls and spoofed numbers to deal with. Many of us get a least one spam call per day, if not much more than that. Google's Phone app has always been great at managing these calls, but it's been exclusive to their Pixel phones — until recently, that is.
Introduced in the Messages app back in iOS 8, audio messages are a fun way to spice up an iMessage thread when you're bored with text, emoji, and GIFs. However, it can be frustrating to lose an important, funny, or otherwise-interesting sound clip because iOS auto-deletes it two minutes after you send or listen to it. Thankfully, there is a way to stop this from happening.
How To: Stop Getting Those Annoying 'Share Your Name & Photo' Alerts in iMessage Threads on Your iPhone
Your iPhone comes with a feature that allows you to share your name and photo with anyone you iMessage in Messages. It's a useful feature if you want people to see a customized name or fun image that you pick, but seeing all those "Share your name and photo" alerts in conversations can get real annoying quickly. There's a way to stop that from happening, thankfully.
How To: Stop Photos from Automatically Creating iCloud Links When Sharing Images & Videos from Your iPhone
If you use iCloud Photos, Apple's iCloud link feature is meant to make sharing multiple photos and videos faster and easier, but it's not as great as you might think. Luckily, there's a way to stop your iPhone from creating them automatically, as long as you're running iOS 13 or later.
Apple's big iOS 14 update includes Memoji improvements such as new hairstyles and headwear to choose from for your personalized Animoji character. Even better, there are now face coverings, so you no longer have to resort to that one masked emoji to get the point across in these times of COVID-19.
Although Facebook has some questionable privacy and security practices, you'll find it still offers you ways to protect the information that's important to you. One of those ways is locking Messenger behind biometric authentication protocols such as Face ID and Touch ID, ensuring that no one else can access your private chats.
Facebook Messenger's user base has grown so much that it has taken over text messaging as the primary contact method for many people. However, sometimes you might want to hide your online status from specific contacts and appear offline to others. There's a neat little trick you should know that can help you achieve this.
Screen recording is an essential tool for sharing what's on our smartphones. If you want to send your friends and family an unsharable video you're watching, or a neat trick you discovered on your phone, recording your screen is one way to do so. Messenger, Facebook's standalone chat app, simplifies the experience by implementing live screen shares directly in video calls.