Calling & Texting

How To: Use FaceTime's Secret Hand Gestures and Reaction Buttons to Add Animated On-Screen Effects to Your Video Feed

Apple's Messages app has long had visual effects you could apply manually after long-pressing the send button, and there are even hidden keywords you could use to trigger full-screen effects automatically. FaceTime's latest update also gives you some full-screen effects to play around with during video calls, but the triggers are an entirely different concept — hand gestures.

How To: Disable iOS 17's Live Voicemail on Your iPhone's Incoming Call Screen

Apple's Live Voicemail lets you preview what an incoming caller is speaking to your voicemail system in real time. It's a revolutionary feature like Visual Voicemail on the original iPhone, only better since it helps you screen calls to quickly decide whether to answer or ignore callers. It's similar to answering machines, whose popularity peaked in the mid-90s, but you quietly read transcribed messages instead.

How To: Use iOS 17's Live Voicemail Feature on Your iPhone — Everything You Need to Know

Visual Voicemail revolutionized phone calls and the voicemail system when Apple introduced it with the original iPhone. Now, thanks to iOS 17, Apple has done it again with its newest calling feature, Live Voicemail. This feature uses speech-to-text technology to show you voicemail transcriptions on the incoming call screen in real time, helping you decide if it's important enough to answer the call.

How To: Quickly Find the Conversations with the Most Photos and Videos in Your iPhone's Messages App

There's a quick way to see who you or somebody else has been chatting with the most in the Messages app for iOS and iPadOS. More specifically, it shows which conversations have the most attachments, such as photos and videos, giving you an idea of which chats are the most active visually.

How To: The Hidden Meaning Behind Those Mysterious, Nonnumerical Dialer Pad Keys on Your Phone

You might have missed it, but the virtual keypad you use to enter phone numbers in your smartphone's dialer and contacts app isn't all numbers. Take a closer look, and you'll notice a few mysterious buttons you've likely been tuning out unconsciously. But it's time to stop ignoring them because each has a particular purpose that could come in handy one day.

How To: Your iPhone Just Got 118 More Emoji — Here Are All the New Characters and Variations

There are now more emoji on your iPhone's keyboard that you can send as reactions or stickers or insert wherever else you use emoji — and it's about time. It's been nearly a year since the last emoji update for iOS, and we only received support for 31 new ones then. The new iOS 17 software update brings almost four times as many.

How To: Hear Conversations During Calls Much Clearer with These Hidden iPhone Features

Whether it's everybody or just a specific contact you can't hear during audio and video calls when wearing headphones, your iPhone has hidden, little-known tools to help you catch every word they say in the conversation. Even if you can normally hear everyone during calls, customizing these headphone preferences can make conversations crystal clear.

How To: Your iPhone's Messages App Has 22 New Must-Try Features — And You Probably Didn't Know About Half of Them

Your iPhone's Messages app has some impressive new features and changes with iOS 17, and you've probably already noticed some of them just by using the updated app. But there are less apparent features, even hidden ones, that have likely eluded you that you're going to want to know about. There are even some new Messages features yet to be officially released.

How To: Use Your iPhone's New 'Check In' Feature to Let Contacts Know When You Arrive Safely at Your Destination

Check In is a new safety feature built into the Messages app that can automatically notify a family member, friend, another contact, or a group the moment you arrive safely at a destination, giving them peace of mind in knowing you're all right. If you never reach your stopping place, it will also send them clues to help them figure out what went wrong.

How To: Make Google's Messages App on Your Phone Write or Rewrite Text Messages for You Using GenAI

Text messaging is a core component of the mobile experience, and Google has added several AI-fueled features to help you text better, such as Smart Reply for quick response suggestions. But Messages by Google's newest AI-powered tool is possibly the best one yet, giving you improved response suggestions and your own personal copyeditor to fix all your message drafts.

How To: FaceTime's Latest Trick Lets You Play Games with Family and Friends on Your iPhone During Calls — Here's How It Works

Whenever you're on a FaceTime call, you can use SharePlay on your iPhone or iPad to screen share, watch TV or movies together, work out with each other, and even listen to the same music at the same time. SharePlay also recently received a new skill that turns FaceTime into a portable gaming platform.

How To: Apple's Messages App Has a Hidden Feature You Can Use Only by Doing This

Apple has a secret iMessage effect so hidden that there's only one way to unlock it, and it's not by digging through the Messages app's settings, tools, effects, or interface. However, it's used the same way whether you're messaging from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, so it's easy to remember once you know.

How To: Your iPhone's Phone App Has a Hidden Call Feature That's Useful AF

There are a surprising number of hidden features in your iPhone's Phone app, from secret dialer codes that provide info or perform actions to special characters that dial extensions automatically. However, there's one little-known trick every iPhone owner should know when using the Phone app for calls — and it's the simplest and most useful of them all.

How To: Seamlessly Transfer a FaceTime Call to Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac Without Disconnecting It

One advantage to using Apple's ecosystem is Continuity, which allows you to move files, media, and tasks seamlessly between all your Apple devices. It even lets you use one device to help with actions on another, like unlocking your Mac with your Apple Watch or using your iPad as a second display. Now, things are even better with Continuity with Handoff's new FaceTime functionality.

How To: Your iPhone's Contacts App Is More Powerful Than Ever with These Killer New Features

In the past, Apple never really put much work into its Contacts app for iPhone, making the tool much less useful than its Mac and iCloud counterparts. But now the Contacts app for iOS is a force to be reckoned with. Packed with new features (some hidden), it's finally good enough to beat all of the third-party contacts apps that previously reigned supreme.

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