Apple Testing New iMessage Features Such as Mentions and Retracting Messages, Could Extend to Mac App
Apple is testing new iMessage features internally, according to information obtained by MacRumors. While these features could potentially arrive as early as iOS 14, they could be held back until a later software update or perhaps never released.
For starters, there is a new Slack-like mention system that would allow users to tag other contacts with their name like @Joe or @Jane. When you type the @ sign, a list of suggested contacts would appear. This would be particularly useful in busy group chat conversations, as it would be possible to enable the "Hide Alerts" setting and only receive push notifications when you are mentioned directly.
Apple is also testing the ability to retract iMessages after sending them. Fine print visible to both the sender and recipients would indicate that a message has been retracted. It is unclear if there will be a time limit on retracting messages.
Other features in development include typing indicators in group chats, as already exists in one-on-one iMessage conversations; the ability to mark the last message of a conversation as unread after opening it; and an expansion of the "/me" command for sharing status updates, a feature that has been available on the Mac since the iChat days.
Last year, developer Steve Troughton-Smith uncovered evidence of Apple working on a Catalyst-based version of the Messages app for Mac in macOS Catalina code, and a lot of the features described above would be fitting for the desktop. This could make Messages for Mac a more viable team-based chat app rivaling Slack.
There is a whole lot of evidence in Catalina that they're working on a full, Catalyst version of Messages, much like Shortcuts for Mac. So, just like Shortcuts, I decided to cut to the chase and do it myself by calling the system frameworks. Voilà pic.twitter.com/IsXKrGpemd — Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith) June 19, 2019
For emphasis, there is no guarantee that Apple plans to make all or any of these features available in iOS 14, but testing has taken place in recent months. Keep track of all of the features and changes expected in our iOS 14 roundup.