Here's Everything New in the Messages App on iOS 18

iOS 18 adds many new features to the Messages app, including the ability to schedule messages to be sent later, the ability to use any emoji or sticker as a Tapback, text formatting options like bold and italics, and much more.

iOS 18 Messages Feature 1
iOS 18 is currently available in beta for members of the Apple Developer Program, with a public beta to follow in July. The software update should be widely released in September, and it is compatible with the iPhone XS and newer.

Below, we outline everything new in the Messages app on iOS 18, including some smaller changes that Apple's website does not mention.

Schedule Messages

iMessages can now be scheduled to be sent at a later date and time in both individual and group conversations. As of the first iOS 18 beta, you can schedule a message to be sent up to 14 days later. After scheduling a message, it becomes visible to you in a dotted-line bubble, with edit, delete, and reschedule options.

iMessage Send Later iOS 18
To access this feature, tap the plus sign to the left of the text field, tap More, and tap Send Later.

Tapback Changes

Redesigned Tapbacks

The classic set of Tapback icons are now colorful, including the heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, HA HA, exclamation marks, and question mark.

iMessage iOS 18 2

Emoji Tapbacks

You can now use any emoji or sticker as a Tapback.

iMessage iOS 18 4

Improved Visibility

It is now easier to view multiple Tapback reactions on a single message.

Text Formatting and Effects

Bold, italics, underline, and strikeout formatting is finally available for iMessages. In addition, there are all-new text effects that can animate words within an iMessage, including Big, Small, Shake, Nod, Explode, Ripple, Bloom, and Jitter.

iMessage iOS 18 1iOS 18 Text Effects iMessage

Messages via Satellite U.S. Only

iOS 18 allows you to send and receive both iMessages and SMS messages via a satellite connection, even if there is no emergency.

iOS 18 Messages via Satellite
This feature will work with messages, emoji, and Tapbacks, and all iMessages sent over satellite are secured with end-to-end encryption.

Messages via satellite is available on all iPhone 14 models and newer in the U.S. only at launch.

Hands-on demo videos show the feature in action.

RCS Support Later This Year

Apple's website says that iOS 18 will support RCS (Rich Communication Services) in the Messages app. While this feature is not enabled in the first iOS 18 beta, Apple said it will be rolled out later this year, likely by time iOS 18 is widely released.

iOS 18 WWDC SlideWWDC keynote slide confirming RCS support on iOS 18

RCS support will result in the following improvements to the default messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices:

  • Higher-resolution photos and videos
  • Audio messages
  • Typing indicators
  • Read receipts
  • Wi-Fi messaging
  • Improved group chats, including the ability for iPhone users to leave a conversation that includes Android users

SMS continues to be supported as well.

Emoji and Link Card Changes

When you send a message with only a single emoji, it now appears even larger than before.

iMessage iOS 18 Link Cards
Link cards are now more colorful, with the background better matching the linked content.

For some links, you can now choose between full-size and compact link cards, and there is an option to send a link as plain text instead.

Other Changes

Related Roundups: iOS 18, iPadOS 18
Related Forums: iOS 18, iPadOS 18

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Top Rated Comments

CapitalIdea Avatar
5 weeks ago

I guess all the genuinely cool features are only available between phones running iOS 18? ?

As for iPhones that can't update to iOS 18, and Android phones... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Correct. In related news, the new features in Microsoft Word are not available in Pages nor are they available in Word95. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EugW Avatar
5 weeks ago

RCS will be good for the American-centric audience, if you aren't already on telegram, whatsapp etc. But Apple definitely gives the impression that its all about malicious compliance for that feature, so I also dont expect anything but the bare minimum to comply with China's request
RCS is about the only thing I truly care about. I'm not in the USA, but we are their neighbour. Telegram is pretty much irrelevant here. It seems the ones that are most popular worldwide are WhatsApp, WeChat, and Messenger, in that order. (I know way, way more people on WeChat than on Telegram.)

Since RCS won't be rolled out anytime soon, I'll hold off on the beta then, since everything else in iOS 18 is at best a bonus for me, or else superfluous.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
stewy Avatar
5 weeks ago

So what if a iDevice sends a iOS 18 feature to a older iDevice that’s incapable of upgrading to iOS 18
Tim Apple recommends you buy your mom a new iPhone. :P
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Fan 2008 Avatar
5 weeks ago
I also noticed that it specifies "Text Message · SMS" when I send a text now.

Attachment Image
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gleepskip Avatar
5 weeks ago

some changes are good (eg RCS), some I don't care about, and then some make it more like an email replacement ...
Instant messaging seems to have supplanted email for personal communication.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dkh587 Avatar
5 weeks ago
Does RCS allow for us to message internationally without a charge, or will it still be counted as SMS?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)