Basics of Multimedia Messages on Your iPhone - dummies

Basics of Multimedia Messages on Your iPhone

By Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

You can take stunning photos and video with your iPhone, but what fun is it to keep them to yourself? MMS is a quick way to share your artistic expression and memories with the folks you know.

How to capture and send a video or photo on your iPhone

Say you’ve spent all day working in the garden and want to send a photo of your new flowers to your sister. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Messages on the Home screen, and then tap the Compose button.

  2. Fill in the To field.

    If your recipient uses iOS 5 or later, your MMS may be sent with iMessage if the iMessage requirements are met.

  3. Tap the Camera button.

    Three buttons appear — Take Photo or Video, Choose Existing, and Cancel.


  4. Tap Take Photo or Video to open the camera and then tap the Camera button at the bottom of the screen.

    The photo, or video, is taken and a Preview screen opens. You have the option of retaking the photo, by tapping Retake in the lower left corner, or using the photo, by tapping Use Photo in the lower right corner.

  5. If you don’t like the photo, tap Retake and try again, and again, and again until you have a photo or video you like.

  6. When you take a photo you like, tap Use Photo.

    Messages opens and, your photo or video is in the Text field and the cursor blinking under the image.

  7. Type your message and tap Send.

    You see a Sending progress bar and you hear the whoop that lets you know the message has been sent.


If the Camera button is grayed and inactive, make sure MMS Messaging is On in Messages Settings. You can still send photos and video with iMessage when MMS Messaging is Off.

How to copy and send existing videos, photos, and voice memos on your iPhone

Sometimes you already have a multimedia file — that is a photo, video, or voice memo — on your iPhone. There are two ways to send that file via MMS. Your first option is from within Messages; the second option is from the Photos or Voice Memos apps. The procedure is virtually the same, only your point of departure changes:

  • Tap Messages on the Home screen. Tap the Compose button and address your message as explained previously or tap a message exchange that’s already initiated with someone. Tap the Camera button to the left of the Text field. A screen appears asking if you want to Take Photo or Video or Choose Existing.

    Tap Choose Existing and the Albums screen opens showing a list of your Albums. Tap the Album where the photo or video you wish to send resides, and then tap the photo or video you want to send. A Preview screen opens, allowing you to choose that image or cancel.

    Tap Choose and you return to the New Message screen; tap Cancel and you can choose a different photo. Add a written message. When the message is ready, tap Send.

  • To send directly from the Photos app, tap Photos on the Home screen. Tap Photos at the bottom of the screen to see all your Collections or tap Albums to view the Albums list.

    Tap the Collection or Album that contains the video or photo you want to send, and then tap the photo or video you want to send. Two icons appear at the bottom of the screen. Tap the Action button, which is on the lower left, and tap the Message button on the Share Sheet. A New Message screen opens. Address, write, and send your message as previously explained.


  • To send a recording from Voice Memos, tap Voice Memos on the Home screen. Tap the memo you want to send. Tap the Action button and then tap the Message button. The New Message screen opens. Address the message and type in an accompanying message in the Text field, and then tap Send.

One message to 25 recipients doesn’t count as one message but 25 messages, so keep your plan in mind when doing group sends to avoid unpleasant end-of-the-month invoice surprises. And remember iMessage messages don’t count toward text messaging limits because they travel over the cellular data or Wi-Fi airwaves, whichever is available.

How to sending map locations, web page links, and more on your iPhone

The Share Sheet, is accessible from many iPhone apps. You find it in Maps by tapping Share at the top of a Location information screen, in Share a web Page from Safari, or in a note in Notes by tapping the Action button.

Likewise, to share a great new find from the iTunes Store or an interesting interview from Podcasts, the Action button opens the Share Sheet. Tapping Messages opens a New Message with the link to whatever it is you want to share. Address the message and tap Send.


Receiving links to locations or websites is just as easy as sending them. If you receive messages that have URLs embedded in them, the links are active, which means you can just tap them, right in the message, and Safari opens to the linked page or Maps to the location or iTunes to the album, and so on.