Reading and Replying to Text Messages on Your iPhone with iOS 9 - dummies

Reading and Replying to Text Messages on Your iPhone with iOS 9

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Your iPhone makes it easy to access your text messages in the blink of an eye. You can read and reply to a new message notification in many ways:

  • If your iPhone is locked when you receive a notification, slide the notification icon from left to right to launch the Messages app.

  • If your iPhone is unlocked when you receive a banner notification, swipe the gray bar at the bottom of the banner downward.

  • If your iPhone is unlocked when you receive an alert notification, tap the Reply button to reply (or the Close button to dismiss the alert).

To reply to the message with text, just type your reply in the text entry box and then tap Send.

To read or reply to a message after you’ve dismissed its notification, tap the Messages icon. If a message other than the one you’re interested in appears on the screen when you launch the Messages app, tap Messages in the top-left corner of the screen, and then tap the sender’s name; that person’s messages appear on the screen.

If you don’t see a Send button, try typing one or more characters. That action will replace the microphone icon next to the text-entry field with a Send button.

If your iPhone is a 6s model, you can press lightly on a sender’s name to peek at the message and then press harder to pop open the message as if you had tapped it. Or lift your finger after the light press and then light-press a different sender. This technique is terrific when you have lots of new iMessages, such as after a long flight. If you haven’t tried it, you should.

iOS 8 added an easy way to send voice messages instead of text. Just press and hold down the little microphone icon to the right of the text-entry field and a gray overlay appears. When you’ve finished speaking, tap the Play button to hear what you just said. Then swipe upward to send your voice message or tap the X to cancel it.

Swipe up to send your voice message or tap the X to cancel it.
Swipe up to send your voice message or tap the X to cancel it.

You can also tap the microphone key next to the space bar on the keyboard (not the one next to the text-entry field) and then speak your reply to Siri, who will translate it to text and type it in the text-entry field for you.

Your SMS conversations are saved as a series of text bubbles. Your messages appear on the right side of the screen, in blue bubbles if the recipient is using iMessage or green bubbles if he or she is using SMS/MMS; the other person’s messages appear on the left in gray bubbles.

An SMS conversation looks like this.
An SMS conversation looks like this.

Did you notice that the words “dinner Sunday” are blue instead of black and underlined? If you tap blue, underlined words, additional options appear on the screen, enabling you to create a calendar event, display the date on the calendar, or copy the event to the Clipboard (for pasting elsewhere).

Moving right along, you can delete conversations in two ways:

  • If you’re viewing the conversation: Double-tap any text bubble and then tap the More button that appears. You’ll see a little circle to the left of each text bubble. Tap a text bubble that you want to delete and a blue check mark appears in the circle. When you’ve added a blue check mark to all the text bubbles you want to delete, tap the blue trashcan icon at the bottom left of the screen. Or, to delete the entire conversation in one fell swoop, tap the blue Delete All button in the top-left corner.

    If you want to forward to another mobile phone or Apple device user all or part of a conversation (as an SMS, MMS, or iMessage message), follow the same procedure (that is, double-tap a text bubble, tap More, and then tap the text bubbles that you want to forward).

    Now, instead of tapping the blue trashcan at the bottom left of the screen, tap the blue arrow at the bottom right of the screen. The contents of the text bubbles with check marks will be copied to a new text message; specify a recipient and then tap Send.

  • If you’re viewing the list of text messages: Tap the Edit button at the top left of the Messages list, and a circle appears to the left of each conversation. Tap the circle for each conversation you want to delete, and then tap the Delete button at the bottom right to delete those conversations.

You can now tell Messages to either keep messages forever or automatically delete them after 30 days or one year. For details, see the article on iPhone smart messaging tricks.