Are you planning an event? Keeping in touch with friends? Heading up a team project at work? We often need a way to communicate with many people at once. Fortunately, iMessage group chat lets you do just that.
iMessage lets you send texts, photos, audio clips, and videos—whatever you need to get your message across! In an iMessage group chat, multiple people can receive and reply to these messages all in the same conversation.
All you need is an Apple ID account, Internet access, and an Apple device.
Follow these quick tips to create and send group messages on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:
- Check MMS messaging is turned on for texts to non-Apple devices. Go to Settings > Messages and toggle on MMS Messaging.
- Open the Messages app and create a new message.
- In the To: field, enter all the recipients or tap the Add (+) icon to select them from a list of contacts.
- Type your message and tap the arrow to send it.
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What Is a Group iMessage, According to Apple?
Group messages are confusing, especially when you add iMessage to the mix! Here are what Apple considers to be the three types of group messages:
- Group iMessage: All messages are sent from Apple devices using an Apple ID with iMessage turned on. iMessage supports photos and videos as well as texts.
- Group MMS: Participants send messages from a mix of Apple devices and non-Apple devices. Like iMessage, Group MMS also supports photos and videos as well as texts.
- Group SMS: Group participants send messages from all types of devices without any multimedia support. Messages are sent as individual texts and people do not see responses from the group as a whole.
Apple Only Fully Supports Group iMessage Chats
Yes, that’s right! While it’s possible to use any type of group chat, your iPhone only truly supports iMessage-only group conversations. This is where all participants use Apple devices and the messages appear in blue bubbles.
Only iMessage group chats let you name a group, add or remove people, send inline replies, or leave the group.
You can tell the difference between an iMessage group chat versus an MMS or SMS group chat by the message colors. If all the message bubbles are blue, then you’re using iMessage. MMS and SMS messages appear in green.
How to Create an iMessage Group Chat
First things first, let’s create a group chat.
Ideally, everyone you want to contact has an Apple device allowing them to use iMessage. If not, you’re limited to SMS or MMS groups, which your carrier might charge you to use.
Either way, the group chat creation process is the same.
- Open the Messages app on your Apple device of choice.
- Tap the Pencil icon to compose a new message.
- In the To: field, type the name, number, or email address of everyone you want to add to the group. Or tap the Add (+) icon and find them in your contacts list.
- As you add contacts, their names appear in blue or green.
- Blue means they have access to iMessage.
- Green means they’re limited to MMS or SMS.
- With your list of contacts added, type a message and tap the send icon to create the group. Everyone you added can read and reply to the message.
The maximum number of people you can add may be restricted by your cell carrier.
We created a group of over 25 people as a test, but other users have been limited to 10 or 20 members.
Mention People in Group Chats
With the release of iOS 14, Apple made it possible to mention people in your iMessage group chats, to make sure they see the message.
To do this, type the @ symbol, followed by that person’s name in your message. Their name appears blue or bold when you do so.
You can also type a person’s name without the @ symbol, then tap the name and select that person before sending your message.
If that person has the conversation muted, they might still get a notification if you mention them in a message.
Inline Replies or Threads in Group Chats
The release of iOS 14 also made it possible to respond to particular messages in your group chat. This response breaks off into a separate thread, effectively allowing you to separate different conversations in the same chat.
To start an inline reply, tap and hold on the original message and choose Reply. Then type your message to create the thread.
Inline replies appear with a line linking them to previous messages in that thread. You can also see the message they’re replying to in a clear bubble.
To continue an existing inline reply, tap the latest message to see all the messages in that thread together. Then type and send a new message as you normally would.
Alternatively, scroll up and tap on the original message, which tells you the number of replies there are to that message.
How to Name a Group Chat in the Messages App
Now you know how to create iMessage group chats, you’re going to want to learn how to name them.
Remember you can only name a group iMessage. You can’t name a group SMS or MMS conversation.
Unlike other group iMessage features like Leave this Conversation and Remove a Member, which require a minimum of 4 total members, you can name a group that has only two people. And of course, anything above two works as well!
You can also create a custom icon to use for your group chat!
Think Up a Memorable Group Name
It’s simple enough to see who you’re talking to in one-on-one conversations, but group chats and their various configurations can be tough to keep track of.
By default, the group is named after all of the members, causing it to quickly run off the edge of a screen.
This is particularly confusing if you have multiple groups with slightly different members.
A better option is to change the name to something relevant, such as Work Buddies or Cinema Club. Just keep in mind that any name you choose is visible to everyone in the group!
Change the Group Name and Image in iMessage
- Open the group chat in the Messages app.
- Tap the profile pictures or group chat image at the top of the screen,
- Tap Info > Change Name and Photo.
- Type a group name at the top of the screen.
- Scroll down to select a preselected group chat image or tap one of the four icons at the top to create your own:
- Camera: Take a photo using your camera.
- Photos: Select a photo from your photo library.
- Emoji: Use an Emoji and choose a background color.
- Pencil: Type two letters and choose a background color.
- Tap Done to save your group chat name and image. This changes it for everyone in the group.
Can’t Change the Group Chat Name?
If you don’t see an option to change your group chat name, it’s likely your group includes people who aren’t using iMessage. This would mean you can’t use iMessage group chat and revert to MMS or SMS group chats instead.
This might happen if people are using non-Apple devices or aren’t signed in to iMessage on their Apple device.
How to Add Someone to an Existing iMessage Group
It’s common to need to add new members as your group chat develops.
Perhaps you didn’t have the contact details for someone initially, or maybe the focus of the group has shifted to include more people.
Either way, you can add new people to the chat at any time.
Add New Members to a Group iMessage Chat
- Open the group chat in iMessage and tap the group chat image at the top of the screen.
- Tap Info, then scroll down and select Add Contact.
- Then enter the contact details for someone or tap the Add (+) icon to select them from your contacts list.
- After entering the group, new members can’t see any previous messages, but they can receive and reply to any new ones.
How to Remove Someone From an iMessage Group
Eventually, you may want to remove people from your iMessage group chats. This could be because you added them by mistake or because they became disruptive to the group.
Whatever the reason, it’s easy to give them the boot.
You can only remove users if there are more than two other members to begin with. Otherwise, you may as well just message the remaining person separately.
- Open the group chat in iMessage and tap the group chat image at the top of the screen.
- Tap Info to view all your group members.
- Slide left on the person you want to kick out and tap Remove.
- After doing so, the removed person is notified that they have “Left the Conversation”. They won’t be able to send or receive messages with that group unless you add them again.
How to Mute Notifications
If the group conversation is lighting up you may want to mute your notifications for a while.
This could be the case if you can’t respond right away. Or perhaps you’re just sick of hearing your ringtone so much.
You can mute notifications for any conversation in the Apple Messages app using one of the two methods below:
- Swipe left on the group chat name from your list of conversations in the Messages app. This presents you with the option to Hide Alerts.
- Alternatively, open the Info page inside a group chat. Then scroll down and enable the Hide Alerts option.
A moon icon appears next to muted conversations.
You can still read and reply to messages, but you won’t receive notifications for that chat anymore.
Make sure you don’t neglect a group after turning the alerts off. You can switch them back on at any time by following the same steps above to Show Alerts.
How to Leave a Group Chat
Eventually, you’ll probably stop using more group chats.
It could be that the purpose behind its creation has passed or simply that you’ve had enough of the barrage of messages to keep up with.
If you want to leave a group chat, you need to visit the group chat Info page a final time.
- Open Messages and select the group chat conversation.
- Tap the profile image at the top of the screen, then tap Info.
- Scroll down and choose to Leave this Conversation.
You can only leave conversations with three or more people in them. Doing so notifies the other members you left and stops you from receiving any more messages from that group.
See this in-depth article for more information on leaving group chats.
You should be very comfortable using iMessage group chat by now!
However, if you do find yourself with any questions or if it isn’t working as expected, make sure to let us know in the comments and we’ll be sure to help out.
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