iOS 11 and What it Means for Messages

Following the exciting debut of Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the tech giant announced a less-shiny updateits latest operating system. iOS 11, dubbed by Apple as a “giant step for iPhone,” features an array of changes that will affect iPhone users with an iPhone 5S or later.

We totally get that it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of the frequent iPhone updates. While several of the iOS 11 changes are helpful for users, we’re especially excited for what the new operating system means for the Messages app. To help you make the most out of the new features, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite iOS 11 updates to Messages.

The App Drawer

One of the first changes you’ll notice on iOS 11 is the new App Drawer. Located at the bottom of your screen in a Messages conversation, the App Drawer is a strip of app icons that makes it easier than ever before to access your favorite apps. Users can open and share content from the apps in iMessage, including music, location information, GIFs and more.

For brands, the App Drawer makes it even more convenient for customers to quickly access and send branded stickers. To learn how to get your own custom sticker pack, contact us for more information. (link)

Screen Effects

Adding to the list of iMessage screen effects that were rolled out with iOS 10, Apple introduced Spotlight and Echo with iOS 11. Both effects animate iMessages, allowing users to add expression to their texts. When a certain message shouldn’t go unnoticed, users can try the Spotlight effect to shine a light on the text. To get the attention of the friend who takes too long to respond, the Echo features lets texters send a message that appears multiple times all over the recipient’s screen.

Business Chat

Apple’s answer to the Chatbot trend, Business Chat, will soon be introduced on iMessage. Instead of searching for a customer service line or tweeting at a brand, the new tool makes it easy for customers to get in touch with brands. Through an extension of iMessage, Business Chat lets brands communicate with their customers to answer questions, schedule appointments, respond to complaints and more.

Apple Payments

Launching later this year, iMessage mobile payments will let users send and request money through the Messages app. According to TechCrunch, the new feature uses Apple Pay to transfer payments immediately using account information stored in Apple Wallet.


While it’s not technically a feature of Messages, Apple’s bitmoji announcement will undoubtedly affect the future of messaging. With the 3D TrueDepth camera from the iPhone X, users can create animated emojis based on their own face and voice. The facial recognition capabilities of the phone applies your facial features to emojis and even animates them to mimic your facial expressions.

When Apple releases updates to optimize and improve its Messages app, the platform continues to grow in popularity among iPhone users. Are you interested in learning how your brand can engage with your audience in the widely-used messaging space? Contact Smallball to find out how a custom sticker pack can put your brand into the conversation.

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