8 things iMessage could learn from WhatsApp

iMessage’s blue bubbles are very popular among iPhone users and even though the application has seen some amazing updates in recent years including message reactions, a variety of share effects and screens, there are still ways in which iMessage could be more efficient and create an all encompassing experience for the user.

Replies — There are many times personal or group chats where there’s a need to reply to or emphasize a message. In WhatsApp this is seamless. Messages can be swiped right (iOS) and just commented underneath. This is a nifty feature that could enhance the iMessage experience.

Favorites — The favorites feature is a very powerful but underrated one. On WhatsApp you long press a message and there’s an option to fave it. This message can eventually be found under favorites section of the chat options. This is very useful for directions or menus or anything really that can be easily buried away in the conversation.

Search — Searching on iMessage is terrible. One would expect it to sort results by conversations and time but it doesn’t. It just struggles to find instances of the search query and it does a pretty terrible job still. The search on WhatsApp feels like deep search and it really digs deep with an endless supply of results for as long the search query exists. It even goes one step further and allows you search individual chats and the results are highlighted as you would expect in say a web browser.

Pin Messages — Like many people, I’m guilty of leaving a ton of messages unread. In WhatsApp, to avoid infinitely scrolling to catch up with those closest to me, I pin their messages to the top of the pile. This allows me to always have them in view whenever the app is launched. I don’t have as many conversations going on iMessage but I’m pretty certain there’s a few people that could use this feature because of how often they use their iMessage.

Format Styles — Bold, Italicize, Strikethrough and maybe Underline. The ability to format text like this already exists in the notes app on iOS (except strikethrough). Its impact in a conversation can turn a boring text into a lively, thought out one. It could also serve as a means to properly format movie titles and book titles etc for those who OCD like that.

Export — iMessage takes a ton of space especially for users who include gifs, bitmoji and recently animoji. An option to export messages and clear chat history to make room on the phone isn’t a bad idea. This is a really nifty WhatsApp feature that lets the user recreate space on their device time and time again.

Archive — Swipe to archive works for me like the opposite of message pinning. Some conversations need to be tucked away without necessarily being deleted. This is where archiving comes in. They’re kept out of the message timeline safely away from the rest of the conversation. The longer they stay there, the greater the reason to probably delete them for good since they’re just taking space anyway.

Mark as unread — Often times I glance at a message and feel the need to mark is as unread especially when I can’t get back to the sender and need to keep the blue dot in place to remind me I have an unread message. This is really helpful and is entirely nonexistent in iMessage even though one can as easily mark messages unread in the default mail app.

In all, WhatsApp seems like an all round better messenger than Apple’s default. And for everything WhatsApp seems to lack in sending messages with effects, hearting messages or liking them, it more than makes up for in functionality.