Sending visual effects with your iMessages

Last modified
Sunday, February 26, 2017

With the release of iOS 10, Apple introduced new visual effects that you can attatch to iMessages, to enhance the experience. Some of you may be asking "why would I want to send visual effects"? The short answer is because it's fun, and the great news is that Apple has made the process fully accessible, and when someone sends you a message with a full-screen effect, VoiceOver reads a full description of what's happening on the screen right as it happens. I won't go into all the effects you can send, but I will focus on full-screen ones. You can investigate and find some others on your own. Please note that 3d touch must be enabled for this to work so if you don't have that turned on, head on over to the accessibility settings and enable it. The fastest way I've found to do this is to ask Siri to open the accessibility settings, but if you want to do this manually, that's certainly fine. Update: If your device doesn't support 3d touch, you can still have fun with these effects. Now that you've taken care of that, lets learn how to do this. 1. Create a new message or go to an existing conversation within the messages app. 2. Type any message you like, it can be something as simple as an Emogy or something simple like "hello". 3. Now double-tap and hold on the send button and hold it down for a few seconds. You should hear the normal sound when you double-tap and hold an element down. VoiceOver will say, 3d touch to add effect. If you don't have 3d touch on your device, double-tap and hold for a few seconds and the same menu will pop up, note I haven't tested this so your mileage may vary. Now, swipe to the left and you *should see a few different types of buttons, from right to left you should hear loud, slam, screen, and bubble. Bubble will most likely be selected. In this case, we want to send a full-screen effect, so swipe to the button that says screen, and double tap on that. VoiceOver should now say, send with effect. If you swipe to the right, you will find the usual set of buttons, but screen will now be selected, and balloons will be the effect that's selected. You can double-tap on the button to send your message with balloons. Don't want balloons? You can keep swiping to the right, and you'll find a close button, followed by a list of different effects, VoiceOver will say these are pages. Swipe up and down to choose an effect. You have a choice of balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks, and shooting star. When you've found the effect you want, swipe to the left past the close button and you'll land on a send button, along with the effect you've chosen i.e. If you've chosen lasers, the button will say, "send with lasers". So go ahead and double-tap on that and your message will send with the effect you've chosen. When your friend opens the message, the full-screen effect will happen and VoiceOver will describe the effect right as it happens. Want to replay the effect? No problem, you'll find a replay button next to the message so you can replay it as many times as you want. Apple even has some messages with pre-programmed full-screen effects. if you text the phrase "happy birthday, the person receiving the message will see the full-screen effect of balloons. Unfortunately this only works with other iPhone users, so if you have a friend with an Android phone, they'll miss out on the fun. I hope this little guide has helped bspice up your iMessages a bit. You will soon find reasons to text people, just so you can try out the different effects. I think it's so cool that Apple has found ways for blind people to send these effects too, and they are fully-accessible to VoiceOver users! Happy iMessaging!


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Submitted by TJT 2001 on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It is still possible to send these effects if your device does not have 3D Touch. Instead of 3D-touching the Send button, you should double-tap and hold on it.

In iOS 10.2, a celebration effect will also be available.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Thanks for the addition, i'll add this to the guide when the hour isn't so late at night. :)

Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nicely done I think I read that Happy Birthday messages will automaticly be sent with balloons, and congratulation messages with fireworks although I have not tested this.

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hello. I have a couple small questions.

1. How do you get to the sticker packs?
2. Are they accessible?
3. How to send them?

Im just curious.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Not really sure about the stickers but I will investigate. The accessibility of some of them is better than others, as I've received some from friends of mine and VoiceOver read some of them but not others.

Submitted by gailisaiah on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hi Toonhead! Thanks for taking the time to tell us about these. I'll give them a try.

Submitted by That Blind Canuck on Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How exactly do you get to the stickers in iMessage? I've done it once before, and as indicated, some were labeled fine and some weren't, but that is up to the group who created the stickers to label them properly. I know that iMore has released stickers and have labeled them properly, and their free, so I got them.

I once was able to find the stickers and add one but after downloading the iMore stickers, I can't for the life of me figure out how to get back there and find these stickers. Based on what I have read, you open a iMessage conversation and select the Messaging Apps button, but most of the images I find all say "Meme". I can't even find the stickers I once had who were labeled correctly.

So any help on the correct steps to get to the stickers and view them would be greatly appreciated!

Submitted by Will on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

hi, for me in ios 10,1 i had to tap messaging apps in my immessage, to find the slam, scream and screen buttons but still great guide. holding the send button, does not work on an iphone 6 will ask my wife to try it on her 6 s, but do appreciate the guide. is there also a guide on other messaging apps on applevis? what are they and how can they be used, etc?

Submitted by That Blind Canuck on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Will, You can access the effects by doing a single finger double tap and hold on the Send button. Prior to iOS 10.1, you had to disable Recude Motion in order for this gesture to work but in iOS 10.1 they introduced a new setting under Reduce Motion that allows you to keep Reduce Motion enabled but still allow effects to work.

Submitted by mendi on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Anyone figured out yet if stickers are accessible and if so which ones? Also, has there been any improvement with digital touch? Obviously, things like drawing would not be accessible and I wouldn't expect that, but there are some default touches such as a single tap that taps someone, tap and hold for a fireball, etc, that are standard, and I didn't know if those have yet been made accessible or if they still just say "digital touch" when received.

Submitted by DPinWI on Thursday, November 10, 2016

The new effects are fun, but I have issues with them. On my lock screen, a message with effects is not read. Instead, I hear the effects type. I have to click on the message, unlock the phone, and go into the app to find out what was said to me.
Further, someone sent me a message with invisible ink. I could not find a way to have voice over read it to me.

So, while the effects can be fun, be aware that they may present some access issues to some recipients.

Submitted by mendi on Thursday, November 10, 2016

You can read the invisible ink messages. You just have to double tap,, hold, and scrub to make it visible. Admittedly, it is one of the more difficult effects to get around, but I think that is by design, as I'm sure even a sighted person has to rub the invisible ink to make it appear.