iMessage (Messaging Service)

iMessage is a messaging service for exchanging text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Texts, multimedia messages and even your location on the map can be shared with persons or groups. iMessage also supports video chats.

iMessage

iMessages are automatically pushed to all iOS 5 (and later) devices, so you can go on with your chats anywhere any time. When sent to a non-Apple device, an iMessage is converted into SMS. iMessages appear in blue bubbles in the right side of the screen unlike the text messages which come green. Like many other messengers it requires an access to the Internet either Wi-Fi or mobile (3G, 4G). For Mac and iPads, you log in with your Apple ID. To receive messages sent to your iPhone, add the number to your Mac or iPad.

iMessage is very comfy in use. You can see if your iMessages have been delivered or read or if a contact in your list is typing right now. End-to-end encryption ensures nobody can wiretap your communication via iMessage and decrypt the texts while they’re in transit. Nobody means nobody, Apple engineers included. iMessages can be saved in iCloud Backup and retrieved from it if needed, but a user can turn off this option.

Unlike other messengers iMessage got its own batch of Apps, Games and Stickers available in the iMessage Apps Store. The store in question as well as iMessage Service, and Messages framework come in a bundle with iOS 10 and macOS Sierra onwards. iMessage Apps can be created as standalone iMessage apps or as an extension to the existing iOS apps. No coding needed to create Standalone Stickers iMessage App as well. Speaking of which, these stickers often feature pop-culture icons like Super Mario from the famous Nintendo game or Pac-man. With iMessage Apps a user can look up the weather forecast, book a hotel or a table in a restaurant and even pay the contacts.

Features:

  • Announced on: June 6, 2011.
  • Introduced on: October 12, 2011.
  • Supported operating systems: iOS 5 or later, OS X Mountain Lion or later, watchOS.
  • Crossover: PieMessage (under development).
  • Android support: SMS only.
  • Windows support: no.
  • Supported messages type: texts, photos, videos, documents, contacts, group messages.
  • Group chat support: yes.
  • Video chat support: yes.
  • Networks: Wi-Fi, mobile phone Internet.
  • Special features: delivery and read receipts, typing indication, secure end-to-end encryption.

How to send an iMessage if the network is down?

  • Tap and hold the text message until the menu appears.
  • Select Send as text Message option.

or

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Activate Send as SMS.

How to retrieve Deleted iMessages or Texts?

  1. Login to https://icloud.com with your Apple ID and password.
  2. Click on Text Messages (make sure you’ve turned on the backup option in your iMessage or the entry won’t be there).
  3. Go to your iPhone and choose Settings, iCloud.
  4. Turn off Text Messages.
  5. Select: Keep on My iPhone in a pop-up menu.
  6. Turn back on text messages.
  7. Tap Merge, and wait. It usually takes the deleted text messages a few minutes to appear back on your iPhone.

How to send and share location with iMessage for iPhone and iPad?

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you’d like to send your location.
  3. Tap on Details in the upper right hand corner.
  4. Tap on Send My Current Location.

How to send and share up-to-the-minute location with iMessage for iPhone and iPad?

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Tap on the conversation in which you’d like to share your location. It can be with an individual person or with a group, as long as everyone in it is using iMessage.
  3. Tap on Details in the upper right hand corner.
  4. Tap on Share My Location.
  5. Choose the duration for which you’d like to share your location. The app will set up a temporary or permanent Find my Friends session.

Miscellanea

The iMessage protocol is based on the Apple Push Notification Service (APNs)—a proprietary, binary protocol to set up a Keep-Alive connection with the Apple servers. Every connection features its own unique code, which acts as an identifier for the route that should be used to send a message to a specific device. The connection is encrypted with a client side certificate, that is requested by the device on the activation of iMessage.

Android phones therefore are left in the cold. The only iMessage app for Android called PieMessage, can’t support group chats and iMessages Apps. Besides, you still need a running Mac desktop or laptop to work as an iMessage server for your Android cell.

Yet, the end-to-end encryption does not guarantee 100% security against social engineering and man-in-the-middle-attack. Since the security system does not provide reliable authentication of the contacts, there’s no way to say if the person you’re messaging with is not an impostor.

List of Most Useful iMessage Apps

Circle Pay

Sends money through iMessages. Works with a debit card tethered to the app. No fees, no currencies’ restrictions. Dollars, euros, pound sterling, and even bitcoins are sent directly to anyone inside of iMessage. With the app one can also cash out with almost every bank in the United States and United Kingdom.

OpenTable

Books the table in the restaurant. Allows to send the list of restaurants and cafes to the group. Group members can vote for the favorite place to go.

Genius: Song Lyrics & Music Knowledge

Finds lyrics to the songs, allows to highlight words and lines and put them into messages. Lyrics can be shared with the contacts list as well.

Links

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