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Smartphones & gadgets

Use these codewords to create secret iMessage effects

If you’re not Zooming, you’re calling. And if you’re not calling, you’re messaging to stay in touch with friends, family and coworkers.

Texting makes staying in contact easy, whether you and your recipients are across the globe or across town. But it can also get pretty boring to have the same “How are you?” conversation day after day. Tap or click to reveal 12 iPhone texting tips you’ll wish you knew sooner.

You can bring some flair to your messages with emojis and GIFs, and if you have an iPhone, you can go even further with secret screen effects in iMessage. We’ll show you how it works.

What are iMessage screen effects?

Screen effects are an easy way to send a fun animation. Think balloons, fireworks, lasers, and lots of confetti.

To initiate a screen effect merely type a codeword into a message. You can also long-press down on the send button after you have written a normal iMessage, but where’s the fun in that?

Note: Screen effects will only work if your recipient uses an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac. Sorry Android users. Tap or click learn how you can move from iPhone to Android or vice versa.

Types of iMessage screen effects

The following codewords will cause a screen effect to occur once you tap send.

  • “Happy Birthday” fills the screen with floating balloons
  • “Congratulations” or “Selamat” brings a rain of confetti
  • “Happy New Year” for a rush of fireworks
  • “Happy Chinese New Year” for a red and gold explosion
  • “Pew pew” starts a color-changing laser light show

As we mentioned before, a second way to create a screen effect is to long-press on the send button after you’ve typed a message. These “Send With” options include:

  • Echo: Fills the screen with message bubbles
  • Spotlight: Puts a spotlight on your message
  • Balloons: Balloons float up and across the screen
  • Confetti: A shower of confetti
  • Love: A giant heart inflates from your message
  • Lasers: A colorful laser light show
  • Fireworks: Fireworks explode
  • Shooting star: A star shoots across the screen
  • Celebration: A gold fireworks show appears on a red background

You may also like: Discover how to tell if someone read your text.

How to trigger a screen effect

To initiate a screen effect with a secret code, type one of the above codewords without quotes into a new or existing iMessage thread. Capitalization doesn’t matter. Tap send and the corresponding effect will begin immediately. Don’t include any other text — that prevents the effect from initializing.

To trigger a screen effect using the send button:

  • Create your message. It can include text, emojis or Memojis. When you’re done, hold down the send button to open a screen where you can either choose to send your message with a bubble effect or screen effect.
  • Select Screen with a quick left swipe to see all your options.
  • Once you have chosen your desired effect, tap the send button as you normally would to send your message.

Effects will stop after one animation cycle, but you and your recipients should see a replay button under each iMessage sent with a screen effect. Tap it to see the animation again. Fun!

Texting isn’t going anywhere, so you might as well make it fun. Try these effects and find a new favorite! Just be careful not to use them too much, or your friends and family won’t think it’s very fun.

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