iMessage Has Emoji-Related Bug Dating Back Several iOS Versions

Apple released iOS 11.2.1 on Wednesday with multiple bug fixes, but an emoji-related issue continues to affect the Messages app on iOS devices.


The bug happens as follows: start a fresh conversation with a new recipient in the Messages app, send a single emoji as the first message, and the entire interface will essentially go blank with the top menu disappearing.

The glitch effectively renders the Messages app unusable until it is force closed and reopened through the multitasking menu.

The bug has affected most iPhone, iPad, and likely iPod touch models since at least iOS 11.1.2. MacRumors is able to reproduce the issue on iOS 11.2, iOS 11.2.1, and the first iOS 11.2.5 beta released yesterday.

The issue is prevalent in both iMessage conversations with blue bubbles and SMS conversations with green bubbles.

While this bug is a minor one, it adds to a growing list of issues that have surfaced over the past several versions of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, including a major Mac vulnerability that provided easy access to the root superuser.

Beyond the root bug, Apple has also dealt with a HomeKit-related vulnerability, an iPhone camera autofocus issue, iOS autocorrect bugs, and iPhone X glitches in cold weather, among other problems, in recent weeks.

We've alerted Apple about this bug shortly prior to publishing this article and we'll provide an update if and when we learn about a fix.


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Android App ‘weMessage’ Lets You Get iMessages on Your Android Smartphone With a Mac

There's no official way to get iMessages on a non-iOS device like an Android smartphone, but a new Android app aims to provide a workaround, at least temporarily. weMessage is designed to allow you to get iMessages on an Android device, but for it to work, a Mac is required.

weMessage uses a weServer app on a Mac, which takes iMessages that are delivered to a Mac and forwards them to an Android smartphone or tablet. As described by the developer on reddit, the weServer app acts as a bridge between a Mac and an Android device, using Accessibility features to tap into Apple's Messages app for the Mac.

weMessage works by using Apple's developer tools that hook into the Messages app, as well as by turning on Accessibility features that will perform the message sending. There was zero reverse engineering involved in the creation of this app, so all messages being sent are legitimate. In addition, I believe this implementation is fair, as you still need to have an Apple device to use iMessage, but it is merely being extended to all devices.
According to the developer, all iMessage features are supported, including group chats, attachments, notifications, Do Not Disturb, content blocking, and more, with notifications enabled by sending messages to the Google Firebase platform.


Unfortunately, while this appears to be a solid attempt at routing iMessages to an Android device based on reddit comments, this is not an app that's likely to last. Similar apps and methods of forwarding iMessages to Android devices have popped up in the past, but have been shut down by Apple.

It's likely Apple will require the developer to shutter the app, and it may soon be removed from the Google Play Store, but in the meantime, it's available for any Android users who also have a Mac and want to experiment with iMessage.

There have been rumors suggesting Apple has considered an iMessage app for Android devices, and Apple even reportedly created detailed mockups of what such an app might look like, but there has not been concrete evidence that an Android iMessage app has ever been in the works.

Apple execs are said to believe that iMessage, as a "superior messaging platform," helps to spur iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales, suggesting iMessage is not likely to expand beyond Apple's devices anytime soon.

The developer behind weMessage was originally charging $2.99, but it's now available to download for free.


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macOS High Sierra Users Report Significant Delays Receiving iMessages and SMS Texts

A bug in macOS High Sierra is causing users to receive iMessages and SMS texts on Macs and other iCloud-connected devices long after they were originally sent, according to reports that have been gradually building up over the last week or so.

First spotted by AppleInsider, a growing number of complaints on Apple's support forums detail the issue, which is affecting Mac owners with iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches. The issue has also been picked up on MacRumors' forums, while at least one MacRumors staff member has experienced the same problem.


On updating to macOS High Sierra, some users report that iMessages only appear on their Mac after a long delay compared to their iPads and iPhones. Others have noticed that notifications are not coming through at all on other devices connected to the same iCloud account.

Some contributors to Apple's support forum and the MacRumors forum have suggested a couple of temporary fixes, including disabling and re-enabling messages, or sending messages on a Mac instead of an iOS device. Recent beta versions of macOS High Sierra don't appear to solve the problem, making reverting to macOS Sierra the only persistent workaround. Meanwhile, a community bug report has been created to alert Apple to the issue.

There's some speculation that the bug could be related to changes to the way iMessages function behind the scenes. Apple is working to bring iCloud syncing to iMessage in macOS High Sierra and iOS 11, so that deleting a message on one device removes it from all devices linked to the same account, for example. The advertised feature was pulled when the two operating systems were launched, but Apple hopes to introduce it later this fall.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Amazon Drive Users Can Now Easily Share Files as iMessages

Amazon Drive's iOS app has been updated with an iMessage app extension to easily share files in the Messages app on iPhone and iPad.


After updating to version 1.9.0 of the app, Amazon Drive users can simply open Messages, tap the App Store logo to reveal the iMessage app drawer, and tap on the Amazon Drive icon. From the list of directories that appears, users can then select an individual file to share as an attachment bubble.

The recipient can tap on the attachment and view or save the file directly on the Amazon Drive website, with no access to other files.

YouTube also updated its iOS app this week with an iMessage app extension to easily search for and share videos in Messages.

Amazon Drive is available on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad.


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How to Use the Redesigned Messages App Drawer in iOS 11

In iOS 10, Apple introduced the Messages App Store, allowing users to jump into miniature versions of their favorite apps so they could do things like choose a movie time, send their location, pay a friend, give a recommendation from Apple Music, and attach stickers. With the launch of iOS 11, the app drawer and selection experience of Messages apps have been streamlined, and this guide will walk you through the fastest way to access your favorite apps, organize them, and add more from the Messages App Store.

Navigating the New App Drawer in Messages


  1. Open Messages.

  2. Choose a contact to text.

  3. At the bottom of the screen sits the new app drawer, and you can tap one to bring it up or scroll to dive deeper into your collection.

From here, apps within Messages function essentially the same as they did in iOS 10: the bottom half of the screen represents the app, which you can interact with and send content into the upper half section of the screen in the form of an iMessage. A small chevron sitting just below the text entry field can be tapped to expand the Messages app to full screen, and tapped again to reduce it.

If you ever accidentally leave the app by tapping the text field, simply tap the App Store icon to the left of the text field. Conversely, if you're inside of a Messages app and want to make it and the app drawer disappear, tap the same App Store icon to the left of the text field (it'll be blue when the app drawer is open) to make the app disappear (returning the icon to gray).

Editing the New App Drawer in Messages


  1. Navigate to the app drawer in Messages.

  2. Scroll the drawer all the way to the right and tap the ellipses, or "More," icon.

  3. Tap "Edit."

  4. On the right side, choose any installed app you want or don't want in your Messages app drawer by tapping the green toggles.

  5. On the left side, tap the green "+" icon next to any app you want as a favorite.

  6. Tap "Done."

Now that your app drawer is fully customized, your favorites will appear on the far left side of the drawer, and any other apps you have toggled on will appear after your favorites. Any time you want to search for more, you can tap the blue App Store icon sitting to the left of your favorites to visit the Messages App Store. There are numerous standalone Messages apps, but many popular apps have also been updated over the past year to include Messages support.

For this reason, it's easy for your app drawer to become crowded, making the deeper editing and favoriting options in iOS 11 a welcome addition.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: iMessage

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Changes to iCloud Put Apple on Collision Course With Governments Seeking Access to Encrypted Messages

Apple has sent its top privacy executives to Australia twice in the past month to lobby government officials over proposed new laws that would require companies to provide access to encrypted messages.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Apple privacy advocates met with attorney general George Brandis and senior staff in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's office on Tuesday to discuss their concerns about the legal changes, which could compel tech companies to provide decryption keys to allow access to secure communications such as that provided by WhatsApp and iMessage.

Apple has consistently argued against laws that would require tech companies to build so-called "back doors" into their software, claiming that such a move would weaken security for everyone and simply make terrorists and criminals turn to open-source encryption methods for their digital communications.

While Apple's position is clear, the Turnbull government has yet to clarify exactly what it expects tech companies to give up as part of the proposals. A source familiar with the discussions said that the government explicitly said it did not want a back door into people's phones, nor to weaken encryption.

However, given that encrypted services like WhatsApp and iMessage do not possess private keys that would enable them to decrypt messages, a back door would seem the only alternative. "If the government laid a subpoena to get iMessages, we can't provide it," CEO Tim Cook said in 2014. "It's encrypted and we don't have a key."

As it happens, Cook's comment only applies to iMessages that aren't backed up to the cloud: Apple doesn't have access to messages sent between devices because they're end-to-end encrypted, but if iCloud Backup is enabled those messages are encrypted on Apple's servers using an encryption key that the company has access to and could potentially provide to authorities.

However, Apple is moving in the same direction as WhatsApp and Telegram to make encryption keys entirely private. As announced at WWDC in June, macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 will synchronize iMessages across devices signed into the same account using iCloud and a new encryption method that ensures the keys stay out of Apple's hands.

As senior VP of software Craig Federighi noted in interview with Daring Fireball's John Gruber, even if users store information in the cloud, "it's encrypted with keys that Apple doesn't have. And so they can put things in the cloud, they can pull stuff down from the cloud, so the cloud still serves as a conduit — and even ultimately a kind of a backup for them — but only they can read it."

How this will play out in Apple's discussions with the Australian government – and indeed other governments in the "Five Eyes" intelligence sharing network seeking similar access to encrypted communications – is anything but clear. According to sources, Apple and the Turnbull government are taking a collaborative approach in the discussions, but previous statements by officials imply a tougher stance behind the scenes.

Last week, Senator Brandis said the Australian government would work with companies such as Apple to facilitate greater access to secure communications, but warned that "we'll also ensure that the appropriate legal powers, if need be, as a last resort, coercive powers of the kind that recently were introduced into the United Kingdom under the Investigatory Powers Act... are available to Australian intelligence and law enforcement authorities as well".

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple Launches Business Chat in iOS 11 Developer Preview

Apple revealed more details of its new Business Chat feature for iMessage at a WWDC developer preview on Friday. Coming in iOS 11, Business Chat allows real customer service representatives to communicate directly with users, making the feature separate from existing AI chat bot systems.

Users send the first message to start a Business Chat conversation by tapping Message icons that appear beside the names of businesses in Spotlight searches, Siri, and Maps, or by scanning a relevant QR code with their phone's camera. These actions switch them into the Messages app, where the business can offer products for sale, provide appointment scheduling options, and send notifications to customers in the related chat thread, among other services.


In addition to connecting the user with a business, the Message icons or QR codes can carry specific information that links the user with a particular geographic location, or a related product or service, and can even provide the customer service representative with the user's first language and any existing customer account details, including past orders and security questions.

To further the conversation, Siri's predictive text bar above the onscreen keyboard can offer up personal details like phone numbers or addresses to the user in case they want to share the information with the business. Elsewhere, a new Time Picker feature in Business Chat makes it easy for customers to select appointment times, while a List Picker lets users choose sale items, like clothes or groceries, with Apple Pay on hand as a convenient payment method.

To help businesses assist customers, Apple is also letting them build their own custom iMessage App extensions. One demonstration given on stage was of an airline seat selector app that allowed the user to tap where they wanted to sit in the cabin when booking a flight.


Crucially, businesses can only send notifications to users who have already initiated contact, and the customer can choose to turn off notifications of incoming messages, delete the chat thread entirely, or simply block the company from communicating with them outright.

Business Chat is set to compete with similar services offered by the likes of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Skype, but Apple has the distinct advantage of offering it as a native feature in iOS 11, which will eventually come pre-installed on new devices and will likely enjoy a high adoption rate by millions of existing users when it is released in the fall.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tags: iMessage, Business Chat

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iOS 11 Introduces Two New Screen Effects Within Messages Called ‘Echo’ and ‘Spotlight’

Messages users sending texts in iOS 11 this fall will be able to share iMessages with two all-new Screen Effects in Apple's texting app.

Specifically, a new "Echo" option sends any selected piece of text to friends by multiplying the message all over the screen. The second, "Spotlight," puts an emphasis on your message by placing a large spotlight on the text as it's sent over to your friend's iOS device.

No new Bubble Effects have been added to iOS 11, at least not in the first developer beta of the software.


Screen Effects and Bubble Effects made their debut in iOS 10 last year, where Messages as a whole received a major overhaul thanks to the addition of the Messages App Store. On the new platform, apps have become available to download as miniature versions within Messages, including apps for payments, games, dinner reservations, and stickers.

Messages will be getting another overhaul in iOS 11, although one that's not as big as last year's update. This fall, the app's main new addition will be a redesigned App Drawer for your Messages apps, which are placed as a scrollable toolbar below the texting field. Apps should be easier to access in comparison to iOS 10's user interface, which requires one tap to get into the App Drawer, and another to go to Recents to find the app you want.

Check out the full MacRumors iOS 11 roundup for more features coming to Messages, including peer-to-peer payments using Apple Pay and full chat archive synchronization in iCloud, so transferring over to a new iPhone retains all of your old conversations.

(Thanks, Koohyun Y!)

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: iMessage

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StubHub Launches iMessage App to Share and Vote On Events and Tickets

StubHub, the world's largest online ticket marketplace, today announced that it has updated its iOS app with a new iMessage integration for sharing events and voting on which tickets to buy or where to sit.

StubHub's new iMessage app

After updating to the latest version of the StubHub app, users can open the iMessage app, search for and share a sports game, concert, or other event, and select up to five seats for their friends to vote on directly within an iMessage conversation. Once the votes are in, anyone can buy tickets for the group.

Meanwhile, in the main app, StubHub now allows users to connect with Facebook friends to see which events they are planning on attending, as well as which artists, teams, and venues are of interest to them. This information is found within a new Activity feed under the Profile tab after updating the app.

Last, StubHub has launched a new Facebook Messenger chatbot that serves as a "personal event concierge" by recommending local and upcoming events based on the information that a user supplies.

StubHub is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone and iPad. Apple Watch and Apple TV apps are also available.


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Six Months After Launch, Developer Excitement Over iMessage Apps is ‘Fading’

The iMessage App Store turned six months old this week, and the app analysts at Sensor Tower have decided to see where Apple's miniature app store stands among users and developers following an initial launch rush last year. According to Sensor Tower, more than 5,000 apps have either added iMessage features, or launched exclusively on the text message-based App Store.

Unfortunately, while the growth is noticeable -- and on par with the original App Store in 2008 -- it has begun subsiding on a month-to-month basis, with Sensor Tower noting it is "seeing signs that the initial rush of excitement over iMessage apps is fading among developers." From September to October the number of iMessage-enabled apps grew 116 percent, from 400 to 1,100. By the end of November, the iMessage App Store had grown 108 percent to include around 2,250 apps.

Things began slowing down in December where growth was marked at 65 percent, with 3,700 iMessage apps stocking the App Store worldwide. As 2017 began, the iMessage App Store hit its slowest growth period yet: it saw an 18 percent increase from December to January, and a 9 percent increase from January to February.


Sensor Tower points to confusion over the iMessage App Store's UI and app discovery that could be leading to an overall lack of user interactivity with the apps, and subsequently resulting in developers' fading interest. The analysts still look forward to the iMessage App Store's "real test" of growth down the line as iOS 11 approaches later in the year.
Any new platform will see an initial surge in offerings due to the aforementioned excitement, rallying cries from the platform holder, and the associated rush by developers to ensure that they’re capitalizing on (what they hope will be) the next big thing. The real test for the iMessage App Store’s catalog will be how its growth looks for the rest of its first year.

Still, consumer platforms such as Apple’s latest are driven by the steady availability of compelling software, and the cadence of releases can say a lot about developer confidence—which, in turn, is reflective of what and how much users are consuming.
Games are the most popular of the iMessage apps, and the category includes regular apps that create iMessage versions with sticker compatibility without any specific gaming features. Following games are Entertainment, Utilities, Social Networking, and Photo & Video apps.


In a bid to bring more awareness to iMessage apps -- and stickers specifically -- Apple this week launched a new ad to promote the wide array of stickers that users can download and share within Messages. The live action commercial featured people running around and sticking colorful, animated stickers, including some from Disney and Family Guy, on everything from other people to food.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tag: iMessage

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