iMessage - History and Features

iMessage is Apple’s proprietary instant messaging software, released in 2011. This service is only available on Apple devices: macOS, iOS, iPad, and watchOS.

iMessage’s essential functions include text messaging, image transfers, video sharing, document sharing; receipt and delivery statuses; and end-to-end encryption. Users may also send videos, images, and stickers through the app. On iOS and iPadOS, third-party developers can enhance iMessage features with custom extensions, such as fast sharing of recently played songs.

What is iMessage?

iMessage is a messaging app native to Apple products. The only devices that can use iMessage are Apple devices: macOS, iOS, iPad, and watchOS. The app allows users to send text messages, images, videos, and documents to other iMessage users.

As a proprietary product, iMessage is the preferred messaging application used by Apple users. It offers high-end features which are not available with other messaging devices. Apple ensures that iMessage is constantly updated with the latest security measures to protect users’ privacy.

To identify iMessages, you will see them as blue bubbles on your device. In comparison, text messages will be in green message bubbles.

Who Developed iMessage?

In 2011, Apple Inc. launched iMessage, an instant messaging service. Scott Forstall debuted the service at Apple’s WWDC 2011 keynote on June 6, 2011.

On October 12, 2011, the iOS 5 update added a Messages app for iOS with support for iMessage. Apple announced that a new Messages app would be included in OS X Mountain Lion on February 16, 2012. On July 25, 2012, Mountain Lion was released.

When did iMessage First Appear?

The first iMessage appeared on Apple devices with iOS 3.0 in 2009. It replaced the text application, which had been the native messaging application since iPhone first came out.

The name was altered to reflect iPhone’s support for both SMS and MMS, in addition to the already supported SMS protocol. The original iPhone did not include MMS support because of technological difficulties.

The option to share vCards was added, as well as the ability to copy and paste the text. Additional features included support for copy and paste and the capacity to forward or delete multiple messages at once.

What are the Core Features of iMessage?

The core features of iMessage set it apart from the hundreds of other text applications. It has become popular, especially in the United States, because it resides within the default texting app and doesn’t cost money. Some see this as an example of Apple’s lock-in, but Apple does have a competitive edge in keeping iMessage within its ecosystem. And it does not consider it to be a kind of lock-in.

Here is the list of the core features of iMessage:

  • End-to-end Encryption -Apple encrypts iMessages on your device, so even Apple can’t read them as they travel between devices. The only way anyone could view your communications is if they obtained access to an unlocked Apple device participating in the conversation, its passcode or biometric authentication, or the device’s backups.
  • Chats – Users can have group chats with up to 32 participants. You can name the group, add or remove people, mute notifications, or leave the conversation whenever you want.
  • Images and Media Sharing- When you send an image, you can choose to have it automatically sent as a high-quality original. You can send low-quality photos to save your data allowance if you’re on a 3G network or have Wi-Fi turned off.
  • Animated GIFs – Users can search for and send animated GIFs from within the app. In 2017, memoji and animojis were also added by Apple to play voices and mirror facial expressions from Face ID sensors.
  • Siri Integration – With iOS 10, Apple introduced inline Siri integration in iMessage. This feature allows you to use Siri to find and share content from the web, such as restaurants, articles, locations, and more.

How to Enable iMessage?

You can use iMessage if you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 7 or later. But to send and receive messages, you must first enable iMessages.

To do this, open the Settings app and go to your Apple ID or iCloud account settings. Here, you’ll be able to link your phone number with the email address used for your Apple ID or iCloud account. When chatting with other iPhone, iPad, and Mac users, you’ll be able to send and receive “blue text bubbles.”

When iMessage is on, iMessages are transmitted over a Wi-Fi connection or via mobile data when there is no Wi-Fi access.

You may enable iMessage on your device by following these steps:

  • To begin, turn your iPhone on and go to the Settings app from the home screen.
  • Open the Settings menu and scroll down until you find “Messages.”
  • In the Messages menu, find and select the “iMessage” option.
  • Toggle the switch next to “iMessage” to enable it.
  • You’ll be able to text and receive iMessages on your iPhone after activation.

Where did iMessage only Function?

iMessage only functions on Apple devices that use the iOS operating system. These devices include the following:

  1. macOS

To use iMessage in macOS, users must also enable the feature in their iCloud settings. To do this, go to “System Preferences” and select “iMessage.” Then, check the box next to “Enable Messages in iCloud.”

  1. iOS

On iOS devices, you can enable iMessage by going to the Settings app and selecting “Messages.” Then, toggle the switch next to “iMessage” to enable it.

  1. iPadOS

iMessage is available on all iPads that run iPadOS 13 or later. To enable it, go to the Settings app and select “Messages.” Then, toggle the switch next to “iMessage” to enable it.

  1. watchOS

Starting with watchOS 6, iMessage is available on Apple Watch. To enable it, go to the Settings app on your iPhone and select “Messages.” Then, toggle the switch next to “iMessage” to enable it.

What is the origin of the iMessage Protocol?

The iMessaging software communicates with your iPhone using the proprietary Apple push notification (APNS) protocol – a binary communication system. It establishes a Keep-Alive connection with Apple’s servers, just like APNS.

Each connection has its unique code, which identifies the route to send a message to a specific device. The connection is encrypted using TLS on the client-side with a client certificate obtained by the device upon activation of iMessage.

Can I use iMessage on Android?

No. iMessages do not work on Android devices or other operating systems except iOS and macOS.What matters is the Mac compatibility. It is software that sends messages via the iMessage network on Macs.

What devices can use iMessage?

iMessage is available on all Apple devices that use the iOS operating system, including:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • iPod touch
  • iWatch
  • Mac

Messages may now be sent and received by all of your devices in real-time. It was part of Apple’s plan to have the service available on every device you’d use. So when you receive an iMessage while using your Mac, you don’t have to get up or pick up your iPhone to read it.

What is the distinction between a text message and an iMessage?

There are several critical differences between text messages and iMessages. Here are some of them:

  • You can send and receive iMessages using an internet connection, while text messages are transmitted via a cellular network.
  • The iMessage service is limited to Apple devices, while the SMS service may be used on any device.
  • You’ll find that your iMessages only sync with iCloud, while it’s tough to back up text conversations.
  • iMessages display blue bubbles on an iPhone, whereas text messages appear in green bubbles.
  • iMessages have features that text messages don’t support, such as sharing your location, getting read receipts, and seeing whether someone is replying to your message or has begun typing. It also allows you to distribute stickers, music, animated GIFs, and other similar items.
Scroll to Top