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7 gotta-know iOS and Android text-messaging tricks

Ben Patterson | Feb. 18, 2015
The standard Android and iOS messaging apps--you know, the app you use for trading all those text messages, photos and videos--can do much more than you might think. Not only can you forward any text messages you receive, you can also (depending on whether you're using an iPhone or Android phone) find out when a given message was sent or received, shush an annoying group thread, or "lock" a message that's particularly important. You can even swap in a whole new messaging app if you're not satisfied with the "stock" one.

The standard Android and iOS messaging apps — you know, the app you use for trading all those text messages, photos and videos — can do much more than you might think. Not only can you forward any text messages you receive, you can also (depending on whether you're using an iPhone or Android phone) find out when a given message was sent or received, shush an annoying group thread, or "lock" a message that's particularly important. You can even swap in a whole new messaging app if you're not satisfied with the "stock" one.

Read on for seven texting tricks you need to know, starting with...

Forward a message

Sounds simple, but forwarding a text or picture message to someone else on an iOS or Android device isn't easy if you've never done it before.

In the name of creating the flattest, most Spartan interface possible, the messaging apps for both iOS and Android hide the forward controls behind a few touch gestures.

For Android: Tap and hold the message you want to forward, then tap the Forward button. The text of the message will then be pasted into a new message that you can address to anyone you like.

For iOS: Tap and hold the message you'd like to forward; when you do, a pop-up with a few different buttons (such as "Copy" and "Speak") will appear. Tap the More button, then tap the little forward-arrow in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

Find out when a text message was sent or received

The Android messaging app does a nice job of time-stamping each text message within a thread; iOS, not so much.

Sure, you'll see a date and time stamp marking each individual burst of text messages in a thread, but nothing for each individual message — that is, unless you know this particular little trick.

For iOS: Tap and hold a text message, then pull it gently from right to left; when you do, you'll reveal a column of time stamps on the right.

For Android: Yes, Android text messages are already time-stamped, but you can still pull up precise info on when an individual message was sent, and to whom. Just tap and hold the message, then tap Details.

Silence an annoying group thread (iOS)

Ever get stuck on a group text-messaging thread that just won't stop? If you've got an iPhone or iPad running on iOS 8, there's an easy way to shush the chatter.

Open the group thread that's bugging you, tap the Details button in the top corner, scroll down and flip the Do Not Disturb switch.

Ah, the sound of silence.

Delete old text and picture messages automatically

 

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