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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.

An individual text message takes up a miniscule amount of data on your phone, but eventually, all little messages will start to add up — particularly if there are pictures or video clips attached.

Luckily, both the iOS and Android messaging apps have a handy setting that'll trash older text and picture messages automatically, perfect for keeping your phone's storage from getting junked up with ancient SMS threads.

For Android:

Ï Open the Messaging app, tap the three-dot menu in the top corner of the screen, then tap Settings.

Ï Scroll down to the Storage section and make sure the Delete old messages setting is checked.

Ï Tap Text message limit, choose the maximum number of messages that can sit in a messaging thread before the olders ones get deleted, then tap the Set button.

Ï Last but not least, tap Multimedia message limit and follow the same process. Because picture and video messages consume far more storage than a text message does (think a megabyte or two rather that just a few tiny kilobytes), you'll want to pick a lower number — somewhere in the 50-100 range.

For iOS:

Ï Tap Settings, Messages, then scroll down and tap Keep Messages (under the Message History heading).

Ï Go ahead and decide how long you'd like to keep old text messages before they're deleted: for 30 days, a whole year, or forever and ever. In case you're wondering, no — there aren't any custom settings.

"Lock" a text message (Android)

Old text messages that delete themselves automatically? Sounds like a great idea — until an essential message disappears in a puff of smoke.

If there's a particular text message you need to keep no matter what, you can "lock" it in your Android phone's memory, perfect for protecting it from the "Delete old messages" setting.

Just tap and hold the message, then tap Lock. A little padlock icon will appear on the protected message.

See all the photos and videos in a message thread (iOS)

A huge message thread with a loved one is likely riddled with pictures and video clips from days, weeks, or even months ago, making it quite a challenge to scroll all the way back in search of a specific snapshot.

The good news, though, is that the latest version of the Messages for iOS lets you view all the photos and video clips in a given message thread all at once.

Open a thread, then tap the Details button in the top corner of the screen. Scroll down to the Attachments section, and there you go: Every picture, video clip, sound file, or any other attachment you've traded with a fellow texter will be right there, ready to be saved, forwarded, printed, or simply opened.

 

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