How to send balloons, hearts, and other flair in iMessage

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Give your text and emoji-based messages a bit of life, by sending special effects to others in the iMessage conversation.

Sometimes, sending a message from your iPhone to others can seem a bit pedestrian. A line of text doesn't really elicit emotion unless it's a meaningful message, unless you count the use of emojis and copious use of capitalized letters and punctuation.

If you're eager to show that you're excited or that you love someone tremendously, you can do a lot better than sending plain old text. A FaceTime call certainly allows you to be more expressive, but you may not be in a situation where you can actually place it.

Handily, Apple has built-in a variety of effects that you can apply to your iMessage conversations with others, and you can take advantage of them whenever you want.

Make sure it's iMessage

Bear in mind that the effects will only really be visible to other participants in a Messages conversation if they are also using iOS. If they're on Android or using an older-style cellphone, the messages won't be seen at all.

How to send balloons, hearts, and other flair in iMessage

The easiest way to tell is to simply check the color of speech bubbles in the conversation. If they are green, the conversation is over SMS or MMS. If they are blue, then it's an iMessage conversation, and you can go wild with effects.

While Android users cannot experience the animations, change is afoot regarding reactions. Google is slowly updating Google Messages to enable iMessage reaction support, bringing part of the iMessage experience to Android.

Though it's not the same thing as these effects and animations, it is at least a bit of cross-platform progress.

Bubble Effects

Bubble effects affect the speech bubble affecting the next message you send. There are a few effects available:

The bubble effect interface is quite straightforward in iMessage.

Full-screen Effects

As the name suggests, full-screen effects go one stage further, in that they display a larger animation on the recipient's screen.

A few examples of full-screen animations you can select from in iMessage.

You have more full-screen effects to play with than the bubbles:

Some of these full-screen animations also trigger if you're using certain words or text strings.


If you want to give a personal touch to the text itself, you could use the handwriting option within iMessage. This sends an animation of you writing out the message on the display.

This key can be used to hand-write your message. You don't have to use your own handwriting. Apple supplies examples you can use below the entry box.

If you have bad handwriting, you can also tap one of the premade phrases at the bottom of the entry screen. Messages you send will also be saved here for future reuse.

You can delete saved messages from the collection by touching and holding it, then when it is jiggling, tapping X.