The Messages app in iOS 17.2 includes several new features and capabilities to enhance the messaging experience on your iPhone. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk through everything you need to know about using Messages in the latest version of iOS.
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The Messages app is the default messaging application on iPhones. It allows you to send and receive SMS and MMS messages, conduct iMessage chats with other iPhone users, share photos, videos and other files, and even play games and use apps within your conversations.
iOS 17.2 brings new functionality and improvements to Messages, including:
- Fix for crashing bug when opening threads with a specific contact
- Contact Key Verification for enhanced security
- New user interface for Messages in iCloud sync status
- Streamlined setup for iCloud Messages sync
- Ability to jump to first unread message
In this guide, we will cover all of these new features in detail, as well as provide an overview of core messaging functions in iOS 17.2.
Fixing Message App Crashes
A common bug in iOS 17.1 caused the Messages app to crash whenever trying to open a thread with a specific contact. Apple has resolved this crashing issue in the 17.2 update.
If you were experiencing this problem previously, installing iOS 17.2 should prevent any further crashing when opening threads in Messages. The update provides a complete fix behind the scenes, so no additional troubleshooting is needed on your part.
Verifying Contacts with Contact Key
A major new security feature in iOS 17.2 is Contact Key Verification. This allows you to verify the identity of the person you are messaging for enhanced protection against spoofing and phishing attacks.
Here’s how to use Contact Key Verification:
- Open a conversation thread in Messages with a contact who also has an Apple device with iOS 17.2 installed.
- Tap the contact name at the top of the screen.
- Select Verify Identity.
- A private key will be exchanged with the contact to confirm identities on both ends.
Once verified, the contact name will show as “Verified” to indicate you are messaging the right person. If verification fails for any reason, Messages will warn you that identity could not be confirmed.
Contact Key Verification adds an important new layer of security, giving you confidence that conversations are end-to-end encrypted and not subject to spoofing.
Monitoring iCloud Sync Status
Messages in iCloud now has an improved user interface that shows the sync status of your conversations. This allows you to see details on whether iCloud is still syncing your messages or if the process is complete.
To check Messages sync status:
- Open the Messages app.
- Swipe down from the top of your Mailbox or conversation list to reveal the search bar.
- When iCloud sync is in progress, you will see a progress wheel beside “Messages” indicating activity.
- Once sync finishes, this will update to a green checkmark and show the date/time of last sync.
This sync status indicator enables you to monitor if any messages are still processing. If a sync seems stuck, you can restart it manually in Settings.
Setting Up iCloud Sync
iCloud Messages sync allows you to keep all conversations updated and accessible across your iPhone, iPad, Mac and other devices. If you haven’t already enabled it, here are the steps to get set up:
- Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
- Tap on Messages under Apps Using iCloud.
- Enable Messages by tapping the switch on the right side.
- Make sure you are on Wi-Fi for initial sync. This will allow your entire message history to upload to iCloud.
- You can then access your synced messages on any secondary device by signing in with the same Apple ID and enabling Messages in iCloud.
- As new messages come in on your iPhone, they will automatically appear on other devices as well.
With iCloud sync enabled, you can seamlessly switch between Apple devices without missing conversations or having to transfer messages manually.
Jumping to First Unread Message
When you have a long thread with lots of back and forth messages, it can be tricky to find where the new, unread messages start.
iOS 17.2 makes this easier by allowing you to jump straight to the first unread message in any thread:
- Open the thread you want to navigate in Messages.
- Tap and hold the title bar at the top where contact/group name appears.
- Select “Jump to Unread” from the quick actions menu.
- You will automatically be taken to the first unread message in the thread.
This saves you from having to scroll and scan through the entire history to find where new messages begin. Tap and hold the title bar again to bring up the quick actions menu and jump to unread anytime.
Core Messaging Functions
Beyond the new features covered so far, Messages in iOS 17.2 retains all the same core functions as previous versions. Here is an overview of key messaging capabilities:
- Send/receive SMS & MMS – Have basic text conversations over cellular SMS. Send/receive photos, videos, GIFs, contacts and location via MMS.
- iMessage – Instant message other iOS users with end-to-end encryption. Includes features like memoji, stickers, app integration, payments via Apple Pay.
- Group conversations – Have chats with multiple people. Give group threads custom names, add/remove people.
- Share photos/videos – Send photos and videos from your Camera Roll. Take Live Photos and videos directly in Messages.
- Digital Touch – Sketch images, send animated heartbeats and taps that mimic real-life touch gestures.
- App Store – Download sticker packs, iMessage apps and games right within Messages conversations.
- Notifications – Get notified when receiving new messages. Set notification previews and sounds. Mute threads temporarily or indefinitely.
- Search – Search through message history. Find specific photos, links, locations and more referenced in conversations.
- Block contacts – Block unwanted senders so you no longer receive messages from them.
- Report junk/abuse – Report suspicious messages or abusive senders directly to Apple.
- Visibility Effects – Send messages with special invisible ink and bubble effects that can be triggered later.
- Memoji – Create customizable emoji of yourself and use them in chats.
The core messaging experience remains smooth, intuitive and full-featured in iOS 17.2.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some helpful tips for getting the most out of Messages in iOS 17.2:
- Swipe right on any message to quickly reply or forward it.
- Long press on a message to bring up more actions like Copy, Forward, Notify Typing, and more.
- Double tap a message bubble to like or heart it.
- Tap and hold the send button to access hidden Camera and photo effects.
- Pin your favorite message threads to the top for quick access.
- Use Siri to send hands-free messages by saying things like “Text Mom I’ll be late”
- Customize notification settings, sounds, and vibration patterns for each thread.
- Share your name and photo in Settings so friends know it’s you messaging.
- Use iMessage effects to send messages with e.g. balloons, confetti, lasers, fireworks.
- Star important messages to easily find them later by going to Favorites.
Messages in iOS 17.2 provides a full-featured messaging solution right on your iPhone. Major improvements like Contact Key Verification and better iCloud sync management make conversations more secure and your messages accessible everywhere. Plus, continued optimizations and bug fixes result in faster, smoother performance.
With this comprehensive guide, you now have a complete overview of using Messages in iOS 17.2. You are well equipped to take advantage of all the latest features for an enhanced messaging experience.