Your Guide to iPhone Group Messages in iOS 14

iOS 14 brings us exciting new group messaging options to keep your chats fun and organized.

This article will tell you all the group messaging features in iMessage introduced in iOS 14. Group messages are a great way to keep families and friend groups in close contact, whether you're all in different places in the world or just want to have your plans written down in one place. However, if there are too many people talking about too many different things, the group chats can get confusing, and if you have too many going on at once it can be hard to keep track of which is which. iOS 14 introduced some new ways to organize and label your group messages to keep your communication easy and fun - as it should be! Let's take a look at these new features and how they can help you get the most out of your group chats.

Related: iMessage Waiting for Activation? How to Fix iMessage Not Working Error on iPhone (iOS 14 Update)

What's in This Article

Before we dive into the iOS 14 features, you might want to review how to make a group chat in Messages, and how to leave a group message on your iPhone. Remember, you can only leave a group message if every member is using iOS. Otherwise, you can't leave the conversation, but you can mute it. For more great ways to get the most out of iOS 14, check out our Tip of the Day.

How to Tag a Contact in a Group Chat

One common frustration in group chats is when you send a message you that want a specific person to see, but it gets lost in the general chatter. Now, you can tag a contact in a group chat, and they will be notified that they have been mentioned. To do this: 

  1. Press the @ symbol on your keyboard then the name of the person you want to tag. Do not add a space after the @ symbol, and type in the person’s name as they are saved in your phone.
  2. You’ll know it works because when you hit space once you’ve entered the name, the name will turn blue.

  3. They will receive a special notification that they have been mentioned in the chat.

This only works if the person you are tagging also has an iPhone running iOS 14 though, so if you're talking to someone who is not using iOS or has not yet updated to iOS 14, you will see them as tagged on your screen, but they will not receive the notification.

How to Create an Inline Reply

Have you ever opened up a chat and found several different topics going on at the same time? It can be hard to clarify which subject you're replying to, but now you can use inline replies to create a thread within your group texts. Just:

  1. Press and hold the message to which you want to reply directly until a menu appears. 
  2. Tap Reply.
  3. Type in your message and tap send.

This will start a thread for that topic, which will take up the screen, blocking out the rest of the message thread. To exit this, just press a blank part of your screen, and to open it up again, just tap below the message where it says the number of replies in the thread.

How to Give a Group Message a Cover Photo

While we’ve been able to add photos to individual contacts and their text chains for some time, we can now add photos to group chats, keeping them easily identified and lots of fun. All you have to do is:

  1. Tap the chat name
  2. Tap the information icon

  3. Tap Change Name and Photo.
  4. You can select an image from your camera reel or one of the fun icons Apple suggests.

Once it’s set, it will appear at the top of your message thread when the thread is open, and next to the message thread on your main message screen. This only works if every person is using an iPhone though, so your Android-using friends are out of luck.

How to Pin a Message Thread to the Top of Your Inbox

Even though I text my family chat every day, it can still get bumped down on my list of text messages by other texts, which can be frustrating if I want quick access. With iOS 14, you can now pin your favorite conversations to the top of your message list to keep it up top and visible. All you have to do is:

  1. Long press on the conversation of your choice, whether it’s a group message or one-on-one chat until a menu appears. 
  2. Tap Pin on the menu that comes up.

You can pin many conversations, so if you have a few text chains you want easy access to, you’re in luck! If you want to unpin, just long press on the pinned message then tap Unpin. There are so many fun ways to use group chat. Learn how to create a group chat and manage it, even with Android members.

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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.