How to Send Messages with Effects on iPhone

* This article is from our Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

You may have heard of Message Effects, the fun animations you can add to any text sent through the Messages app by pressing and holding the blue send button. But do you know the secret code words you can type to automatically trigger iPhone text effects? Not only is this a fun way to impress your friends, iMessage tricks are a super convenient way to make your messages a bit more snazzy with basically zero effort. 

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Quickly send cute or fun message effects for someone's birthday or celebration by using a secret code word.
  • No need to go looking through all the animations built into iMessage. Using the code words is a massive shortcut!

Related: 7 Fixes for When Camera Is Not Working on iPhone (2023)

iPhone Life
Discover your iPhone's hidden features
Get a daily tip (with screenshots and clear instructions) so you can master your iPhone in just one minute a day.

How to Send iPhone Text Effects in iMessage

You may have accidentally stumbled upon the hidden code words that trigger iMessage tricks, but I will provide you with the full list of code words to use the next time you want to send a pretty animation. If you like tips about how to use your iPhone, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day! Here are all the words that trigger effects on iPhone.

  1. On your iPhone, open the Messages app.

    On your iPhone, open the Messages app.
  2. Choose any one of the code words below and send your message. You will see the effect produced immediately. Now, I will reveal the secret code words and their effects:
  3. ‘Pew pew’ – laser light show

    ‘Pew pew’ – laser light show
  4. ‘Happy birthday’ – balloons

    ‘Happy birthday’ – balloons
  5. ‘Congratulations’ – confetti

    ‘Happy birthday’ – balloons
  6. ‘Happy New Year’ – fireworks

    ‘Happy New Year’ – fireworks
  7. ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ – red explosion

    ‘Happy Chinese New Year’ – red explosion
  8. ‘Selamat’ – confetti

    ‘Selamat’ – confetti

Note: If you have trouble getting this to work, it's possible that you have Reduce Motion turned on, which would prevent this feature from working. Go to the Settings app > Accessibility > Motion > Reduce Motion > and be sure Reduce Motion is toggled off. (The toggle will be gray and to the left when disabled.)

And that's all there is to it! Hopefully, you can have some fun with friends with this hidden tip!

Master your iPhone in one minute a day: Sign up here to get our FREE Tip of the Day delivered right to your inbox.


Author Details

Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and a poet and author. With 10-plus years of experience working with Apple devices, she specializes in all-things iPad and is a Notes App expert, having worked on both the 2023 iPad Guide and the Notes App Guide. You can usually find her writing in the Daily Tip newsletter as one of our senior Tip writers. Rachel received her Master’s degree in English Literature in 2021 and her most recent work appears in the Winter ’21 edition of New Note Poetry. When she’s not obsessing about Apple products, you can find her voraciously reading fantasy books with her cat in Asheville, North Carolina.