How to Use Business Chat on iPhone with iOS 11.3

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Apple announced the Apple Business Chat platform at WWDC 2017 and iOS 11.3 has finally introduced us to the program. The Business Chat platform allows iPhone users to connect with companies through iMessages, or from the businesses' app or website, rather than talking on the phone. Apple is rolling out Business Chat slowly; it's only available as a beta version right now, with a limited number of partner companies. Let's stay ahead of the curve and learn how to use Business Chat on our iPhones. 

Related: How to Sync Messages from iPhone to Mac & iPad

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You'll only be able to use the Business Chat platform if you're in the United States and the company you're trying to contact is currently participating. If the company you hoped to chat with isn't participating in Business Chat, check back in a few months; more and more companies are slated to join up as the platform expands. To start a Business Chat, make sure your iPhone is updated to iOS 11.3, then:

  • Open Maps, Safari, or the website or app of the company you're trying to contact. I like to search with Safari.
  • When the business you want to chat with pops up on your iPhone's display, tap the blue text bubble to start the chat.

business chat iphoneapple business chat 

You'll need to start the conversation, as businesses aren't able to begin the chat. Easy questions may be answered by a chatbot, but there will be a live customer service operator available for more complicated issues. Also, the business you're chatting with doesn't receive your phone number or other personal information; only you can give that out.

Some businesses have enabled purchases through Business Chat; some haven't expanded their participation that far yet. If the company you're messaging with has enabled payments through Business Chat, you can pay without leaving the message conversation if you have Apple Pay set up

apple business chat

Many companies on Business Chat have enabled appointment booking as well, so you can schedule a delivery or service and save the date and time right into your iPhone's calendar app. 

book appointments business chat

To end your Business Chat, you'll need to delete the text thread. If you'd like to come back to the conversation later, leave it in your Messages so you can restart the conversation at your convenience.

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.