How to Use Business Chat on iPhone with iOS 11.3

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

Master your iPhone in one minute a day:

Sign up to iPhone Life's Tip of the Day Newsletter and we'll send you a tip each day to save time and get the most out of your iPhone or iPad.

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:

ios 12 guide - a step-by-step guide to all the new features
  • 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.

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

Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.