iMessage bubble and screen effects not working in iOS 10? Try this

By , Sep 15, 2016


One of the flagship features of iOS 10 is the new pack of bubble and screen effects you can use to give some pop to your messages. If you’re anything like me and my wife, this is the first thing you tried after installing iOS 10. But if you’re anything like me and my wife, you might have also ran into some problems where one of the devices was able to send effects, but not receive them.

Why can’t I see the bubbles and funny screen effects in iMessage?

If that is the case, we have a couple of possible solutions for you to try.

1. Make sure your iPhone is running iOS 10

Duh! This goes without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many times I successfully troubleshot an issue simply by making sure the software was up to date.

2. Reboot

This is the first thing you should do when just about anything goes wrong on your iOS device. In our case, it may or may not help. If it doesn’t, move up to the next step.

3. Make sure Reduce Motion is turned off

If you have enabled the Reduce Motion feature before, this could be the culprit. To double check this accessibility feature isn’t enabled, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion. If it is on, turn it off. If it’s not on, then try the following solution.

4. Turn iMessage off and on

Go to Settings > Messages, and turn iMessage off. Wait a few seconds, and turn iMessage back on. This is actually what worked for my wife’s iPhone.

5. Wait it out

Our own Senior Vice President of Wallpapers Jim Gresham went through all the steps described above without success. Ultimately, what worked for his wife’s iPhone was to just wait it out. He said that after about 24 hours, iMessage effects started working again out of nowhere.

6. Restore

If nothing else works, then your ultimate effort might go into restoring your iPhone or iPad. This is never really fun to do, but it usually fixes most software problems. Before restoring, make sure you have a backup of the device, either in iCloud or in iTunes.

Hopefully you won’t have to go all the way to step 6 to get bubbles and screen effects back on your iPhone or iPad.

Have you had any issues with iMessage on iOS 10? If so were you able to fix them, and how?

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  • Scotow

    When I tried to send to myself a test message on iOS 10 I received it multiple times (2 or 3 times). Never got this on iOS 9.
    Someone else got this problem ?

    • Alex Best

      settings,notifications,messages,repeat alerts-never

      • Scotow

        Nah, it’s not that.
        The repeat thing is instant and it only do it when it’s a new iOS 10 message kind. Normal iMessage are not duplicated, but draw, pulse or iMessage effects is.

      • Alex Best

        ok sorry

      • Don Walker II

        Same here, it has been driving me nuts for weeks!

      • Scotow

        Since you went to iOS 10 or did it happened on iOS 9?

      • Don Walker II

        Since the beta. I don’t think it happened on iOS 9.

  • David Fabian

    Thanks for the tips, turning iMessage on and off worked for me. I’m on the beta/GM and the effects weren’t working.

  • Budz Camacho

    I just hope that we can use these effects with the reduce motion turned on

  • philip Mills

    Predictive text is not working for me iOS 10
    when i type happy its says happy and not the smily face
    is it me or what thanks

    • jw

      Are you referring to having words highlight orange so you can tap them to turn into emojis? Once you’ve written your message, just switch to the emoji keyboard and it should highlight your options.

      • philip Mills


  • Scott

    I fixed this by starting a new message to the person(s). For some reason a particular one wouldn’t let me do it anymore. When I started a new it fixed and ultimately ended up being in the original message thread after anyways. Before I did this I tried a restart of the device, and quoting the app and starting again without either working. Restoring to me…seems very extreme.

  • Rickey Woods

    sad apple can’t get things right at launch

  • :D

    In the screenshots for stickers (on the app store) the stickers look so much better, e.g. Mario sitting on the message itself. They just get sent as regular photos when I try to use them myself, thouhg. Am I doing something wrong or are the screenshots just misleading?

    • 323K137

      You can tap and hold a sticker then drag it anywhere on the message thread to stick it.

      • :D

        That’s awesome – thanks!

  • M_Hawke

    This is going to be ridiculous if bubble messages can’t work without Reduce Motion turned off.

  • Noah

    THANK YOU SO MUCH. I’ve been trying to play games with my brother, but it always received weird and didn’t let me play. I realized I couldn’t get digital touch messages or effects. After all else failed, turning iMessages off and on worked! Thank you.

  • Plz Help

    I have an iPad Air, I have IOS 10, I can semd and receive bubble messages but cant send the balloons, confetti etc (I can receive them and see them) any fixes?

  • Ds

    Anyone know why the phone doesn’t vibrate when my girlfriend tried sending me her pulse from her phone. I’m on a 7+ and she is on a 6 both are running 10.0.1

  • Shepster

    The fix: accessibility setting called Reduce Motion is turned on. turn it off!

  • Frida

    I followed all that, but it isnt working on my iphone 🙁
    i have a 6. is that the problem?

    • Frida

      Did it 😀

  • Nicole Dean

    Its the 3D Touch for iPhone 6s and 7. If you disable it, works fine. Enabled, you have to apply greater pressure to trigger it. If you use 3D Touch, set it to light. Hope this helps.

  • Briana Kunisch

    Oh man! Still can’t get it to work after following all of the steps above. Maybe later.