How to add reactions to the iMessages you receive

By , Oct 1, 2016

iOS Messages App Icon

When someone sends you an iMessage on your iPhone or iPad, you can do way more than just reply to it; you can also send your reaction to the message, starting with iOS 10.

Sometimes there’s no better way to show someone how you feel about what they’ve said than with some sort of visual effect as opposed to simply saying something back, and that’s why Apple implemented this feature.

What kind of reactions can you send?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to add additional reactions to the Messages app at this point in time, but it supports all of the following reaction types out of the box:

  • Heart
  • Thumbs up
  • Thumbs down
  • Haha
  • Exclamation point
  • Question mark

Sending your reaction on iOS

To send a reaction, you will need to tap and hold on someone’s iMessage to you. After you do, you’re going to see a bubble with some new options for reacting to whatever it was that they said:

iMessage Reactions Demo

For example, in the message above where the sender doesn’t know what reactions are, we’re going to send a “Ha Ha” reaction by tapping on it from the bubble. You can see how the reaction embeds itself at the top right of the chat bubble.

Now when the sender gets a notification, it’s going to say we “laughed at” their message:

iMessage Reactions Notifications

Once the sender opens the conversation, they are going to see the “Ha Ha” reaction at the top right of the chat bubble, just like we did after sending it.

Sending your reaction on macOS

Likewise, you can also send reactions from the Messages app on your Mac. To do this, click and hold on a message bubble that was sent to you via iMessage, and a similar reactions bubble will appear:

Reactions bubble messages macOS

Now, just click on the reaction you want to send, and it will be placed on the message bubble just like how it looks in iOS:

Reactions Messages app Mac

In this example, we used the “Heart” reaction instead of the “Ha Ha” reaction, and you can see the little heart placed at the top right of the chat bubble.


To send and receive reactions in all of their glory, you must be running iOS 10 or macOS Sierra. They will work across all Apple devices, including iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac.

Unfortunately, if someone you’re iMessaging has an earlier version of iOS or macOS, then all they’re going to see is a little dialogue instead of a colorful reaction image:

Reactions in iMessages on iOS 9

It doesn’t look as pretty as the reactions do, but they still communicate the point you’re trying to convey if the person you’re iMessaging doesn’t have iOS 10 or macOS Sierra installed.

It’s worth noting that reactions don’t work with SMS messages, as they’re intended for iMessages only. You can tell you’re using iMessage when the chat bubbles are blue instead of green. Attempting to send reactions to an SMS sender will result in a dialogue like the one shown above.


Are you going to be taking full advantage of reactions while you use iMessage? Share in the comments!

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  • Adan

    Oh, but they DO work with sms’. I learned this the hard way, on my phone bill. I was charged for about 8 sms’ while testing the feature.

    • Rodney Coleman

      And how are you still being charged for SMS. You own a iPhone meaning you can afford a decent plan. It’s 2016

      • Adan

        Oh goody, today’s smart ass is here! Just because I can afford something, doesn’t mean that I have to pay for it. In Spain most plans don’t include SMS anymore. I have the plan that best fits my needs, and nobody uses SMS, I guess that’s why they now charge for them.

      • CryptoCoin420

        Just so I understand, do you use iMessage? Nobody you know has a non iPhone?

      • Adan

        I use iMessage. About half my contacts use it too, but it just so happened that I tested it with someone who didn’t 😉 Bad luck

      • therealjjohnson

        This is not a logical assumption.

  • Well, actually, you can have anything for a reaction by dragging the sticker or gif of your choice and dropping it on top of the sender’s text bubble. Voilà, your reaction!

  • Rodney Coleman

    Oldie but goodie

  • Antican Anywhere

    You can also double tap on a bubble message to make the reaction bubble appear