Shortcuts Focus: texting multiple recipients in separate messages

Text multiple people at once in separate messages with the Mass Message shortcut

iOS 12 brought a new Shortcuts app that makes it easy to chain various actions from multiple apps together and execute them with a tap or a custom voice command. Creative people all over the globe are discovering some truly great uses for iOS automation. Today, iDownloadBlog is highlighting the Mass Message shortcut by Reddit user “LastBrain”.

Mass Message: text multiple people at once

The Mass Message shortcut sends your custom text message to multiple recipients through the Messages app—but individually, in separate messages. This solves one of the biggest complaints about the stock Messages app which supports group chatting but won’t let you text multiple recipients simultaneously via individual messages.

Text multiple people at once in separate messages with the Mass Message shortcut

To get the shortcut, visit the download page on iCloud on your iOS 12 device and tap the blue button Get Shortcut. If asked whether to open the file in the Shortcuts app, tap Open.

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Here’s how to customize the shortcut to your liking.

Customizing the Mass Message shortcut

You can customize the shortcut right after opening it in the Shortcuts app.

Or, fire up the Shortcuts app later, tap the Library tab at the bottom, then tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the Mass Message tile.

Be sure to tap the three dots because tapping the tile actually runs the shortcut.

What this shortcut does is take your text as an input, then asks you to select multiple contacts before entering a loop in which it sends the same new message to each person individually.

The Mass Message shortcut requires iOS 12 and Apple's Shortcuts app

You may pick any contact field to use as the message greeting

You can customize the following shortcut options to your liking:

  • Question: Tap this field and type out the question you’ll be greeted with upon executing the shortcut. By default, it invites you to provide in a custom message text.
  • Default Answer: Optionally, type a canned message or an excerpt with some parts left blank so you can fill in the details at runtime like a date, time or place name.
  • Input Type: Instead of working with pure text, this action can be adjusted to instead take a custom number, URL or date provided at run time.
  • Message greeting: The shortcut starts the message with the default “Hey [FIRST NAME]!” greeting. To customize it, enter a desired message in the Send Message field.

I couldn’t find an easy way to keep the selected recipients remembered across sessions.

Text multiple people without sending a message to group chat with the Mass Message shortcut

Change Input Type to “URL” to send a webpage like a news article to multiple recipients

If you mostly mass-message the same people, you must choose them every time you run the shortcut. You could make your life easier by hard-coding a custom recipient list to avoid having to manually pick them, but that’s a topic for a whole new tutorial.

Like with any other shortcut on your iPhone or iPad, you can easily adjust a few handy global options for Mass Message by hitting that Settings button near the top-right corner.

Text multiple people with separate messages via the Messages app

You can now change the following features:

  • Name: Enter a desired title for this shortcut
  • Icon: Select your Home screen icon for this action. You can pick an existing image from your Photos library, take a brand new shot with your iOS device’s camera or browse a myriad of glyphs and select one to serve as your icon graphic.
    • Color: Change the glyph color.
    • Glyph: Swipe to select a desired icon or tap Objects, People, Symbols or Services in the tab area at the bottom to quickly switch between the icon sets. Tap Services if you’d like to assign this shortcut an icon which represents one of popular services like Apple Music, Facebook, Dropbox and others.
    • Image: Use a new or existing image as the shortcut’s Home scree icon.
  • Add to Siri: Lets you execute this action via a custom voice command. Tap the Record button at the bottom and say something like “Mass Message friends” and hit Done to use this phrase as a shortcut trigger (tap Re-Record Phrase to start over). This lets you execute the action by invoking Siri and saying “mass message friends”
  • Show in Widget: Make the shortcut available via the Today screen’s Shortcuts widget.
  • Show in Share Sheet: Access this action via iOS’s Share sheet in other apps.
  • Add to Home Screen: Give the shortcut its own Home screen icon for quicker access.

Adding the shortcut to your Home screen

Adding the shortcut to your Home screen will send a unique URL to Safari. From there, tap on the Share icon, choose the option Add to Home Screen from the popup menu, provide a custom name for the shortcut icon and finally tap on Add to have iOS put the icon on your Home screen.

mass message or text multiple people at once

Please keep in mind that manually deleting the shortcut icon from the Home screen like you would any other app removes the icon but leaves the underlying shortcut intact. To permanently remove the shortcut, delete it from within the Shortcuts app.

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