How to use inline replies in Messages on iPhone and iPad

Have you ever been in a group conversation in Messages and wanted to reply to one specific message? By the time you try, the conversation has moved on with everyone else in it. Then it seems pointless.


The Messages app on iPhone and iPad lets you use inline replies. So you can reply directly to a specific message in a group conversation and view all related messages in a separate thread or the conversation view.

Here’s how to use the awesome inline reply feature in Messages.

Inline Replies in Messages on iPad

Reply to a single message in a group conversation

To reply to a message in your group conversation, just tap and hold on the message bubble and choose Reply in the menu. On Mac, right-click over a message and pick Reply.

Messages Tap Reply on iPad

Type in your reply like you would any other message and hit Send.

You’ll then see your reply with the original message in the foreground of the group conversation.

Messages Inline Reply Thread on iPad

View inline reply conversations

You have two ways to view the inline replies in Messages; in their own thread or in the conversation view.

See individual threads

You can have a whole separate conversation with someone using the inline reply feature. So the easiest way to see it and keep the conversation going is to view the thread.

To open the thread, tap the original message, your reply to it, or the number of replies link that will display. Regardless of how you open the thread, it will display the same way, which is a screen in the foreground of the group conversation.

To close the thread, tap anywhere outside of it, and you’ll return to the group conversation.

See replies in the conversation view

If there is only one inline reply to a message, you can see it dimmed and with a connector line. Here’s an example and a screenshot.

The original message was earlier in the conversation. With my inline reply later, you can see the original message smaller and dimmed with a line directed to my inline reply.

Messages Inline Reply Conversation View on iPad

You may also notice a curly connector. This type of line also shows a relation between messages and replies where there is a longer string in the thread.

Messages Inline Reply Long Thread on iPad

Reply to a message in an individual conversation

You can use the inline reply feature for one-on-one conversations in Messages as well, although not likely necessary. You can follow the same process to add your reply and view the thread. This would be handy if you want to comment specifically on a message your recipient made further back in the conversation.

While it’s probably not something you’d often use in individual conversations, it’s a convenient feature to keep in mind if you need it.

The ability to use inline replies in Messages is a useful update to the app. It’s a feature that can keep group conversations on track while still acknowledging other specific messages.

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