iOS 16.4 enables rich embeds for Mastodon links sent via iMessage

Mastodon links are displayed inline in Messages threads on your iPhone as native embeds that include rich details like the post text and author name.

Native Mastodon embed in iOS 16.4's Messages app
Image: Benjamin Mayo/9to5Mac
  • What’s happening? The Messages app on iOS 16.4 brings native embeds for Mastodon posts that come with more details than standard URL previews.
  • Why care? If someone sends you a Mastodon URL via iMessage, you’ll see details about the post without even opening the link.
  • What to do? Update to iOS 16.4 when it launches.

Rich Mastodon embeds in iOS 16.4’s Messages app

Mastodon is a federated social media service that saw an uptick in usage from people leaving Twitter. And now, Apple has seized the opportunity to make life easier for people sharing Mastodon links via iMessage.

The Messages app in iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4 and macOS Ventura 13.3 now supports native embeds for Mastodon post links. But instead of simply adding visual previews to Mastodon URLs shared via Messages, Apple provides additional rich information similar to the tweet balloon previews in iMessage.

These details include the author’s name, post text and any underlying attachments in the Mastodon post, 9to5Mac notes. Even better, Mastodon link previews are embedded inline in your conversation threads. Contrast this with iMessage previews of non-Mastodon URLs that lack post body, author name and other details.

Before iOS 16.4, sharing a Mastodon link via iMessage wouldn’t render a native preview. Instead, the Messages app would simply show you the link text, and you had to click the link to open the URL in Safari to see what’s behind the link.

When will iOS 16.4 launch?

Apple kicked off another beta-test cycle on February 16, 2023, by releasing iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS Ventura 13.3, watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4 to developers.

Public betas are expected to follow soon. Apple will spend a couple of weeks testing these updates before they’re released to all users, probably around April.

When the updates launch, you’ll install them using the standard Software Update mechanism, which will upgrade your device to the latest OS version without overwriting any data or settings. Read: How to message yourself on WhatsApp