In common with just about every smartphone worthy of the name, the iPhone is brilliant at messaging. In fact, it surpasses them. The iPhone has an exceptional app called iMessage that lets you exchange text-only SMS (Short Message Service) messages and photos and video MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) messages with other mobile devices.When messaging another iPhone or iOS user, it does far more.

Read: How to fix iOS iMessage problems

Mixed messages

To start a message, tap the Messages app on the Home screen, and then tap the new message icon (a box with a pencil). You can enter a recipient’s mobile number, type a contact’s name (as with Mail this brings up a list of contacts that match; choose one by tapping it) or tap the + sign to choose an existing contact from your Contacts list. Make sure you choose the contact’s mobile number, or your message won’t go anywhere.

You can send messages to multiple contacts, but they count as multiple messages, so if you’re paying per text message, keep that in mind. Use the on-screen keyboard to type a text message, then tap Send.

Find the Best iPhone contract

Photos embedded in your messages are previewed as thumbnails rather than just paperclip attachments

iMessage is Apple’s all-in-one replacement for text, group, and MMS messaging – sort of. If you’re familiar with BlackBerry Messaging, it’s Apple’s answer to that approach. In short, it’s a communication platform that works via internet data to communicate with other iOS devices.

All about iMessage

Unlike regular SMS text messaging, iMessage supports niceties like delivery receipts (indicating that your message has been delivered), read receipts (telling you your message has been read) and live typing status (so you can know that your friend is replying). Note, however, that by default, your iOS device won’t tell your contact when you’ve read his/her message; you must enable that manually.

Another improvement over standard text messaging is that when you compose a message on the iPhone, iOS will automatically switch to the iMessage protocol if your recipient is also an iMessage user. For non-iOS conversations it will default to regular old SMS.

You can get Siri and Voice Dictation to speak your messages

You can spot iMessages from regular messages because they appear with a blue background instead of the regular green background. The great thing about iMessages is that they don’t cost a penny to send, and they can also be sent to people using an iPad (unlike an SMS which can only be sent to an iPhone or other mobile phone). You may be wondering if you need a mobile phone plan that includes free text messages anymore; be careful before cancelling it though because you still use regular text when sending messages to non-Apple mobile phones.