If you are a text messaging novice, wanting to communicate with the grandkids, or a sms-superstar new to the iPhone, this article will detail how to send an SMS message on the iPhone as well as how to send group messages to your friends. If you know how to send a messgae but you're just a little confused by the features of the Messages app, here's how to use Messages on the iPhone.

First the basics:

How to send a SMS text message or iMessage on the iPhone

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Either tap on a message chain with the person you wish to reply to (then jump to step 5)
  3. Or tap on the square icon in the top right
  4. Start to type in the name of the person you wish to message and you should see autocomplete options (assuming you have their details in you contacts - if not, you will need to add them).
  5. Tap in the text field and start to type your message
  6. Tap the blue (or  green) arrow beside the text field to send your message

What is Messages on the iPhone

The Messages app on the iPhone allows you to send simple text messages, photos, movies and much more to your friends. The app icon is green with a white speech bubble and is likely to be one of the first icons on your iPhone screen. You’ll find the same icon on your iPad screen, and there’s also a Messages app on the Mac - except this time the icon is Blue. You can read about how to send text messages on the iPad here, and everything you need to know about sending and receiving text messages on the Mac here. You can also send Messages from your Apple Watch, find out how, here.

Within Messages there are actually two types of message. Normal text messages that come from your friends who don’t have iPhones will appear in green speech bubbles.

iMessages that come from your friends who have iPhones (or other Apple devices) will appear in blue speech bubbles. iMessages are sent using Apple’s servers so they use a data connection rather than the mobile network. This means that there is no limit to how many you can send and they are effectively free.

Be aware that if you are sending a lot of texts to friends who don’t have iPhones you could be paying to send them. Most mobile phone contracts include a number of free text messages a month, but if yours is limited you might want to avoid using Apple’s Messages app to send messages to friends who don’t have iPhones. It’s ok, you can still message them, we just suggest you use an app like WhatsApp instead. Read: Best Messaging apps for iPhone & iPad.

How to send group messages on the iPhone

If you have a group of friends or family members who own iPhones it is easy to send group messages using Messages on the iPhone. This means you don't have to send the same message to each person individually, you can message them all at once - and best of all any replies will go to everyone in the group.

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Tap on the square icon in the top right
  3. Start typing the names of your friends…
  4. As long as all the names stay blue you will be able to send the message as a group chat, and any replies will go to everyone on the list
  5. If when you add a name the contacts turn green you won’t be able to hold a group chat over iMessage ask one of your friends doesn’t have an iPhone. In that case, it’s back to WhatsApp again (or just leave them out).

To set up a group of contacts so you don’t have to add them all every time, read: How to set up a contact group on iPhone or iPad.