Apple is reportedly trialling mentions and retractions on its messaging platform, iMessage.
That’s according to MacRumors, which says the information was leaked by an “insider” at the company, who added the new features are being tested out internally.
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Incorporating a new mention feature would let you grab someone’s attention when you’re in a crowded group chat. Apparently, the new iMessage function would work in the same way as mentions on WhatsApp and Slack, where you just type in @ to pull up a full list of the group members then hit the name of the person you want to tag in.
This is mostly useful when the group is overflowing with nonsense and you need to remind someone that they owe you £10 for those drinks on Saturday. Warning: they can still choose to ignore your message, even if they get a special notification when you tag them.
Retractions, again, would work similarly to the function currently available on WhatsApp. You can delete a message when you accidentally say something irrelevant – or incredibly rude – in your family chat, but recipients will get a little faded line of text letting them know that you’ve done this.
There are a handful of other updates rumoured to be in the works. Typing indicators (the little dots you get when you’re impatiently waiting for someone to reply) could be brought to group chats, as these are currently only present in one-on-one situations. You may also be given the ability to mark a message as unread after opening it, to dodge tricky convos.
Another little extra could be the introduction of /me commands, which changes the way text is displayed. This fun little function already exists on Mac’s OS X Messages, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see it leap across onto mobile devices.
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Of course, as these are all whispers and rumours about something that’s still in the testing phase, we may well never see any of the above features appear. But if they did emerge, it would certainly make iMessage a more threatening WhatsApp competitor.