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iPhone Text Effects: Tips and Tricks

Three smartphones display different iMessage screen effects. The left phone shows a fireworks effect, the middle one has a text explosion effect, and the right phone features a spotlight effect. Each screen has the text "iPhone effects" in the message bubbles.

Queue the virtual balloons and confetti. Wondering how to send messages with effects and what words trigger effects on iPhone? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about using text effects to bring little bursts of joyful animation to your iPhone messages.

Read on to learn what iPhone text effects are, the different types of message effects, and exactly how to use them.

What Are iPhone Text Message Effects?

Apple created iPhone text effects (aka message effects) to help users send more colorful, personalized greetings via iMessage on an iPhone or iPad. 

Apple has two main categories of effects: bubble effects and screen effects. 

  1. iPhone Bubble effects only animate the text bubble. For example, you can make a message pop out or arrive softly. You can also blur your message with “invisible ink” that is only displayed once the recipient swipes to reveal it.
  2. iPhone screen effects fill up the whole screen with animation. Some options for the full screen include sending lasers, moving spotlights, and balloons or confetti for birthdays and celebrations.

Note that iPhone message effects only work on iMessage, not regular text messages. Both the sender and receiver need to have iMessage to use text effects. You know you’re sending an iMessage when your message bubble is blue. If the message bubble is green, that means it’s a text message, not an iMessage, and iPhone text effects will not display.

What Words Trigger Effects on iPhone?

As long as you and your intended recipient are both using iMessage, certain words sent via iMessage will automatically trigger text effects. Following is a list of words and phrases that display effects, no extra steps required. Simply type, send, and enjoy.

  • Happy Birthday: Balloons
  • Congrats or Congratulations: Confetti
  • Happy New Year: Fireworks
  • Happy Chinese New Year: Firecrackers and vibrations
  • Happy Deepawali: Fireworks
  • Happy Eid: Shooting star
  • Happy Lunar New Year: Firecrackers and vibrations
  • Best Wishes: Confetti
  • Pew Pew: Lasers

Different Text Effects to Try

In addition to set words and phrases that trigger iPhone message effects, you can add bubble effects or screen effects manually to any iMessage you send.

Here are examples of bubble effects we like:

  • Slam: This feature looks like the message falls onto the screen.
  • Loud: Using loud, your text grows in size to make it look like you’re yelling.
  • Gentle: The text starts very small and gradually grows to the regular size.
  • Invisible ink: Text messages written with invisible ink aren’t legible until the recipient taps the screen to see what the message is.

Now that you know what bubble effects there are, let’s look at the screen effects:

  • Echo: This feature sends the same message to the recipient multiple times, filling up the screen.
  • Confetti: using this feature fills the screen with colorful confetti.
  • Balloons: Balloons float across the iPhone screen.
  • Spotlight: This feature shows a single spotlight with the message while making the rest of the screen go dark.
  • Fireworks: Just like it sounds, fireworks explode across the screen.

With each new iOS release, Apple enhances its offerings. For instance, Memojis are among the newest additions to iMessage, letting you send a meme that mirrors your own voice and facial expressions. You can create your unique Memoji to look like you and even edit it to match your mood. Other recent text effects include animated sketches and the ability to send your own handwritten messages.

How to Add Effects to Text – Step by Step

Apple makes it easy to compose a message using special effects.

  1. Open the iMessage app and choose “compose” to start a new message. Or navigate to an existing message thread.
  2. Type your message or upload a picture.
  3. Instead of tapping the send button as usual, hold it down.
  4. Your iPhone will open the “send with effect screen.” 
  5. You have the choice of bubble or screen effects. Each choice opens the menu of options for that type of messaging.
  6. Once you’ve added the animation you want, simply tap the send button.

After you’ve sent a message with text effects, you can check to see how it looks by tapping the replay button.

Troubleshooting Text Effects

Text effects on iMessage not working? Common reasons for iPhone message effects not working properly include:

1. Recipient not on an iPhone

Remember, your recipient needs to use iMessage to see the effects. If they use Android or are not using the iMessage feature on iPhone, it’s not a problem with your device. Your contact’s phone just isn’t compatible with iPhone text effects.

2. Poor or No Internet Connection

iMessage can also stop working or not work well when you have a spotty connection. You can also try restarting the iMessage app, restarting your iPhone, or both.

3. Apple Device Needs Updating

Of course, if your Apple device is really old, and the software hasn’t been updated since way back before iOS 10 when text effects first came out in 2016, that could also be the problem. If that’s the case, we suggest updating to the latest iOS version. If that doesn’t work, it may be time for a new iPhone. That’s where Navi’s free, unbiased Phone Deal Finder below can help you find the best phone deals you qualify for right now at top carriers. We also keep running lists of the iPhone 15 Deals and iPhone 14 Deals for your convenience.

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The Bottom Line

iPhone text effects are a great way to add personality and exclamation to your text messaging. But you need to be using iMessage to take advantage of them. That being said, back in November 2023, Google Messages rolled out its own version of text effects for Android users.

Whether you’re team iPhone or Android, adding animation is a sure way to up your text game. 

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