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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Can’t access iMessage effects in iOS 10? Here’s the culprit.

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

I’ve heard from a few folks now: they’ve upgraded to iOS 10 but find themselves unable to access the feature that lets you send messages with screen or bubble effects. That ability is usually invoked by force-pressing (if you have a 3D Touch-enabled iPhone) or long-pressing (if you have an iOS device that doesn’t have 3D Touch) on the “Send” arrow in Messages. Some folks are finding when they try that, they get bupkis.

The guilty party is, weirdly enough, an Accessibility feature that many folks enabled when iOS 7 and later added motion effects like parallax: Reduce Motion. For some reason, at present it also takes away that particular feature of Messages.


Here’s how to get your Messages features back. Fire up Settings, go to Accessibility > Reduce Motion and disable that feature. You’ll find long-presses and 3D Touch work just fine in Messages and you can now access those shiny new effects.

Why exactly Apple decided to wire this feature into that particular setting is a bit of a head-scratcher. Other 3D Touch-related features on iOS 10 seem to work just fine even with it enabled. Perhaps the company figures that if you find the parallax animations and the like objectionable, you won’t want to send any fancy motion-related messages to people either. Or perhaps they simply misread the feature as “Reduce Emotion.” It happens.

Hopefully Apple can find a better way to handle that going forward, since there’s really no indication why those Messages features don’t work and how to get them back. Except for this blog post. You’re welcome.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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