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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Dealing with the deluge of iMessage apps and stickers

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

iOS 10 will officially launch later today, but the floodgates have already opened for the brand new iMessage apps. If you’re already running iOS 10 by virtue of one of the beta channels, you can now install apps via either the iMessage App Store or by virtue of updating one of your iOS apps which itself includes an iMessage app.

The former can be a bit tricky, hidden as it is several layers deep; the latter can prove a bit overwhelming as all your existing apps add iMessage versions. Good news! I’m here to tell you how to handle both of these things. (Update: For a few more tidbits, check out this story too.)

Installing an iMessage app

Let’s start by running through how to install an app from the iMessage App Store.

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Select a conversation.

  3. Tap the App button next to the text entry field.

  1. Tap the overview1 button (it looks like four dots) in the bottom left of the screen.
  1. Tap the Store button (it has a + on it).
  1. Hey, look! You’re in the iMessage App Store. It’s basically like the normal App Store, but with way more stickers. You can install apps from here just as you would from the iOS App Store, by selecting an app and tapping the button on its page that reads either GET or shows a price. (Yes, some iMessage apps cost money.)

Now that you’ve installed the app, it’s available via that overview button you tapped back in step four.

But as I said up top, this new platform means there’s a bit of a deluge, so I don’t blame you if you want to be a little more selective about which apps you have. So let’s walk through how to weed out your iMessage apps.

Turn off automatic installs or hide specific iMessage apps


By default, iOS 10 installs iMessage apps that accompany the iOS apps you already own. So, for example, apps like Fandango, OpenTable, and Evernote, which now include iMessage apps, will automatically show up in Messages.

If you don’t want those apps to install automatically, or you want to hide iMessage apps that have already been installed, no problem: just follow the above steps for installing apps, but when you get to the iMessage App Store, tap the Manage tab at the top of the screen.

On this screen, you’ll see sliders for Automatically Add Apps as well as for each individual app you have installed. Disabling a particular app will hide it from view in Messages, but you can always turn it on again later.

  1. Overview? Gallery? Menu? I’m not sure exactly what to call it. 

[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 out now.]

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