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Everything new in the iOS 15 Messages app: Shared with you, photo collages, Memoji updates and more

Apple’s FaceTime app was the main focus of many of the iOS 15 updates that were introduced, but the Messages app was not completely forgotten. Apple introduced a new Shared with You feature and streamlined several interface elements to make the Messages experience more enjoyable.

iOS 15 messaging feature
This guide outlines all the new features that Apple added to the Messages app in ‌iOS 15‌ and iPadOS 15.

Shared with you

The most important new feature of the app ‌iOS 15‌ Messages is shared with you, who gather content that people share with you in Messages, in the right apps. So if someone sends a photo, it will appear in a shared with you section of the Photos app.

messaging app shared with you

This is not strictly an addition of Messages because it is actually other apps that have this new section, but it makes Message Content much more accessible and less likely to be forgotten. There are several Shared with you integrations as described below.

  • Photos – When someone sends you a picture in Messages, it is automatically displayed in the Shared with you section of the illPictures‌ app, which is located in “To you.” By tapping an image, you can save it in the photo library, and it has an overview of who sent it. If you tap the name of the person who sent it, it automatically opens the Messages app so you can have a conversation.
  • Safari – Any link sent to you in Safari is saved in the Shared with you section of the home page that opens when you open a new tab. Safari shows a preview of the link so you can see what it’s about, and clicking on the link opens the site.
  • Apple News – A link to an Apple News story sent to you is stored in the Shared with You section, located in the Today tabs and the following in ‌Apple News‌. Stories found in News and Safari are displayed in Shared with you in both apps.
  • Apple Music – Music link sent in Messages appears in the Shared with you section of Apple Music, which is located under Listen Now.
  • Apple Podcasts – If you receive an episode of a Podcast or a link to a show, it’s listed in the Shared With You section of Listen Now in the Apple Podcasts app.
  • Apple TV app – When a friend sends a movie or TV show link over Messages, the TV show or movie appears in the Shared with you section of Watch Now so you can quickly find it.

Shared with you – Continue conversations

In all apps that have a Shared with you section, the content of those sections makes it clear who sent it to you. There are name tags that you can tap to go directly to the Messages app, so you can have a conversation about what was shared. Pressing the name tag on an item shared with you also opens right up to the associated message so you can see the original conversation.

messages shared with you conversation

Shared with you – Content attachment

If someone shares something with you that you certainly do not want to forget, e.g. A photo or a link, you can long press it and select the “Pin” option. Pinned topics first appear in Shared with you, in the Message search and Details view of a Message conversation.

messaging app shared with you, pin

Photo collages

More photos sent in the Messages app now appear as a small photo collage of photos stacked on top of each other. You can tap the collage and swipe through it to see each image in the stack. At the top left of the full-screen interface, you can tap to see all the images in a grid view, and there are also quick access tools to reply, add a tapback reply, download a photo, or share it.

messages photo stack grid

Improved image saving

All photos you send in the Messages app have a small download icon next to them that can be tapped to save them, making it much easier to save a photo that you send to the photo library on your device.

Updated image selector for photos

The ‌Pictures‌ image selector, including the Messaging app, now allows you to select photos in a specific order for sharing.

messages photo view select order

International updates

Apple added a few country-specific features to address spam issues. In Brazil, the device’s intelligence filters unwanted text messages and organizes them into promotional, transactional, and unwanted folders to keep clutter out of the main Messaging inbox.

In India and China, there are options to turn notifications on or off for unknown senders, transactions and promotions, giving users more control over what types of messages are able to send notifications.

New Memoji and Memoji stickers

Memoji used in the Messages app and aceFaceTime‌ have been updated in ‌iOS 15‌ with 40 new outfit choices, an option to choose two different eye colors, new glasses, new headwear options and new accessibility options that include cochlear implants, oxygen tubes and soft helmets.

messaging app memoji

Apple has also added nine new Memoji stickers like handwave and light bulb moment, heart hands and more.

Other messages Tweaks

  • Group message access in FaceTime In ‌FaceTime‌ there is an option to access a group messaging thread with the people you are chatting with.
  • Focus message status – If you have Enabled Focus mode and someone tries to send you an iMessage, they will see a status update telling them that you are in Focus mode. Friends and family can break through the Focus Mode message with an urgent message.
  • Messages Photo search – If you do a search with a contact name included, you can use Spotlight to find photos that the person sent you.
  • Advertise messages in CarPlay – Siri can now announce your incoming messages in CarPlay.

Guide feedback

Do you have questions about messages in ‌iOS 15‌, do you know a feature we have omitted, or would you like to provide feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

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