How to Get iMessage Apps and Stickers for iPhone

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iMessage Apps Explained

getting iMessage apps for iPhone
image credit: franckreporter/E+/Getty Images

Texting has always been one of the most popular things to do with the iPhone and Apple's Messages app has made it easy and secure. But over the years, other texting apps have cropped up that offer all kinds of cool features, like the ability to add stickers to texts.

In iOS 10, Messages got all those features and then some thanks to iMessage apps. These are apps just like the ones you get from the App Store and install on your iPhone. The only difference? Now there's a special iMessage App Store built into Messages and you install the apps right into the Messages app. 

In this article, you'll learn what you need, how to get iMessage apps and how to use them.

iMessage Apps Requirements

In order to use iMessage apps, you need:

  • An iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 10 or higher
  • A phone or data plan that supports texting
  • An Apple ID with a valid form of payment.

Texts with iMessage App content in them can be sent to users of iPhones, Androids, or other devices that receive texts.

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What Kinds of iMessage Apps Are Available

iMessage App Categories

The types of iMessage apps you can get are almost as varied as in the traditional App Store. Some common types of apps you'll find include:

  • Sticker packs to add images, animations, and other visual excitement to your texts
  • iMessage apps connected to apps you already have installed on your phone, like OpenTable, Evernote, or ESPN. These are cool because they let you access data from those apps in Messages without open the other apps
  • Games
  • Tools for shopping, travel, and more. 

At least one app that comes built into the iOS also has an app: Music. Its app lets you send songs to other people via Apple Music

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How to Get iMessage Apps for iPhone

the iMessage App Store

Ready to grab some iMessage apps and start using them to make your texts more fun and more useful? Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Messages.
  2. Tap an existing conversation or start a new message.
  3. Tap App Store. It's the icon that looks like an "A" next to the iMessage or Text Message field at the bottom.
  4. Tap the four-dot icon at the bottom left.
  5. Tap Store. The icon looks like a +.
  6. Browse or Search the iMessage App Store for an app you want.
  7. Tap the app you want.
  8. Tap Get or the price (if the app is paid)
  9. Tap Install or Purchase.
  10. You may be asked to enter your Apple ID. If you are, do so. How quickly your app downloads depends on your Internet connection speed.
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How to Use iMessage Apps for iPhone

Using iMessage Apps on iPhone

Once you've got some iMessage apps installed, it's time to start using them! Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open an existing conversation or start a new one in the Messages. 
  2. Tap the A icon next to the iMessage or Text Message box at the bottom
  3. There are two ways to access apps: Recents and All.

    Messages defaults to Recents. These are the iMessage apps you've used most recently. Swipe left and right to left to move through your recently used apps.

    You can also tap the four-dot icon on the bottom left to see all of your iMessage apps.
  4. When you've found the app you want to use, you can either select the items that are shown to you or tap the up arrow at the bottom right to see more options
  5. In some apps, you can also search for content (Yelp is a good example of this. Use the iMessage App to search for a restaurant or other info without going out to the full Yelp app and then share it via text). 
  6. When you've found the thing you want to send – either from the default options in the app or by searching for it – tap it and it will be added to the area where you write messages. Add text if you want and send it as you normally would.
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How to Manage and Delete iMessage Apps

manage and remove iMessage apps

Installing and using iMessage Apps isn't the only thing you need to know how to do. You also need to know how to manage and delete the apps if you no longer want them. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open Messages and a conversation.
  2. Tap the A icon.
  3. Tap the four-dot icon in the bottom left.
  4. Tap Store.
  5. Tap Manage. On this screen, you can do two things: automatically add new apps and hide existing ones.

As previously mentioned, some apps that you already have installed on your phone may also have iMessage Apps as companions. If you want the iMessage versions of those apps to be automatically installed on your phone for any current or future apps, move the Automatically Add Apps slider to on/green

To hide an app, but not delete it, move the slider next to the app to off/white. It won't appear in Messages until you turn it back on.

To delete apps:

  1. Follow the first three steps above.
  2. Tap and hold the app you want to delete until all the apps start shaking.
  3. Tap the X on the app you want to delete and the app will be deleted.
  4. Press the iPhone's Home button to save your changes and stop the apps shaking.