During its annual Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this week, Apple unveiled new features for its phones, laptops and watches, as well as changes to much of the iPhone software - the system that makes your phone look all sleek and innovative.
According to BuzzFeed, this will be the first "significant update in years" for iMessage, even though it's the most commonly used part of the current Apple software. This upgrade - which looks to compete with the dominant Facebook Messenger and a host of other messaging apps - will create new features that you and your family can surely enjoy.
As I've written about previously, one of the best ways for families and friends to communicate is through text messaging. For families, group texts certainly do the job, as they allow family members to openly communicate about family news without having to dig through their Facebook and Instagram feeds.
"It works well for logistical stuff," Lizzie O'Leary, host of American Public Media's Marketplace Weekend, told Caroline Moss of her own group family text. "We are all up in each other's business a lot. But in a loving way."
The study, which gave 367 young adults from 18 to 29 years old a survey about what texting and apps mean to them, found that they have even happier relationships with their folks when they communicate through two or more smartphone mediums, like texting and Snapchat, or Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, for example.
"A lot of parents might resist new technologies. They don't see the point in them, or they seem like a lot of trouble," doctoral student Jennifer Schon, who helped with the study, told CTV News. "But this study shows while it might take some work and learning, it would be worth it in the end if you are trying to have a good relationship with your adult child."
With these new iMessage features, the experience of texting your family and friends will only change for the better. Not only will families build better relationships, but also have a funner experience while doing so.
Here's a look at five of the new features with examples of how they'll affect you and your spouse.
Family example: Waking up can be kind of lonely without your spouse, who may have stepped out to work early or may be on vacation. So when you're still groggy and can't text your love for them, scribble a message that they can find endearing and playful.
2. Full-screen animations
The new iMessage software will have backgrounds that glow, shake and explode with colors. Think of the live backgrounds for your phone's home screen, but in your text conversations.
Family example: Let's say it's your spouse's birthday, but they have to work. This new feature allows you to make their day better anyway. Send them a "happy birthday" text and bam: the entire screen will become animated with balloons.
Family example: Let's say you're surprising your spouse with a fancy dinner, but don't want to wait until they come home to see it. Send them the invisible ink photo and let them swipe for the surprise.
5. The "emojifies" method
As Bustle reported, this new feature predicts your emojis. It does so in two ways. When you type a word or phrase that has a corresponding emoji, iMessage will suggest that emoji to you in its predictive text box. Otherwise, you can highlight a word and it'll replace it with an emoji.
Family example: Anytime you want your spouse to pray but don't want to seem too harsh about it, send them the word "prayer" and click the emoji. Or, if you want your spouse to pick up some pizza from the store, write it out and then send them the pizza emoji so that they know what they have to do next.