iMessage has been something of a revelation for Apple. Not only is it a sleek and reliable messaging platform, but it’s also proven to be one of the features that will keep people in the Apple ecosystem as they don’t want to lose their blue bubble. But even with RCS on the way next year, there’s always room for improvement. With this in mind, the following WhatsApp features would be a great addition to Messages in iOS 18.
Hide and lock chats
One of the newest features WhatsApp has introduced is being able to hide your locked chats away from your normal discussion list and have them only appear when you enter your password. Not only does this mean you can stop people from seeing certain conversations if they get hold of your phone, but they won’t even know they’re there.
At the moment, the closest you can get to hiding a conversation on iMessage is to delete it. There’s no option to password-protect conversations on iMessage, let alone make it disappear. The only option is to use a clumsy ScreenTime hack to prevent access to iMessage, but that locks the whole app. As Apple likes to go on about its privacy and security prowess, adding this feature to iMessage would seem an obvious next step.
Another helpful feature on WhatsApp is broadcast lists. These work by creating a list of people, which can then be sent the same message without needing to repeat it several times. Ah, but that’s just like Group iMessage, you might say. Well, it’s not.
With Group iMessage, the clue’s in the name as anything you send is placed in the group chat for all the recipients. Broadcasts are different, as the message you send appears in each person’s chat with you, not in a group. So, it’s just like sending multiple private messages to lots of people, rather than carrying on a group conversation. It’s sort of like the HomePod’s Intercom features but for texts.
Show active status
This is a simple but really helpful little feature that has been on WhatsApp for years. When you open the app and look up a contact, you’re told the last time the person was active on the service. It’s basic but is great for letting you know if someone is around or hasn’t opened WhatsApp for a while and isn’t just ignoring you.
While iMessage lets you know when someone has read your latest text or if they have notifications muted, it doesn’t tell you their active status. In iOS 17, Apple introduced Check In, which automatically lets someone know when you’ve reached a particular destination, so adding an option status should be a logical next step.
Set messages to disappear
Snapchat may have been the one to pioneer disappearing messages, but WhatsApp has adopted the feature into its app as well. The idea is simple: Specify how long you want the messages to remain available (24 hours, 7 days, or 90 days), then anything you send will be automatically deleted from the recipient’s chat when the time elapses.
This means that you retain some control over the messages, even after you’ve sent them, which again is another neat feature that would be welcome in iMessage. (There is an auto-delete option in Messages, but turning it on doesn’t remove messages you’ve sent, it only moves them into a Recently Deleted folder on your phone.)
Export messages to email
If you want to preserve your conversations for eternity or use them in another app, you’ll need to copy and paste each individual message or take a lengthy screenshot. Some third-party apps can export messages, but WhatsApp has built exporting functionality right into its app, which would be a welcome addition to iMessage. There have been more than a few times when we needed to save a conversation, and a simple Export option would save us a lot of trouble.