Max holds a B.S. in mass communications from SIU, an M.A. in communications from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.
Most people don't realize they actually have a great deal of control over how text messages are displayed on their iPhone. You can actually choose from two different types of appearance options for text message notification bubbles, or you can elect to not have a bubble appear at all.
Additionally, you can choose whether or not the notification bubble displays a message preview, how many message notifications appear, whether or not to display message notification bubbles while the iPhone is locked, and more.
How to Change my iPhone Text Message Notification Display
- Tap the "Settings" app on your iPhone home screen.
- Tap "Notifications" and then tap "Messages." You'll arrive at the Messages screen.
- Tap the ON/OFF toggle to the right of Allow Notifications until it is shaded green to turn on and activate notifications on your iPhone.
- Move the Show Notifications toggle to the ON position to display notifications for messages that you receive in your iPhone's notification center.
- Tap the text to the right of Sound to navigate to the Sounds screen. On the Sounds screen, tap "Vibration" to display a screen where you can either choose a default vibration type, opt to create your own vibration type in the Custom section, or choose "None" if you don't want any vibration notification for new messages. If you do opt to select a vibration, you'll feel a preview of that vibration on your iPhone. Tap "Messages" in the upper-left corner after making your selection to navigate back to the Messages screen.
- Turn on Badge App Icon to display a red indicator in the upper-right corner of the Messages app that displays the number of unread messages you have.
- Enable Show on Lock Screen to view your text message alerts in your iPhone's lock screen.
- Select "Show Previews" and choose whether or not you want a snippet of each text message to be displayed in the text message notification bubble. You can set this to always show a message preview, whether the iPhone is unlocked or not, or only show message previews when the device is unlocked. Tap "Message" in the upper-left corner after making your selection.
- Tap "Repeat Alerts" to open the Repeat Alerts window. Choose from Never, Once, Twice, 3 Times, 5 Times, or 10 Times to define how many times you want unread message alerts to be repeated. Message alerts will be repeated every two minutes until they've appeared the designated number of times, or until you open the message. Tap "Messages" in the upper-left corner of the Show window after making your selection to return to the Messages window.
Process for Altering How Text Messages Are Displayed in Messages App
- Tap to open the "Messages" app.
- Click the "New Message" icon in the upper-right corner of your screen.
- Enter the name or phone number of someone else who has an iPhone that you want to send a text message to.
- Enter the message you want to send to the other person. While entering your message, you'll notice the microphone icon on the right side of the text entry box turns into a blue, upward-pointing arrow icon.
- Press and hold your finger against the upward-pointing arrow icon until the Send with Effect screen appears. You'll see four options for modifying how the text of your message appears to the recipient. Selecting "Slam" causes your message text to fly onto the user's screen. Choosing "Loud" causes your test to appear momentarily large and shake before reverting to normal size. Selecting "Gentle" causes your text to initially appear small and get slowly larger. Choosing "Invisible Ink" causes your text to be blurred out by dots that will only be visible after the recipient rubs a finger against them, making the text readable.
- Tap "Screen" in the tabs at the top of the Send with Effect screen to see available background effects that can be added. Swipe from right to left to cycle the seven available options, and then from right to left to work back to the beginning of those options. Available backgrounds include balloons, hearts, lasers, confetti, and more.
- Send your message to the recipient, who will only see the additional display options if they also have an iPhone.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Max Dalton
Mary Beth on November 06, 2018:
How can I changes my messages to display just one or two lines and not the 3 it’s showing? I saw that somewhere but can’t seem to find it now and somehow it changed to a 3 line display.
adjusting to get the newest text message at the bottom :( on January 15, 2017:
Updated my iphone 6s and the text messages are coming in reversed. I have to scroll to the top of the messages to see the newest message. Pain in the butt! Any quick fixes?
Max Dalton (author) from Greater St. Louis, Missouri on January 10, 2016:
Happy to help.
Rajesh Bhuin from India on June 02, 2015:
I did not know that so much customization can be done on iPhone for message display. I always love to know something new.
Eunice Elizabeth from Vancouver, BC on October 23, 2012:
Hi Max...you are clearly brilliant in all things apple.
Nice to meet you and thanks for the great tips.
voted useful & up