Big Sur – Messages App Gets a Boost

Big Sur leans more toward iOS than any previous Mac operating system; combining the best of both worlds from the desktop and the mobile systems. Messages is one of the most overhauled apps that feature in Big Sur and is in line with the version on iOS 14.

The Messages app has been completely rewritten to be based on Apple’s Catalyst technology. Originally called Project Marzipan, Catalyst is designed to help developers bring iOS app experiences to the Mac desktop and prevent the underlying software code being written twice. As such, the new Messages has the same capabilities as the iOS 14 version, giving you all the necessary tools to stay in control of the conversation.

Messages: Redesigned

With new Messages you’re able to pin up to nine conversations to keep them at the top of your conversation list. The pinned conversation appears as circular icons and there are new indicators that inform you if someone is typing. Plus, you’re able to sync your pins across your iPhone, iPad and Mac. You can include mentions with Messages now, so if you’re having a conversation you can send a direct message to someone simply by entering their name. You’re even able to customise a group conversation so that you’re only notified if your name is mentioned.

Group chats are where all the action is. Groups can be customised with photos and Memoji and made to be more personalised across a set of people. Group conversations are much easier to keep track of and thanks to the new look User Interface, the Messages window is clearer while still being bold and colourful.

Need more Big Sur help? Check out the brand new Big Sur Manual

Conversations in Messages can now be brightened up with the addition of Memoji stickers. There are several default options to choose from and can be added directly into any individual or group conversation. You can even edit your own Memoji with the new Memoji Editor.

The Memoji Editor is a first for macOS and with it you can create a huge array of Memojis characterising a range of emotional responses. It’s one of those additions that will probably keep you entertained for hours – while you probably should be working!

Among the new photo picker options is the ability to include trending images. Labelled as Images, popular images and GIFs can be added to any individual or group conversation. You can also search for anything in particular using the box at the top of the Image window.

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Ian Osborne

Ian has worked on computer and video games magazines since the legendary Crash and Zzap! 64 in the early Nineties, so he’s seen many changes over the years (including an expanding waistline and receding hairline). A lifelong Mac user, he bought his first Mac in the year 2000. It’s a testament to the resilience of the Mac that his mother is still using that computer to this very day.

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