10 useful iMessage apps for busy people

This collection of useful iMessage apps should help you get things done more easily when you have other things to do.

Apple, iOS, iO 11, iMessages,  apps, Business Chat, iPhone

While I think it’s true to say iMessage apps are a promise that’s still waiting to be kept, I’ve little doubt we’ll see these lightweight apps become more important — and more ambient — in the future

What are iMessage apps, and how do I use them?

iMessage apps are available from the App Store for Messages.

You find the store and access those apps you have already installed by tapping the App Drawer icon left of the text entry window in an active iMessage. Tap the App Store to find new apps. Apple includes a few default apps — Recents, Music, Digital Touch, GIF images, and Apple Pay (where available).

To use an app, just tap its icon. To manage the visible apps, swipe to the right of the App Drawer and press ..., here you can edit which apps will be available. Here is Apple’s page about using Messages apps.

iMessage apps that are available


The companion app to a more fully-featured iPhone app, this useful little app will translate what you are trying to write into the language of your choice. This can be pretty useful if you are attempting to negotiate with a company or hotel by SMS when travelling, for example. Find it here.

Dropbox and Onedrive

The Dropbox and OneDrive iPhone apps also provide iMessage apps you can use. Just open up Dropbox/OneDrive from the apps available in the App Drawer, navigate to the file you want to share, and tap Send. If the recipient has the app installed on their device, they’ll open it in the app; otherwise, the file opens using their browser.

Square Cash

There’s more to life than Apple Pay, and Square Cash lets you send money to your contacts from inside iMessage. The nice thing about Square Cash is that it lets you send money to people outside of Apple’s ecosystem, and they don’t even need a Square account to accept the dollars you send them. (Circle Pay is also worth a look.)

App in the Air

If you travel a lot, then you’ll like App in the Air. It makes it super-easy to share your flight itinerary with others — just tap the flight, and all the information (flight number, departure and arrival time) will be made available to you for you to share in a message. This is a much easier way to send this information when you’re on the move or can’t use regular email.


If you travel as a group, OpenTable helps you all agree on where to eat. Sales team at a conference? Just find a restaurant you like, and you can share a list of several suggestions to others in your group, you can then all vote on the ones you like to arrive at a decision. You can even reserve a table from inside the app. Eating out?


The Scanbot iPhone app is already quite useful, as it lets you scan and keep all the documents you’ll ever need — great for expenses and tax returns. It also offers an iMessage app. Use it to scan an item and send it within a message, which may come in useful when requesting more money from the accounts department while on location.

Google Search and Google Maps

You may sometimes need to share information with someone who doesn’t yet use DuckDuckGo by default or doesn’t use an iOS device. That’s where Google may be of some help. Once you have the relevant app (Search and/or Maps), it will then be made available as an iMessage app. Google Search lets you share search results with others in a message, while Maps lets you share location.


When you travel you need to stay somewhere. AirBnB’s iMessage integration makes it easy to choose where you will stay in an iMessage thread. You can share images and basic information about a place, and click through for deeper insights.


Beyond AirBnB, Kayak lets you search for cars, flights and places to stay. The iMessage app lets you share these within a conversation. It’s really good if you are attempting to get a group of people onto the same flight or into the same hotel.

Coming soon: Business Chat

Apple has created a smart iMessages system called Business Chat, a service that lets consumers speak with businesses via SMS on their devices. Available in iOS 11.3, Business Chat also provides useful extensions that companies can use when they build their systems, such as scheduling, list picking, and payments tools. In the future, you will sometimes use these to interact with the companies and services you need.

Have you come across any useful iMessages apps? Please let me know.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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