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Group text messages can be an incredibly convenient way to communicate with several people at once, but it can also be a bit of a headache! Messages has become an extremely versatile app, and knowing some of the tricks to group messaging can easily turn your frustration into one of the most valuable way to talk to a group.

Locating the right group conversation on your phone can be a real struggle, perhaps you’ve even has a similar conversation with two different, yet similar list of names. Consider giving the conversation a name that’s more descriptive than the truncated names of the people in the conversation. On the Mac, just type in the Group Name field; in iOS, pull down on the Details screen to reveal the Group Name field. At any time, you can add more people to the conversation; just click or tap Add Contact and select the desired contacts.

Similarly, people can be removed from the conversation. On the Mac, click the person’s name and press Delete; in iOS, swipe left on their name and tap Delete. Be careful with this feature since there’s no opportunity to confirm the deletion, so you’d have to add any mistakenly deleted people back manually. Plus, the iOS version of Messages doesn’t always let you remove people.

You can even “delete” yourself. If you’ve been included in a group conversation accidentally or ended up in one that doesn’t interest you, click or tap Leave This Conversation at the bottom of the Details screen. Once you’ve left, you can’t get back in without someone else adding you.

Is leaving a little drastic? Perhaps the conversation is just being too chatty while you need to get work done. Turn on Do Not Disturb to mute notifications from the conversation; turn it off again when you’re ready to be alerted to new messages again.

Did you know that everyone in the conversation can send or share their location from an iPhone or iPad? Sending a location is like posting a message saying “I’m at the library now” along with a map to where you are. Sharing your location allows the others to see where you are at all times, for one hour, until the end of the day, or indefinitely. Of course, if you opt to share indefinitely, you can revoke that sharing later.

When anyone in the conversation is sharing their location, a map appears at the top, showing the locations of those who have shared. This is fabulous for keeping track of relatives during family reunions where different groups might head out on separate outings.

Finally, at the bottom of the Details screen, you can see all the attachments that people have shared within the conversation. Messages gives you control over attachments, letting you preview, copy, save, open, delete, and share them. It’s all easy; on the Mac, select attachments and Control/right-click to display a contextual menu, or press the Space bar to invoke Quick Look. In iOS, press and hold on the attachment until additional options appear.

Hopefully with a better understanding of some key features in group messages you’ll find yourself enjoying group conversations more!

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