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How do you customize iMessage on iOS 14?

iMessage is the default messaging app on iPhones and allows users to send texts, photos, videos and more to other iOS users. With iOS 14, Apple has added several new ways to customize and personalize your iMessage experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through all the ways you can tailor iMessage to your liking on iOS 14.

Ways to Customize iMessage

Here are some of the key ways you can customize iMessage on iOS 14:

  • Change the iMessage app icon
  • Add photos or emoji to contacts
  • Customize memoji
  • Create iMessage profiles
  • Use bubble effects
  • Choose backgrounds and wallpapers
  • Change incoming and outgoing message styles
  • Set message effects
  • Add stickers, GIFs and more

In the sections below, we’ll go into more detail on each of these iMessage customization options and how you can leverage them to make your messaging experience more fun and personal.

Changing the iMessage App Icon

A simple way to customize the look of iMessage is by changing the app icon. Here are the steps to change your iMessage app icon on iOS 14:

  1. Go to your iPhone’s home screen and hold down on the iMessage app icon until all the apps start to wiggle.
  2. Tap the small “x” that appears in the top left corner of the iMessage app.
  3. A popup will appear asking you to confirm that you want to remove the app. Tap “Remove.”
  4. The iMessage icon will disappear from your home screen.
  5. Open the App Store on your iPhone and search for “iMessage.”
  6. Tap on the iMessage app listing and tap “Get.”
  7. The iMessage app will re-download with the default icon.
  8. Hold down on the new iMessage icon until the editing menu appears.
  9. Tap “Add to Home Screen.”
  10. You’ll now see a preview of the iMessage icon. Tap on the icon image to open your photos and select a custom image.
  11. Choose an image from your phone and crop it to fit the icon frame.
  12. Tap “Add” and the new customized icon will appear on your home screen!

You can choose any image from your Camera Roll to make a unique iMessage icon. Just keep in mind the image will be cropped to a square shape. Have fun customizing your icon!

Adding Photos and Emoji to Contacts

Another great way to personalize your iMessage experience is by adding photos, emoji or even Memoji to your contacts. This puts a face to your conversations and makes chatting more fun. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Contacts app and select the contact you want to customize.
  2. Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner.
  3. Tap the default silhouette icon next to the contact’s name.
  4. You’ll see options to take a new photo with the camera, select an existing photo from your library or choose an emoji.
  5. Select your prefered image or emoji.
  6. Tap “Done” to set the new contact photo.

Now when you get a message from that contact, you’ll see their photo or emoji displayed on the conversation screen. It’s an easy way to add some personality to your chats!

Customizing Your Memoji

Memoji are personalized animated avatars you can create to represent yourself. They were introduced in iOS 12, but you can now customize them further in iOS 14.

To customize an existing Memoji:

  1. Open Messages and tap the Memoji sticker icon near the text box.
  2. Tap the three dots next to your current Memoji sticker.
  3. Tap “Edit” to enter the Memoji customization screen.
  4. From here, you can change hairstyles, facial features, eye color, accessories and more.
  5. Tap “Done” when finished customizing.

Your Memoji will be updated with the new look across all of Messages and FaceTime. You can continue to customize it any time. iOS 14 also added options to customize Memoji teeth, headwear and more.

Creating iMessage Profiles

You can create different profiles in iMessage that allow you to share name, photos and customize the messages that are displayed when someone in your contact list starts a new conversation with you. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Open Messages and tap your profile icon in the top left corner.
  2. Tap “Create Profile.”
  3. Choose a name, photo, Memoji or emoji to represent your profile.
  4. Customize the “From” details that will display when someone starts a new chat with you.
  5. Tap “Done” to create the profile.

Now you can create multiple profiles for different personas or purposes, like separate profiles for work and personal messaging. iOS 14 allows you to easily switch between profiles right from the Messages app.

Using Bubble Effects

Bubble effects apply fun animations to your message bubbles, making conversations a bit more lively. Here are the steps to use bubble effects in iOS 14:

  1. When composing a message to someone, tap and hold the blue send button.
  2. A menu will popup – tap “Bubble Effects.”
  3. Swipe through the different bubble animations to preview them.
  4. Tap your desired effect to select it.
  5. The animation will display on the message bubble when you send your message.

Some fun bubble effects include confetti, balloons, fireworks and more. It’s a neat way to jazz up your iMessage threads! The recipient will be able to view the customized bubble too.

Choosing iMessage Wallpapers

You can customize the background of your iMessage app using different wallpapers. Follow these steps to change your iMessage wallpaper:

  1. Open Messages and tap your profile icon in the top left.
  2. Tap “New Message Background.”
  3. Browse the wallpaper options. You’ll see a range of colorful gradients, patterns, textures and abstract designs.
  4. Tap on a wallpaper to preview it behind your messages.
  5. Once you’ve chosen a background, tap “Set” to apply it.

Your iMessage background will be changed. Feel free to switch it up often for a fresh look! You can also snap a photo with your camera and set that as a custom wallpaper.

Customizing Incoming/Outgoing Message Styles

For even more personalization, you can separately customize the incoming and outgoing message bubble styles. Here’s how:

For your outgoing messages:

  1. Go to Settings > Messages.
  2. Tap “Text Bubbles” under “Messages Customization.”
  3. Select your preferred style, like Gradient, Solid Color, etc.

And for incoming messages from contacts:

  1. Go back to Settings > Messages.
  2. Tap “Text Bubble – Received” under “Messages Customization.”
  3. Pick a style for received messages.

Now your incoming and outgoing texts will have distinct styles for a bit of extra flair. Don’t forget to also customize the wallpaper for the complete personalized messaging experience.

Using Message Effects

Message effects add some fun flair when sending messages. There are several effects to choose from:

  • Slam – Makes the message appear to slam down onto the screen.
  • Loud – Enlarges the message text momentarily.
  • Gentle – The message slowly drifts down from above.
  • Invisible Ink – Obscures the message text temporarily.

To use message effects in iOS 14:

  1. Compose a new message or go to an existing thread.
  2. Tap and hold the blue send button.
  3. Tap “Message Effects” from the menu.
  4. Swipe through the different effects and select one.
  5. The chosen effect will animate your message bubble on send.

Have fun mixing and matching bubble effects, wallpapers, and message styles for even more ways to customize chats!

Adding Stickers, GIFs and More

Stickers, GIFs, emoji and photos are great ways to express yourself in Messages. iOS 14 makes it easier to find and use them when messaging.

To access your full sticker collection in Messages:

  1. Tap the App Store icon above your keyboard.
  2. You’ll see tabs for your Most Recent, Stickers, Emoji and GIFs.
  3. Tap any category to add stickers and GIFs directly to your conversation.

You can also tap the star icon to access your Favorite images. iOS 14 allows you to quickly find your most-used visual content to make your conversations more dynamic.


As you can see, iOS 14 provides tons of ways to tailor your iMessage experience through customizable bubbles, wallpapers, Memoji, visual effects and more. Take some time to explore all the personalization and sharing options. With just a few tweaks, you can make your messaging threads pop and better reflect your style. Have fun crafting custom chats!