Apple’s iMessage is one of the main reasons for using an iPhone, and you can do a lot in chats without being overly complicated. But there is one problem that keeps driving people crazy, and that is the blue typing bubble indicator with the moving ellipse (•••). Can you stop it? Not officially, but there are workarounds.
Aside from the message bubbles being blue instead of green, the typing bubble is one of the most iMessage-like features out there, something some users would never think of to hide. But for other users, it’s just plain annoying, and it’s easy to see why.
Why you should have the option to hide it
When you are in an iMessage conversation and you see the typing bubbles appear, you can wait for them to send their message before saying anything else. Since the typing indicator shows up to 60 seconds whether they continue or stop typing, it can feel like a long wait, and then it’s just “poof” – disappears.
Yes, they can still type, and you can wait and wait with built-up anticipation, but you may never see what they were typing, making conversation thread one of the most frustrating aspects of your day. The ellipsis (•••) may disappear quickly after typing if they delete everything and return to the chat list, for example, but that can still lead you to think something is coming your way.
If you don’t want others to feel that way, the best way is to make sure you don’t put that typing warning in your conversation. Plus, leaving them out takes the pressure out of having to respond right away, and you can pretend you didn’t see their messages until later, when you’re ready to send your reply.
There is no on / off switch for the type designation as in “Send Read Receipts”, but there are a few simple solutions.
Option 1: Temporarily turn off iMessage
First, you could go to Settings -> Messages and then turn off “iMessage”, but that can mess up iMessage if there are bugs. If you have the guts and want to experiment with that, go ahead. After disabling iMessage, type your message and re-enable iMessage when done. Then you can send your message when you are ready.
Option 2: Temporarily turn on airplane mode
Another way to prevent Apple’s servers from knowing that you are typing is to interrupt your communication. From the Control Center, you can turn off cellular data and Wi-Fi, but it’s much easier to hit the Airplane Mode button, which will kill both radios.
Then you can type the iMessage thread without worrying about giving yourself away. Once you start typing, you can go back to Control Center and turn off Airplane mode, then go back to the message and continue typing, and the ellipsis bubble will still not appear on the other side.
This works because the Messages app only sends the typing signal to the recipient after the first character, so if there are already characters in the box that are offline, the indicator will not be sent to the recipient.
Option 3: Start a new thread
A sneaky way to prevent the typing bubble from showing your activity is to leave the current thread you’re in, tap the compose button in the message list to start a new iMessage and start typing your message. Since iOS does not yet know who you are sending the message to, no typing indicators are shown to anyone. When done, add the contact and send.
However, the only thing that isn’t helpful about this is that it isn’t saved as a draft in the iMessage thread, so you have to send it right away or leave it.
Option 4: Remove the thread and start over
This method is a good option only if you don’t mind deleting everything in the current thread. That means that texts, photos, videos, links, locations, documents and other data will be gone unless you save them first.
To delete the thread, long press the thread in the main message list, press “Delete” and then press “Delete” again. You can also swipe left on the chat from the list, hit the trash can button, then tap “Delete”.
Then tap the compose button to start a new iMessage, add the contact and start typing. Since it is a new thread on your end, they will not receive typing alerts on their end, whether from their message list or in the thread itself. So you can add the contact before or after you start typing – it doesn’t matter here, like option 3 above.
Option 5: Use Siri to type your message
You can also call Siri directly from the iMessage thread you are in and dictate what you want to type. Long press the side or home button or say “Hey Siri”, then say “Type message” and record your message. When you’re done, Siri asks who you want to send it to; say the name of the contact. Then say something like “Yes,” “OK,” or “Send” when asked if you are ready to send it.
You can also start it by saying, “Send message to [contact’s name], “please list your message before letting Siri send it. Either way it works. However, as with the previous two options, you can’t save it as a draft in the iMessage thread, so you’ll either need to send it before Siri closes or forget it.
Messages sent with Siri will say “Send with Siri” on the recipient’s side, for your information.
Are there any other ways?
Not that I’ve seen it yet, but if I’ve missed one, let me know. Dictation (the microphone button in Messages) will not prevent the typing bubble from appearing on the receiver side, nor will it use voice control or a third party keyboard. But there may be other ways to hide the typing bubble from people you iMessaging with; we just have to find them first.
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