Returning to iMessage from Facebook Messenger

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I’m not exactly a Facebook hater – I just want to make sure I use it as if I signed up for it today and was finding its purpose, instead of just out of habit. I want to be more conscious about it.

For that reason, years ago I unliked everything and “unfollowed” all but about a dozen close family and friends from my main newsfeed, and made a few FB lists for e.g. work, other family etc.

The last bit that really stuck around being used how Facebook intended though, is Facebook Messenger.

I want an IM system that:

  • Works native on all platforms I use (iPad, iPhone, Mac (bonus for Watch/ HomePod.)
  • So that I don’t have to reply on phone unless I’m desperate (I hate typing messages on phone, makes me angry.)
  • And is still fun – has apps and toys, because that’s part of communicating for me. I like to gif.

WhatsApp is out because its performance is so terrible and inconsistent on Desktop/ iPad. Also doesn’t seem to have a real platform for Giphy etc, beyond native integration.

Anything where I have to force people to download another app is out – Signal and co are installed but I won’t be using them day to day.

That leaves iMessage to try.

And here’s how it’s going:

  • Nice to forget about read receipts unless you want to turn them on. The stress of someone knowing if I have seen their message or not, and therefore knowing I need to reply, kills me. I hate it. On iMessage, my wife gets it, or I’ll send my own holding message where relevant. It’s back in my control.
  • The fun stuff works – Giphy, stickers, Animoji even. The integrations are direct in the OS level so I can send a useful CityMapper link more directly or an address in Google Maps.
  • On mobile I can just lift my phone and send a voice message. No more typing away in frustration (although admittedly it’s easier now on iPhone X than my old SE.)
  • It’s end-to-end encrypted by default. Not an option you need to turn on, not one you can turn off. It just is. I don’t actually particularly care about this but it kind of demonstrates the length to which Apple has gone in money where mouth is here.
  • It doesn’t feel disruptive at all. This is the key thing. I haven’t had to tell anyone to download anything. I can still communicate with Android friends (Hooray for SMS!)
  • International seems to be the only downside. I think the Animoji I sent my friend in USA yesterday probably means I owe him a beer.

Returning to iMessage from Facebook Messenger was originally published in Good Ideas, Bad Ideas & Question Marks on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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