The iMessage Apps And Stickers That Are Actually Useful

In iOS 10, Apple refreshed its Messages app with a ton of new features. One of those features, an app store specifically for Messages, met with a resounding "meh" from users and a "hurray!" from brands. Good news though, not all of those apps are terrible branded sticker packs. In fact, there are some genuinely useful ones.

App In the Air and TripIt Streamline Sharing Flight Details

If you travel a lot, you probably send your flight info to friends or coworkers. App in the Air (Free) makes this process a little easier. Once you enter your flight details into the app, you can send everything over through Messages in just a couple taps. If the other person has the App in the Air app installed, they can check real-time flight information, but even if they don't, they will get the most recent arrival time and gate information when they need it.

TripIt (Free) also has an app that does the same thing, though the caveat here is that you need a TripIt account for it to be worthwhile. If you do, then it's great, but if you just want to dump your flight number info and send it to a friend, App in the Air doesn't require that you sign up for anything to do so.

Blur/Secret/Confide Send Self-Destructing Images

Self-destructing picture messages were all the rage in insecure saucy messaging apps a few years ago. For those of us who don't want to send nude photos, self-destructing messages are still great for the mindless junk you might message someone throughout the day or the silly "is this what you meant?" photos from the grocery store.

Three free apps do the job of ephemeral messaging pretty well. As the name suggests, Blur (Free) blurs out an image before you send it, then allows you to set the amount of time before it deletes itself. Secret for iMessage (Free) does the exact same, but also lets you draw on the picture like you can with something like Snapchat. Confide (Free) works a little differently. To view images you have to move your finger across the screen to reveal small portions of it at a time, so it's impossible to screenshot the whole thing.

Whichever option you choose, both people need the apps installed to use it, but they're free and work without signing up for any additional accounts.

Versus Asks Your Recipient to Compare Two Images

Whether you're a designer looking for feedback on two different designs or you're trying to pick out the best outfit at the store, it's pretty common to ask someone for A or B feedback between two images. Versus (Free) is an app made for just that. Yes, you can always just send two images, but Versus makes it a little easier and puts the two options side-by-side.

If the recipient also has the app installed, they get a little poll where they can tap the one they like more, but if not, it's still sent as an image file that's easy to glance at.

Polls with Friends Makes Group Decisions a Little Easier

If you use group texts to organise any type of outing, then Polls with Friends (Free) might prove useful for organising where or when to go somewhere. As the name suggests, it's a polling app where everyone in a group text can cast a vote.

For example, create a poll with several restaurants, then send it out. Once everyone votes, you can continue making your plans from there. It's certainly not something most of us will need often, but it's useful when trying to get a mass of people to decide on something. You get three polls for free before you have to pay, so it's a worth a look if you're in charge of organising gatherings a lot.

ETA Quickly Lets Everyone Know When You'll Arrive

One of the most common text messages most of us send is our arrival time when we're heading somewhere. Some mapping apps, like Waze, integrate ETA messaging into the app itself, but if you don't use Waze, or if you're taking another form of transportation, then ETA ($4.49) is worth a look.

ETA isn't exactly a mapping app. Instead, it just tells you how far away from any given point you are at any point. So, after you enter your home address in ETA, it will always tell you how far away from home you are via car, foot or bus. The iMessage app lets you instantly send that data to a friend. Even better, if you're both meeting someplace, they can tap back to send their arrival time as well.


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