It’s possible to respond to a text message straight from the lock screen of your iPhone, or mark a message as read. This is by no means a secret trick, but I have realized that most people I’ve talked to don’t know about this little shortcut, so I thought I would share.
Before we get to the reply trick, it’s helpful to know that all iPhone lock screen notifications are swipe-able. Normally, when you unlock your phone, you swipe at the bottom of your phone’s screen, where it says “slide to unlock”. This will unlock your phone (after you enter passcode, assuming you have one… You do have one, right?) and take you back to wherever you left off.
However, if instead of swiping at the bottom of the screen, you swipe on a notification, you jump straight to that application. If it’s a text message, it will jump to messages. If it’s a twitter mention, it opens twitter. If it’s a Facebook tag, it opens Facebook. Some applications are even smart enough to jump straight to the the message or event that triggered the notification.
This trick has been around since iOS 5, but not everyone has noticed it.
Now, on to to the text message trick. Imagine you have a text message on your lock screen:
With iOS 8, Apple added something new. Rather than swiping from left to right, the way you would to unlock your phone, you can now also swipe right to left. This opens up special lock screen options:
Two buttons appear. The first is a dismiss button, which will mark the message as read and remove the notification from the lock screen. This is great for messages that don’t need a response, and it also saves you from having to go in and mark it as read to clear the badge on your messages app (if you like to keep it clear).
Hitting the “Reply” button will allow you to respond immediately to the message:
Type your response, hit send, and go back to whatever you were doing before.
Text messages aren’t the only applications that have these special lock screen options. Gmail allows you to immediately archive messages, Skype allows you to reply, and so forth. Play around and see what options your apps provide.
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