Tip: Quickly find your recently messaged contacts in Messages on iPhone


A faster way to start a conversation.

While I don’t use SMS text messages much anymore, I did come across a useful tip that I thought I’d share with our audience of iPhone users. If you regularly use the Messages app on iPhone, you can shave a few seconds off the time with said tip. Here’s how it works:

When you’re selecting the person you want to send a message to, tap ‘.’ (the period symbol) to see your most recently messaged contacts. This will not include contacts who messaged you; only those who you messaged yourself.

Screenshot of iOS messages app' new message dialogue.

The function also works with other punctuation like ‘-‘ the hyphen,  ‘/’ the slash, ‘:’ the colon etc. that you see on your symbols keyboard. For inexplicable reasons, it does not work with the ‘$’ symbol, nor the ‘,’ comma.

As a power user and a design enthusiast, I really like this feature. I get a lot of marketing spam messages which push personal messages down the list. Now, I won’t have to scroll to find my most recent, human conversation via SMS.

Which brings me to a tangential discussion…

Also check out: Turn on iMessage read receipts for specific contacts

Do people still use Messages?

Personally speaking, I rarely use the Messages app on my iPhone. Almost all of my communication has shifted to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. SMS is only used in times when I don’t have an Internet connection (which is rare), or I’m unsure if the other person uses the aforementioned apps regularly. iMessage itself is becoming increasingly unpopular because it is an Apple-only service, and provides no great benefits over, again, the aforementioned apps. WhatsApp and Messenger are high-quality, cross-platform apps that work really well.

If you still use Messages today, I predict you won’t be using it in a few years. SMS will die off when everyone starts using 3G/4G services.

With that in mind, the tip I shared in this blog post today is interesting, but not much useful to me.