(Pocket-lint) - Apple's Messages app offers multiple methods of inputting iMessages from handwritten notes to Apple Watch's Digital Touch feature. Users are also able to react to individual messages, reply to specific messages, and customise how the receiver sees the messages you send.
One of the most exciting features in Messages is the App Store integration though - introduced in iOS 10 several years ago. This feature allows you to download third-party apps and share information from them without having to leave the Messages app at all, whether that's scanning a document or sharing your location.
Here is how to access, download and install iMessage apps, along with the best ones to download.
How to download, install and manage iMessage apps
You'll see a grey App Store icon to the left of the input field when you start a new iMessage or open a message thread. After a tap on the grey App Store icon, a bar will appear below with the blue App Store icon. Tapping on the blue Apple Store icon will take you to the App Store designed specifically for Messages.
From here, you will find featured apps at the top, along with sectioned apps, such as Sticker apps, Travel apps, Games and Productivity apps, among others. There's also a search icon at the top of the App Store page, allowing you to search for any app in the App Store for Messages.
To download an iMessage app: Find the iMessage app you want and tap 'Get', as you would in the normal App Store. After it's downloaded, you'll see it appear in the iMessage app drawer/bar below the input field in a new iMessage. You can swipe across the bar to see more iMessage apps you've downloaded.
To manage iMessage apps: Tap on the grey App Store icon to show the iMessage app drawer below the input field. You'll then need to swipe across to the far right of the drawer until you hit the 'More' icon with three grey dots in a white circle. Tap on the 'More' icon and you'll be taken to the managing screen where you'll be able to toggle apps on and off, as well as delete iMessage apps by tapping 'Edit' in the top right corner.
Which iMessage apps should you download first?
There are a number of iMessage apps available, but we have picked some of our favourites for you to try first.
GamesPigeon is great for playing a range of games with friends straight from the Messages app. You can play 8-ball, Mini Golf, Basketball, Archery, Darts and plenty more. Fun for days.
Google Maps allows you to send your location to a friend directly from Messages. A little map will appear and the recipient will be able to click on it and get directions to you.
The Dropbox iMessages app lets you easily share Dropbox files directly through the Messages app so you can send a folder full of your holiday photos to family and friends, for example.
The OpenTable iMessages app allows you to suggest restaurants, vote on favourites and book a table all from the Messages app.
Who doesn't love Hangman? The Hangman app has over 90,000 words and you can play directly with a friend in the Messages app.
The iTranslate iMessage app allows you to write something in your language and send it with the translation to the recipient's language appearing underneath. No more lost in translation.
Planning a trip away? The Airbnb iMessage app allows you to share homes with friends and vote for a group favourite.
The ScanBot iMessage app enables you to scan a document directly in the Messages app and send it. No need more coming out of the app, opening another app and having to go back in to attach.
The CityMapper iMessage app lets you send your location to your friends, appearing as a little map that the recipient will then be able to click on for directions to you. Handy, very handy.
Words with Friends
Words with Friends for iMessage allows you to invite friends from your contact list and play your amazing, winning-words directly from Messages.
The IMDb iMessage app allows you to search the database in Messages and send links to showtimes, as well as film, TV and celebrity pages.
Got a hen or stag to plan and need to stay within a certain budget? The Pennies Mini iMessage app lets you share and collaborate on spending budgets with friends and family directly from the Messages app.
Sports fan? The ESPN iMessage app allow you to share scores with your friends and watch game highlights directly from Messages.
The Weather Channel
Going on holiday or just meeting up? The Weather Channel iMessage app allows you to share mini forecasts directly from Messages so you can see what you're in for.
Poll for iMessage is great for group decisions. Can't decide where to go for dinner, or what time to meet? This app will come in very handy.
Stickers Against Friends
Ever played Cards Against Humanity? If you have (and you like it), you'll find Sticker Against Friends great fun. Be careful who you pick to play it with though.
Super Mario Run Stickers
Everything is great when Mario is involved. The Super Mario Run stickers app lets you add a moustache and Mario hat to anyone. You can just send Mario himself too though and there are plenty to choose from.
Star Wars Stickers
Like Mario, Star Wars makes everything more fun. The Star Wars sticker pack lets you add a Stormtrooper to your morning message. Whose day wouldn't be made after that?