Directing a message at a specific person in a group conversation, or to a select few people in the group, can be difficult if you’re in a particularly active or hectic chat. Notifications and badges on your iPhone can help you keep track of important messages, but it’s still easy to miss one meant for you and not the entire group — which is why you can now mention contacts, or get tagged, in Messages on iOS 14.

Much like you would on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, you can now direct an iMessage to a single person in a group conversation by merely typing in their first name. While you may instinctively try using the @ symbol to “at” them, it won’t work in Messages as it does in other apps.

The Rules of Tagging People in Group Chats

Mentioning Someone or Multiple People in Chats

Once you’re in an iMessage group thread, write the content of the message as you usually would, only add their name, part of their name, nickname, emoji, or a different label that you’ve given them in the Contacts app.

Right after you type the name, but before any spaces or punctuation, the name will turn a light gray to indicate that you can tag them. Tap on the name to bring up a tiny contact bubble above the text.

When there are two or more people with the same name in the group chat, multiple contact bubbles will appear, one for each.

If you type a space or punctuation after the name, or whenever you use a suggested name, the name will appear as regular black text (or white text when in dark mode), indicating that they are not tagged. So if you don’t want to mention anyone, just don’t tap their name.

However, you can tap that name wherever it appears in the message to bring up the contact bubble, so your chance is not lost if you do want to tag them and their name is not light gray.

Finally, to tag someone, tap their contact bubble after tapping their name, and their name will turn a bold blue using a fancy animation. Press the send button to finish.

If you’ve mentioned them in the text field but want to untag them, hit delete once when the cursor is directly after the name to erase the tag (but not any letters).

What Happens When You’re Mentioned in Messages

If the mentioned person has the conversation open, the tagged message will appear just like any other message; only their name will be bolded.

However, if they’re not in Messages, they’ll get a notification saying “[Name] Mentioned you – [Group Name]” with the message under it (as long as they have Messages notifications enabled). Tapping the alert or opening it from the Notification Center will send you right to the tagged comment, where it’s highlighted momentarily to help you identify it over any other messages in the group chat.

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Cover photo by Nelson Aguilar/Gadget Hacks, GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks


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