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Google Messages rolls out support for iMessage reactions in latest beta

Google Pixel 6 Pro Messages
Google Pixel 6 Pro Messages (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Messages' latest beta update adds support for iMessage reactions.
  • The search giant was spotted in November of last year displaying iMessage reactions as emoji on the Messages app.
  • This means reactions will no longer be translated into pesky text descriptions.

In November 2021, Google was apparently preparing to add support for iMessage reactions on the Messages app, which was then rolled out to a small group of users. The search giant has now expanded the functionality to more users with the latest beta update for Messages (via Droid-Life).

Google has rolled out support for iMessage reactions on Messages. The latest update replaces a reaction description such as "liked an image" with a like button. This means Messages now converts iMessage reactions to its own set of reactions on Android phones, albeit in beta.

Previously, Android users would only see a text description when iPhone users reacted to their message. That was due to the lack of cross-compatibility between iMessage and Messages.

There are minor variations in how Messages interprets those reactions, though. For example, iMessage's heart reaction appears as "smiling face With heart-shaped eyes" in Messages. Nonetheless, it hides those annoying text descriptions that would otherwise clutter your messages.

To turn on the feature, simply head over to Settings>Advanced and then choose "Show iPhone reactions as emoji." Additionally, "Haha" is displayed as "Face with Tears of Joy," as per 9to5Google. Only the thumbs up and down remain unchanged on Android.

The feature arrives as part of Messages beta build 20220121_02_RC00. It is worth noting, though, that only iPhone users can react to messages on the Messages app, and not vice versa.

The new cross-compatibility solves one of the annoying limitations in Messages, and the new beta update suggests it will become a thing of the past soon.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.

5 Comments
  • What's really unfortunate is that ever since I signed up for the Android 12 1ui for beta on my Galaxy S21 ultra, the beta versions of both Android messages and gboard make my phone heat up. Now that I'm on the stable version, it still is the case. I just tried to install the beta version of Android messages and my phone got hot right away. It's really unfortunate.
  • Sadly waiting for the server switch. Have the right version without the option.
  • Same thing here 😭
  • I'm on a later Beta version and the feature is not present. 20220126_03_RC00
  • This feature is now live on stable You've heard it here first, folks