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Hands-On Video: Improved Avatar And Timestamp Support In iOS 7's Messages App

June 25, 2013
Yesterday, Apple released iOS 7 beta 2 to developers. The second beta of the upcoming new version of Apple's mobile operating system most notably adds full iPad compatibility. It also adds, among other changes, a couple of notable improvements to the Messages app, which we'll be taking a closer look at in the hands-on preview video below. We've already showcased the new look and feel of iOS 7's Messages app on iPhone in a previous preview post. This time, we'll focus on iOS 7's Messages app on iPad, but keeping in mind that the two notable improvements in question apply to the Messages app on iPhone as well as to that on iPad. First, as we already told you yesterday, Messages has gained support for group messaging avatars in iOS 7. To be sure, group messaging avatars have been available on the iPad since iOS 6, but how they're presented has been improved in iOS 7. Also, it's only now that they've been made available on the iPhone as well. As you can see in the video below, on the iPad running iOS 7, everyone in the group but you have avatars both in the conversation list and within the conversation itself. In iOS 6, all members of the group, including you, have avatars in group conversations in the Messages app for iPad. If you can't see the video embedded above, please click here. Note that when in a group conversation in iOS 7's Messages app for iPhone, as in iOS 7's Messages app for iPad, only your groupmates are given avatars. Which is just as well, since you already know that your sent messages are, naturally, from you. But in the case of your interlocutors, you still have to see which of them sent which message in your group conversation. As pointed out by Dom in the video, with group messaging avatars, you're able to easily tell whom a message is from depending on the photo you have set for that specific contact on your device. As for the other notable change in the Messages app for both iPhone and iPad, it has to do with how iOS 7 displays the timestamp for each message. That's right: as we reported yesterday, iOS 7 lets you see when each message was sent or received. As demoed in the video, just slide leftward over the conversation to pull into view the timestamp for each line of message. This gesture applies to both one-on-one and group conversations. So, there you have the newly improved Messages app on iOS 7, brought by the software's second beta. For more information on iOS 7 beta 2, see Full Walkthrough: Apple's iOS 7 Beta 2 Running On The iPad, AppAdvice Daily: iOS 7 Beta 2 Available For iPad, and Apple Unveils New Switch Control Accessibility Feature In iOS 7 Beta 2.