What Words Trigger iMessage® Effects?

What Words Trigger iMessage® Effects?
Posted in: Tech Tips, Articles

What Words Trigger iMessage® Effects?

April 2021

What Words Trigger iMessage® Effects? 


If you have an iPhone®, you will likely already be using iMessage, which is the text messaging service that Apple® uses. This works like all other text services. You can send written messages, pictures, and videos to your chosen recipient.


However, what makes iMessage more special is the hidden effects you discover when typing certain words or phrases. When a recipient reads a message with words that contain a special effect, they will see an animated display across their screen.


This is an entertaining way to bring messages to life and add excitement. Here's the rundown of the known words and phrases that trigger a special effect.



Happy Birthday


We've all wished someone a happy birthday by text at some point. Now it's become more than just words – it's hundreds of colorful balloons! The effect floods the recipient's screen with balloons that float up the screen and away.


Take note, however, that writing the abbreviation "HBD" will not trigger the effect.


Happy New Year


Who's got time to call all their loved ones at the beginning of the new year? Especially if you're busy at a party or celebration event. Texting "Happy New Year" comes with some extra sparkle by way of a fireworks display across the screen. Talk about kicking the new year off with a bang…


Happy Chinese New Year


Over 18% of the world's population is of Chinese origin. When you text "Happy Chinese New Year," the text turns yellow, and the text bubble turns red to match the colors of the Chinese flag. This is accompanied by fire-crackers on the screen, and the phone vibrates.


The same effect is also triggered if you send "Happy Lunar New Year."




What better way to say congratulations than with a cloud of confetti? Sending this message will cause the recipient's screen to explode in a shower of colorful confetti.


This is the most versatile effect since it works in different languages too. Try typing "felicitations," and you'll get the same confetti shower.


This is also the only effect that works when you use its abbreviated term. Typing "congrats" will also trigger the confetti. 


Pew Pew


Quite possibly the craziest effect of them all. Typing "pew pew" will create laser beams across the recipient's screen. For what reason, we don't know, but it's a lot of fun to do. Whether you're having a virtual space war, or you want to get someone's attention, "pew pew" is the effect for you.


These are the only known iMessage effects to date, but that isn't to say there aren’t more. Since Apple doesn't announce these features, it's up to the users of iPhones to discover them. If there aren't any more effects to be found, there will likely be more in the future so keep trying out different words and phrases. You may be pleasantly surprised.


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August 18, 2021
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