How to Hide the iMessage App Icon Row in iOS 11 Messages for iPhone and iPad

Oct 3, 2017 - 8 Comments

How to Hide Messages App Icons in iOS 11 on iPhone and iPad

The Messages screen in iOS 11 is busier than ever before, displaying a row of colorful icons and iMessage apps on the bottom of every conversation in Messages on iPhone and iPad. While some users will love the quick access to their gifs, message stickers and apps, not everyone is satisfied with having a row of brightly colored app icons and the app drawer showing up with their Message conversations, and many professional users have sought out a way to disable or remove the Messages app icons from the iOS communication client.

If you’d like to hide the Message app icons in iOS 11 on an iPhone or iPad, you can do so with a little trick that hides the app drawer.

How to Hide the Messages App Icons in iOS 11

  1. Open Messages app in iOS 11 if you have not done so already and open a message conversation thread
  2. Messages

  3. Tap the gray App Store icon button to hide the Messages app drawer *
  4. Tap to hide the iMessage app drawer in iOS 11

The Messages app drawer and row of icons will stay hidden until it is revealed again by tapping the App Store icon again. Additionally, if you use an iMessage app or sticker, the Message dock row of icons will appear again, meaning you’ll have to tap the icon to hide it again.

How to Show the Messages App Icon Drawer in iOS 11

If you’d like to see and access the Message app drawer of icons, simply open a message thread then tap on the App Store icon to reveal the iMessage apps and stickers again.

Hide and show app icon drawer in Messages for iOS 11

* Note that some users have reported that tapping and then swiping down on the App Store icon is necessary to hide the iMessage app drawer. Whether or not the behavior is different per device is not entirely clear, but should you have problems hiding the iMessage apps row with the tap method try the press and swipe gesture instead.

This is a less than obvious method of hiding the feature, but like some other parts of modern iOS it’s often a discovery process to learn how to perform a particular function that is discretely implemented. Many users have wandered around searching for an option to disable the app icon drawer in the Messages section of Settings, but there is no app drawer toggle available there, and instead the ability to hide and show the iMessage app drawer is entirely contained within the Messages app itself.

Thanks to the various readers who emailed or left comments, like Lisa, who asked “How do I get the apps off the bottom of my text screen. Who had that bright idea?” for the question and tip idea!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks

8 Comments

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  1. Pam says:

    How do I find out which folder I’ve put an app in ? The Spotlight Search in the new iOS just says everything is in a generic ‘Application’ location.

  2. Ari says:

    hello Paul,
    the ‘hide icons’ procedure you describe works OK on my iPad with IOS 11.02 installed – but not on my iPhone 5SE
    rgds

  3. John S. says:

    This kind of thing is so juvenile, nobody wants this stuff in Messages on the iPhone. Why does Apple bother to put a bunch of teenage toys in messages where adults have real conversations including business and professional discusses? It’s an insult it can’t be disabled but only ‘hidden’ by some mysterious effort that nobody would figure out on their own if not learned on a website like this.

    Who does Apple even make products for anymore? A teenager can’t afford a $1000 phone so why are they focusing on teenagers? Maybe they should ask adults what they want? How about a return to the simple, easy, problem free, clutter free environment that Apple was known for until more recently? The only bigger mystery is that while Apple flails into poor design and bad product decisions that another company hasn’t come to offer something cleaner or easier or better. Google could clean up Android and lock it down and it would be a strong competitor, or Microsoft could double-down on the Windows Mobile effort rather than backing away from it. The whole “apps” thing is overblown and not what most users need, most users need web, email, messaging, and a good camera. The only people who want these type of apps and gimmicks are teenagers.

    Sorry but I am ranting here because I am totally annoyed with these type of “features” being implemented that we are unable to remove. All the while iOS eats battery and is slower than ever before. Apple feels like Microsoft in the 90s full of arrogance and convinced their user base will never leave them…. but with enough mistreatment and problems people are not loyal to a product just as that product is not loyal to them. Something to think about, but I’m sure they won’t.

    • pdxrains says:

      I totally agree. If anything, Apple should have an “adult” user mode that turns off all this crap. They want to put in all this useless, processor-hogging stuff that the tweenies can waste their time with all day, fine…but let me turn it off. Let me use my goddamn $1000 phone as a tool, a utility, that it is. It’s not a toy for me and never will be. So sad the turn Apple has taken. Jobs is rolling in his grave.

    • Jeremy Redig says:

      I agree. Offer simple too. Some of us really don’t want the distractions and want the efficiency of a device that makes life simpler.

  4. Lindsey says:

    Woah John S.

    This is annoying af apple however, cmmmonn no good !!!!! I just switched over to apple don’t make me switch back !

  5. Carl Sole says:

    Totally agree,

  6. TMA1 says:

    If you scroll to the right of the app icons under the text entry bar there is an option for “more” – here you can disable all the apps except for Store, Digital Touch, and #Images – not perfect but a little cleaner.

    Another annoying feature of iOS 11 is that in all the native apps (iMessage, Mail, Phone) – there is a big banner at the top that says “Messages” etc which is pointless and takes up useful screen real estate

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