iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

Summary: iOS4 has a convenient new feature called Group Messaging that lets you text multiple people for the price of one -- and view all the responses in one convenient thread.

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A guest blog by Rob Lee.

Apple's iOS4 has a convenient new feature tucked away in Settings > Messages called Group Messaging (pictured).

I was trying to figure out what it did, since I’ve always been able to send texts to a group. When I turned Group Messaging ON, it switched the title bar in the text message screen from "New Message" to "Group MMS" (pictured below).

But that was all I noticed -- there was no change in the outbound behavior of my group texts. So I called AT&T and Apple and here’s what I learned:

  1. The Group Messaging setting controls whether or not the complete address list is sent to each recipient in the group.
  2. When set to OFF each recipient only sees you and their name in the thread, but when set to ON things change depending on the recipient's settings.
  3. If the recipient has Group Messaging turned ON then all recipients are shown on that person’s phone.
  4. When a recipient of the message responds it is automatically sent to all members of the original thread.
  5. All messages within the group are placed into a single thread, with each message identified with the sender's name.

AT&T confirmed that sending a text to 100 people (via Group Messaging) only counts as one message sent. If I did the same thing using SMS I'd use 100 messages against my balance. It's basically a dirt cheap way to text. Here's a video of how it works.

AT&T noted that none of their other phones are currently capable with Group Messaging. The video highlights the fact the Droid Incredible 2.1 doesn’t do this right now. This looks to be nice benefit for frequent texters looking for less expensive group texting and true group chat built into the OS.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, AT&T

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14 comments
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  • Lovely... SMS Spam on the cheap...

    I can see this kind of feature being quite handy to spammers. Now all they gotta do is hack iOS, access this feature and BLAM!

    And before any of you get any ideas on saying how this ain't gonna happen - if someone wants something done and is willing to throw enough resources at the problem, it WILL happen. Safari isn't exactly the most secure browser on the market no matter the platform.
    Wolfie2K3
    • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

      @Wolfie2K3 You could see it that way, but the true spammers know much better ways to get bulk texts out. This is a good news piece for the rest of us who just need to text to our dive buddies, our classmates, the folks on our school committees, the average person in the real world.
      rftrel
    • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

      @Wolfie2K3

      And they will be Mobile users who will be in breach of the telecommunications act in my country and will lose their phone account.

      In your country I would assume the anti-spam laws also would achieve a similar result?
      richardw66
      • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

        @richardw66 Are you saying that if I wanted to send a text message to the 20 people in my cycling group that I was going to be late to the ride start, I would be a spammer liable to criminal charges in your country?
        rftrel
  • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

    A spammer's dream come true!
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

      @Loverock Davidson

      Yeah Loverock - find any way to make a feature of the iPhone seem bad. You are quite expert at this hate stuff aren't you!
      richardw66
      • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

        @richardw66
        I didn't find it, it was already there.
        Loverock Davidson
    • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

      @Loverock Davidson
      "A spammer's dream come true!"

      Then you must be ecstatically running out to get one.
      jorjitop
      • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

        @jorjitop
        What do you mean? I don't spam.
        Loverock Davidson
  • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

    Thanks for the tip! I routinely group text the family and this will be a nice feature!
    Chevy65
  • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

    Fine but it seems ATT related. I can't see this setting on my French iPhone updated with iOS 4.0.1 !!!!
    jeffmaury@...
    • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

      @jeffmaury@... It is dependent on the wireless carrier offering group MMS services. The service is available, ask them to turn it on for everyone. It's good for them and for us. By the way, who is your carrier?
      rftrel
      • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

        @rftrel

        Seems this is also not enabled on Optus in Australia.
        richardw66
      • RE: iOS4 Group Messaging; text 100 people for the price of one

        @rftrel Is name is SFR (Vodafone in France)
        jeffmaury@...