iPhone Tip: Send Text Messages to a Group

Last Updated Aug 19, 2010 2:18 PM EDT

One of iOS 4's lesser-known perks: group messaging. When enabled, you can send a single text message to as many as 100 recipients -- but it'll count as only one on your bill.

To enable group messaging (on any iPhone with iOS 4), launch the Settings app, then tap Messages. Finally, set the Group Messaging slider to On.

You may not notice an immediate change. Indeed, this is not a particularly well-documented feature, which is why ZDNet's Jason O'Grady went so far as to call Apple and AT&T for clarification. Here's what he found out:

  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.
I realize all this seems a little complicated, but the benefits are huge. You could text, say, your entire sales team with an important pricing update, or even just text a group of co-workers to get consensus on where to meet for lunch -- all without racking up insane SMS charges.

Oh, and if you're tired of Android-carrying co-workers bragging about their phones, make sure to mention that Android doesn't do group messaging -- as this video explains:


More on BNET:

  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.