Secret keywords for sending iPhone text messages with screen effects

You can trigger special screen effects in your iPhone text messages by typing these secret keywords. Here’s the list.

Top Secret 3 Wide

Update: the only secret keywords that work in iOS 14 seem to be “pew pew” for the lasers. I don’t know why the others don’t work, but they don’t. You can sill manually send screen effects

You know about sending screen effects with messages from your iPhone with iOS 10 or later: balloons, confetti, fireworks, etc. (You don’t? Then read my article How to send messages with balloons and other screen effects in iOS 14.) Turns out there are secret keywords that will trigger effects automatically!

Here’s the list of keywords and the effects they generate.

  • Congratulations (Confetti)
  • Congrats (Confetti)
  • Happy Birthday (Balloons)
  • Happy New Year (Fireworks)
  • Happy Chinese New Year (Celebration)
  • Pew pew (Lasers)

(This list may grow as I continue to test.)

In Messages, just type one of the words (or phrases) from the list and tap the Send button. Presto, the effect is sent also. Test by sending text messages to yourself so you can see how it goes. It won’t work if you add other words, so “Wishing you a happy birthday” doesn’t work, while just “Happy birthday” does.

Of course there are several other effects that you can send (see my article about screen effects) but these are the ones that are triggered automatically.

Author: Christian Boyce

Christian Boyce is a Mac and iPhone expert specializing in teaching people how to use Apple devices better, to get more done with them, and to have more fun doing it. He bought his first Mac (a Mac Plus) in 1986 and his first iPhone in 2007. He's written books and magazine articles, and given seminars at Macworld Expo, MacFair/LA, and the California Computer Expo. Over 30 years in the business.

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