A guide to the words and phrases that cause special texting effects on your iPhone


  • Certain words and phrases can cause special effects in your iPhone's Messages app, which can add a fun flair to your texts.
  • The words that cause these effects are usually related to holidays or congratulations.
  • These effects will activate on your end whether you're texting another iPhone user or an Android user, but your recipient will need an iPhone to see them.
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Your iPhone's Messages app isn't just for sending texts. You can also send photos, videos, and a wide variety of special effects.

While you can pick and choose from some of these effects by holding your finger down on the send button, other effects only activate when you send certain words or phrases.

Apple doesn't advertise these effects — they're hidden "Easter Eggs" on your iPhone instead.

A full guide to iMessage effects

Here's a guide to the words and phrases that will cause effects in the Messages app, and hopefully delight both you and your recipient.

"Happy New Year"

When you send a "Happy New Year" message, your text will be accompanied by its own fireworks show.

"Happy Chinese New Year"

This effect is particularly cool, and comes packaged with its own firecracker-esque vibration pattern when you send it.

"Happy Birthday"

Text "Happy Birthday" to summon a flood of colorful balloons. Shortened versions, like "HBD," won't trigger the effect.

"Congrats" or "Congratulations"

When you congratulate someone, confetti will rain down from the top of your screen. You can also try sending congratulations in different languages, such as the Spanish "Felicitaciones" or Indonesian "Selamat" — these often work as well.

"Pew Pew"

You need no occasion to send a friend laser beams, so why not try "pew pew" in your next text?

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