The earlier days of mobiles when Nokia ruled and free messaging plans were introduced – those were the days of the stupid forwarded messages. Succeeding the mass forwarded emails of the last century, it has now gradually drained into Whatsapp forwards and our SMS inboxes are fairly free from spam now. Not sure, but that might be one of the reasons why Apple didn’t consider group messages for iPhones and iPads.
However there are still some of us, who’d like to have an inner circle or a professional group or family group and send group messages to them, inviting them for a function or just for a hangout. And since you’re here, I deem you’re one of them and looking for a solution.
Though iOS 7 doesn’t have a built-in feature for this, some wonderful apps have been released to help you organize your contacts into groups and quickly send group messages to them. Connect – Contact Manager for iPhone is one of them which is effective, over delivering and most importantly, free.
How to create a group list and add contacts?
Step 1 – On opening the app, you’re given a short tutorial on the app and asked for permission to access your contacts. Grant it and you’re taken straight to a custom contacts page. All the functions from here on, are gesture-based and intuitive.
Step 2 – Scroll down till you find a contact you want to add to your group. Swipe from right to left over it.
Step 3 – You’ve a popup showing all your current lists and an option to make a new one. Select the appropriate one.
Step 4 – Do this for the rest of your contacts and make groups which makes sense to you and ones you are likely to group message often. Friends, Family and Work seem to be great groups for both messaging and mailing.
How to send group messages to a group?
Step 1 – Open the app and it will take you to the contacts page. Tap on right top More button to bring in the side bar.
Step 2 – Select Lists from that.
Step 3 – You’ll have a top bar with tabs for all of your lists. Tap and hold on the desired group name.
Step 4 – You have an overlay screen with options for Message, Mail, Tweet, Share and Edit.
Step 5 – Tap on Messages and you’ll have a pull-up messaging interface with the members of the group already filled into the receiver field.
Step 6 – Enter your message and tap send!
Do more with Connect?
It is worth mentioning that for a free app without any ads or in-app purchases, Connect does much more that what one would expect.
Tip 1 – As already mentioned, in addition to group messages, it also help to send group emails to contacts or to tweet to all of them at once.
Tip 2 – In the initial contact-list menu, swipe right from left to make a phone call.
Tip 3 – Long swipe right to left on a contact to bring up the More menu to send an email or tweet to a single person.
Tip 4 – Select Edit from this more menu or in the contact view, to edit the details of the contact.
Tip 5 – Long swipe left to right to delete the contact.
Tip 6 – Connect has so much more Tips and Tricks that they have a separate section in the Settings menu to deal with it.
In short, Connect can replace your Contacts, Phone and Messaging apps at once and yet do things better than what these native apps could even have done.