What phrases invoke screen effects in the Messages app?

What keywords or key phrases trigger effects in the Messages app when typed or spoken on my iPhone or iPad?

Apple introduced full screen animations in the messages app with the release of iOS 10. iPhone users can send other iOS users nine different animations such as balloons, confetti and fireworks through the Messages app. These animations can be individually selected and attached to any text message, or automatically triggered by typing key phrases. Apple hasn't released an official list of what phrases invoke what screen effects, but they did demo the Happy Birthday feature at WWDC 2016. Typing the phrase "Happy Birthday" in the Messages app will trigger the balloons effect on devices running iOS 10 or later.

Here are some other key phrases and the effect they trigger. Please let us know if you found anymore in the comment section below this post.

  • "Happy Birthday" - Balloons effect
  • "Congratulations" - Confetti effect
  • "Happy New Year" - Fireworks effect
  • "Happy Chinese New Year" - Celebration effect
  • "Pew pew" - Lasers effect
  • "Happy Lunar New Year" - Celebration effect

What about other languages?

Other language variations of the above terms (e.g. "Selamat," "Felicitations," and "Feliz cumpleanos") also work. Experiment and enjoy.

Is there a way to send text effects without using the triggering keywords / phrases?

Absolutely. You can send all of the iPhone and iPad text effects without using the keywords. For instructions on each, click on the effect: celebration, balloons/confetti, fireworks, laser.

What about other Messaging / iMessage effects and tricks?

There is a long list of tips and tricks to help you get more about of messaging and email on your iPhone and iPad. Check out all of our Message and Email tips and FAQs.


happy new year = fireworks!

Typing "eat me" reveals a moving parade float that looks like a cake with a phallus on it.

Nah it doesn't!

Turn it off dumb idea

love this. it kept me amused for few minutes. shame there's only 3 phrases.

Try Happy Chinese New Year

“fast” makes “wind”