6 awesome apps that integrate with iOS 10 Messages

Apple's Messages got a big upgrade in iOS 10, and you can now use third-party software in the app. These six downloads make it easier to book restaurants, share travel plans, and get money, all from within Messages.

messages icon

In iOS 10, you can now do a lot more with Apple's Messages app than irritate friends with endless "bitmojis." In fact, Messages in the latest version of iOS is much more useful than in the past, thanks to new integration with third-party apps.

Here I review six iOS apps that work within Messages and let you do at least one cool thing. But first, a little background.

How to access and add apps to iOS Messages

To access iOS apps that are compatible with Messages, go into the Messages app and tap the new message icon (top right), select a message recipient, and tap the "A" apps button next to the message text field. To browse and add apps, tap the bottom-left "grid" icon. You can then browse through compatible apps that already installed on your iPhone or iPad, or click the "+ Store" button to get new apps. You must install compatible apps on your iOS device to use them in Messages.

Another way to find apps that work within Apple Messages is to look for the "Offers iMessage App" tagline in the app's description within the iOS App Store. (I didn't see the Offers iMessage App indicators when surfing iTunes in a desktop browser.)

OK, now for some great apps that work within Messages.

1. EasilyDo's Email app lets you forward email via text

EasilyDo's simply-named, free Email app makes it simple to unsubscribe from email blasts, among other features.

Using the latest version, it's easy to forward email to someone as a text message, whether the message is an order-status update, a note from your boss, an email offer for discount theater tickets (see the screenshot below) or your weekly Fitbit progress report. Sure, you could forward the message via email, but a text message is more likely to immediately grab the recipient's attention.

easilydo messages EasilyDo

2. OpenTable helps groups pick the right restaurant

Trying to find a restaurant for a business meeting? Using Messages, you can now choose multiple restaurants in the free OpenTable app and text the list to the meeting participants. Recipients can "vote" for their restaurants of choice, and when a decision is made, you can finalize the reservation in Apple's Messages app.

opentable messages OpenTable

3 and 4. Send money via Square Cash or Venmo

After a restaurant meal, you can reimburse a friend or colleague for your portion, or have someone else reimburse you, using the Square Cash or Venmo apps in Messages.

venmo Venmo

5 and 6. Share travel plans via Kayak, TripIt

Kayak is my go-to app for travel research, and now you can easily text someone an itinerary you put together using the travel search app. If you're looking to book a flight to visit a client, for example, you could text the person the itinerary you have in mind. You could also do this via email, of course, but again texting will likely get you a quicker response. Airfares can go up (or sometimes down) within minutes, as well, so time is of the essence.  

tripit messages Concur

TripIt's iOS 10 app now lets you text flight itineraries — which can be handy if someone is supposed to pick you up at the airport — as well as hotel and rental car reservations, without having to dig up all that different information and copy it into a text message.

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