ANNOYING: Why not to get too excited when iMessage says the other person is typing

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

You know when you message with somebody, many systems now show that the other person is typing.

Facebook Messenger, Basecamp, WhatsApp and others do it. It’s great because if somebody is typing I’m more likely to wait for them to finish their response or message.

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Here’s how that looks in iMessage on the iPhone:

We were texting each other sitting next to each to discuss a birthday gift for a daughter sitting feet from us. My mom and grandma used to spell things verbally to each other so the kids couldn’t follow back in the day.

Today, technology can make our lives easier, but sometimes it’s also adding tasks and can get annoying.

The dots showed in my iMessage despite my wife not even typing. She had put the phone down and there were no letters in her text entry field.

Meanwhile, I was patiently sitting here waiting for the remaining content to come over. Just kidding. I wasn’t patient. After a tenth of a second I asked my wife if she was sending something else.


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It wasn’t the first time either that we noticed this. Once sitting at a softball game, I had the iMessage open to her and my messages and it said she was typing. But she wasn’t. The phone was in her purse. Ugh.

I have no idea what benefit Apple would get from me waiting for a message that doesn’t arrive. Maybe it’s good if I hold the phone those additional seconds in my hands. But who said I was going to put it down anyway?

Maybe it’s a bug that will get fixed at some point. No idea. For now, be aware that if you think your wife/boss/business partner/whomever appears to be typing, they might not actually be sending you a message.

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What to use when others don’t use iMessage?

For conferences in Europe and South America WhatsApp is an accepted app. I also used it during a North America conference with a group of content creators. That cuts down on text messages and allows easy group messaging too.