You know how you can add an avatar to pretty much any social app ever, and all your friends, family, contacts, etc., will see it? Well, in iOS 13 you can finally do the same for iMessages.
No longer will you have to hope that your contacts use a nice photo of you, or worry that your boss is using a picture of a cute pig or pussycat to represent you in the group chat. Now you can add and share your own avatar, or even a Memoji. Let’s see how.
There are two ways to get started adding an avatar to your iMessage account in iOS 13. One is in the Messages app itself, and the other is in the Settings app, under Settings > Messages.
To get started, open up the Messages app and tap the ellipsis icon (…) at the top of the sidebar. Then tap Edit Name and Photo and follow along with the walk-through.
First, you’ll be prompted to pick a photo. One option is just your initials, in a circle. But you also will see your current address-book avatar, taken from your contacts card, plus several other options. Underneath the photo picker is a section to add your name. It, too, will be prefilled with your own name.
Tap Continue and you’ll be asked if you want to use the new photo everywhere. Your contacts card also will be updated with this new picture.
Next is a panel asking who you want to share this info with. The choices are Contacts Only and Always Ask. Pick the one you want.
Edit your Messages profile in Settings
You can edit your name and picture anytime you like from inside the Messages app. Alternatively, you can make the same changes in the Settings app, where you will benefit from a more practical interface for making the tweaks. For instance, here’s the photo suggestions page, complete with custom Memoji and photos of you grabbed from the People album in the Photos app.
If you select a Memoji or Animoji (including a cute pig, if you like), you will see another page where you can pick a pose. This is the same as the Memoji sticker maker. After that, you can crop the photo inside a circle before saving it so it will work perfectly with iMessages.
Finally! iMessage avatars
Letting us change our iMessage avatars is a neat catchup feature from Apple. You’ve been able to pick your own image since forever in pretty much all other messaging apps. But of course, Apple’s way is nicer, because it incorporates your contacts card, your photos and your Memoji. I also like that you can easily choose only to share it with your contacts.
You will be prompted before one of your contact’s avatar gets switched. And if you don’t like the picture they have choses, you can go to their card in Contacts and edit the image to change it.
That means that if your teenage nephew chooses some gross picture for his iMessage ID, you won’t be forced to see it. BE careful if you do this, though, as currently I cannot find any way to go back to their shared avatar image. Once you replace it, it’s gone.