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posted by martyb on Sunday January 09, @04:44AM   Printer-friendly
from the green-with-envy dept.

If you use an iPhone, you might have noticed that SMS conversations (green-bubbles) are harder to read than iMessage conversations (blue bubbles). That's not by accident — in fact, green bubbles weren't always so difficult to read.

You've probably heard of the green and blue text message bubble colors inside the iOS Messages app. On an iPhone, normal SMS text messages are colored green, while iMessage (Apple's iPhone-exclusive chat platform) conversations are colored blue. Many iPhone users shun the "green bubble" due to the fewer features provided by SMS. If you own an iPhone, you may feel the same frustration when trying to read a green-bubble chat, as they often feel harder to read than blue-bubble chats. That's no accident.

To begin, we have to take a trip back to 2011. As you may know, iMessage, along with the signature blue bubble, didn't exist until the release of iOS 5. Before iMessage was introduced, every message in the Messages app was green, as the only messaging supported at the time was SMS. Once they added iMessage to the Messages application on iOS, the blue bubbles came along with it to help differentiate between iMessage and SMS. Given that the Messages app has stuck with the same green bubble/blue bubble differentiation, it may sound like the hatred towards SMS isn't related to the color at all. However, along the way from iOS 5 to now, a tiny design change opened a user-experience chasm between SMS conversations and iMessage ones. This isn't a story about about the green or blue colors themselves — rather, it's a story about contrast, and its astonishing impact on our perceptions.

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Sunday January 09, @01:26PM (3 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday January 09, @01:26PM (#1211234)

    Maybe the color issue has been fixed in iOS 15, the very fact of 15 OS revisions breaking backwards compatibility to some degree each time since 2006 is horrendous in it's own right, not that Android is much better.

    On the Android side, my wife has complained for years about significant increased difficulty communicating with iOS users by text, not just contrast but messages not getting through or getting filed in weird places. I'm sure it's a "you're holding it wrong" type of issue, but it doesn't happen with messages to/from her Android using friends. I don't have those issues, but then I send and receive about 3% as many texts as she does.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @01:54PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @01:54PM (#1211240)

    A lot of the issues have to do with st. Steve flipping out when he got his cancer diagnosis and nobody really knowing how to continue what he started.

    • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday January 09, @09:53PM

      by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 09, @09:53PM (#1211325)

      And yet: with all that flipping out, Apple have yet to release a flip-phone.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @03:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, @03:23PM (#1211251)
    The appearance is the exact same between the iPhone 6 (whatever version that was) and IOS 15. What's probably changed is your system font settings. Bigger screen, smaller font just isn't as legible.