The Messages screen in iOS 11 is busier than ever before, displaying a row of colorful icons and iMessage apps on the bottom of every conversation in Messages on iPhone and iPad. While some users will love the quick access to their gifs, message stickers and apps, not everyone is satisfied with having a row of brightly colored app icons and the app drawer showing up with their Message conversations, and many professional users have sought out a way to disable or remove the Messages app icons from the iOS communication client.
If you’d like to hide the Message app icons in iOS 11 on an iPhone or iPad, you can do so with a little trick that hides the app drawer.
How to Hide the Messages App Icons in iOS 11
Open Messages app in iOS 11 if you have not done so already and open a message conversation thread
Tap the gray App Store icon button to hide the Messages app drawer *
The Messages app drawer and row of icons will stay hidden until it is revealed again by tapping the App Store icon again. Additionally, if you use an iMessage app or sticker, the Message dock row of icons will appear again, meaning you’ll have to tap the icon to hide it again.
How to Show the Messages App Icon Drawer in iOS 11
If you’d like to see and access the Message app drawer of icons, simply open a message thread then tap on the App Store icon to reveal the iMessage apps and stickers again.
* Note that some users have reported that tapping and then swiping down on the App Store icon is necessary to hide the iMessage app drawer. Whether or not the behavior is different per device is not entirely clear, but should you have problems hiding the iMessage apps row with the tap method try the press and swipe gesture instead.
This is a less than obvious method of hiding the feature, but like some other parts of modern iOS it’s often a discovery process to learn how to perform a particular function that is discretely implemented. Many users have wandered around searching for an option to disable the app icon drawer in the Messages section of Settings, but there is no app drawer toggle available there, and instead the ability to hide and show the iMessage app drawer is entirely contained within the Messages app itself.
Thanks to the various readers who emailed or left comments, like Lisa, who asked “How do I get the apps off the bottom of my text screen. Who had that bright idea?” for the question and tip idea!