How to play iMessage games on an iPhone with your contacts

Before you can play iMessage games on your iPhone, you'll need to download the games.

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Before you can play iMessage games on your iPhone, you’ll need to download the games.
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Aleksey Khilko/Shutterstock

  • You can play iMessage games on your iPhone using the App Store extension that’s built into iMessage.
  • You can download a variety of iMessage games onto your iPhone, including bowling, mini golf, Yahtzee, and more.
  • iMessage games are free to play, but many have in-app purchases.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Along with sending ApplePay transactions and making Memojis, the keyboard in your iPhone’s Messages app also gives you the option to play games with your contacts.

As long as your iPhone is updated to iOS 11 or higher (which it almost definitely will be, unless you’ve been putting off updates since 2017), you can download a number of different iMessage games to play with your friends.

These games are simple, and are designed to be played turn-by-turn. You take your turn, you wait for your contact to take a turn, and so on. It’s all conducted entirely through iMessage texts.

Here’s how to start playing.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

iPhone 11 (From $699.99 at Best Buy)

How to play iMessage games on your iPhone

1. Open the Messages app on your phone and tap or search for the contact you want to play with.

2. Scroll through the options directly above your keyboard until you find the App Store icon. Tap it.

Open the App Store extension.

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Open the App Store extension.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

3. This will open a special version of the App Store that exclusively shows extensions for the iMessage app. Most of these are stickers, but if you scroll down, you’ll find a section titled “iMessage Games We Love.” Tap the “See All” button next to that title.

There are several games to choose from.

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There are several games to choose from.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

4. You’ll be presented with a full list of the games available for iMessage. Each one has its own page where you can check out pictures, videos, and other information about the game. Browse and find one you might like.

5. Once you find one that you want to download, tap the “Get” button next to its icon and download it like you would any other app.

All the games are free to download.

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All the games are free to download.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

6. Tap the “X” icon in the top-right corner to exit the App Store and return to the iMessage screen.

7. Below your keyboard, scroll through the icons until you find the game app you just downloaded. Tap it.

Your games will be grouped together with the other third-party iMessage apps.

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Your games will be grouped together with the other third-party iMessage apps.
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William Antonelli/Business Insider

8. This will open a menu where you can customize the game you play with your contact. When you’ve selected the game type, it’ll be automatically loaded into your keyboard. as if you’re sending a photo.

9. Your game will say “Delivered” just like a regular message. Tap anywhere on the message to begin your round.

Once a game has been delivered, you'll have to tap on it to begin playing.

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Once a game has been delivered, you’ll have to tap on it to begin playing.
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Marissa Perino/Business Insider

10. After you’ve completed your turn, you’ll have to wait for your friend to play.

11. Whenever your opponent is able to complete their turn, you’ll receive a new message from them with the game preview. Tap it open the game again to begin your next turn.

Once your contact makes their move, you'll receive a text message notification.

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Once your contact makes their move, you’ll receive a text message notification.
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Marissa Perino/Business Insider

12. Play until the game is over. Some games (such as basketball) only have a few rounds, while others (such as chess) go on for much longer. When a game is over, you’ll have the option to tap “Play Again” from within the game, or your can send a new invitation in the same way you did before.

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