In iOS 10 Apple added the ability to react to messages (“tapback”). You can give a thumbs up, a heart, laughter, etc. You do so by tapping and holding the message and then tapping your reaction when the options pop up.

Before iOS 10, though, tapping and holding a message allowed you to select part of the message, just like tapping and holding text most anywhere else on the iPhone.

Is it still possible to partially copy text from an iMessage or SMS? If yes, how do we do so?

4 Answers 4


Best way is to select "forward" then you can select part of the message to copy. Apple should fix this though.

  • Forward? This isn't about emails, it's about text messages... there is no forward AFAIK.
    – JVC
    Apr 26, 2017 at 15:01
  • You can long-tap an SMS, choose "More..." and tap on arrow - that opens a new SMS with that text. This seems to be the way to "forward" SMS messages.
    – Richlv
    Jan 16, 2018 at 15:26
  • This works really well! It's quite a few clicks to go through, but it's a great work around! Still works on iOS 15 in 2021 Dec 13, 2021 at 16:30

In iOS 10, you can only copy an entire message. You may then edit it upon pasting.

When the Tapback options show up after long-pressing a message, you get the option to Copy at the bottom of the screen.

Text Options

Tapping More… lets you select multiple messages to Delete or Forward.

  • Wow did I really make this up? I am pretty sure that you could and that it was useful for voting addresses especially. But maybe I imagined it all
    – Unrelated
    Oct 22, 2016 at 17:33
  • 3
    To the best of my recollection, long-pressing has always selected the entire bubble.
    – user11633
    Oct 22, 2016 at 17:46
  • 1
    @Unrelated you didn't imagine it. iOS 8 definitely allowed you to copy part of a message. I know cause I only recently upgraded
    – huyz
    Mar 2, 2017 at 20:03

No, it's not possible with a non-jailbroken iOS 10. You can select the entire message to copy first and then after you paste you can edit the text.


Easiest solution I found was to copy the entire bubble, then paste it into the text area to send, and in that area you can select just the single word or portion you want like normal text. Once selected and copied, just delete the message and don't send it.

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