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iOS 8 Messages app feature: Video messages

Video messages in iOS 8Yesterday we showed you one of the fun new features of the iOS 8 Messages app -- Audio messages. But did you know that iOS 8 also brings you video messages? It's even more fun, and potentially more useful.

To quickly send a fast video message to a friend or associate, launch the Messages app and tap the New Message button. On the left side of the edit field where you normally enter your text message -- and on the opposite side from the microphone button we talked about yesterday -- you'll find a camera button.

First, add a recipient to the "To:" field at the top of the message. Now all you need to do is tap and hold that camera button. Initially, the Messages app assumes that you wish to send a message from yourself, so it uses the front-facing camera. As with the regular Camera app, there's a button shaped like a camera with a pair of circling arrows in it -- tap that to switch to the rear-facing camera instead.

Similar the Audio message feature, a quarter-circle user interface appears in the lower left corner of the Messages app. On it are three buttons -- a red one that you tap to start and stop recording your video, a camera button if you just want to take a still shot instead, and an X button for canceling the entire process. When you're done recording your video, you can either tap the play button that replaces the record button to review what you've just done, tap the X to delete the recorded video, or use that arrow button to send it to your recipient.

In order to keep from filling up your iPhone or iPad with these little videos and audio snippets, the Messages app deletes them from the sender's phone after a preset amount of time. If you wish to keep the video or audio snippet, there's a small "Keep" link that appears below your sent video that makes sure it doesn't disappear. Note that if you'd prefer to save the video (either as a sender or recipient), you can just tap and hold the video snippet to make a pop-up menu appear, then select Save. That stores the video in the Photos app.

So, do the video messages show up on iOS 7 devices, and are they viewable? The answer to both questions is yes. iOS 7 users will need to wait until they upgrade to iOS 8 before they'll be able to swap obnoxious video messages with you with a few taps.

Be sure to stay tuned to TUAW over the next few weeks as we dive deep into the new features of iOS 8.

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