It’s not uncommon to go back through messages and find a time when you sent a specific message. By default, the Messages app on your iPhone will group your conversations. So while you’ll have timestamps for the group of messages between you and a friend, family member or work contact, you will not have specifics as to when a specific message was sent or received. Let me clarify, that information is available, but it’s not immediately visible within the thread. Here’s how to view the timestamp on iPhone messages in iOS 7.

view timestamp on iPhone messages


Before we go further, here’s a quick look at the problem. When looking at this conversation of messages, you’ll see a timestamp followed by six successive messages. One could surmise that both were sent on May 7th at 8:11 pm, but that would be incorrect. That’s the start of the ‘conversation’, but it doesn’t accurately display the time of each individual message.

How to view timestamp on iPhone messages

  1. From within the thread, find the specific message or messages that are missing a timestamp.
  2. Tap and hold the message and drag left. The actual time for when each message was sent or received will be to the right of each individual message.

Timestamp messages iOS 7

So why does Apple make you jump through hoops to find the timestamp on your messages? If I had to guess, it’s a further attempt to declutter the interface. Perhaps their thinking is that while still accessible, it doesn’t need to be a constant on your screen.

Timestamp messages iOS 8

Can I view timestamps in Messages on iOS 6?
No, unfortunately previous versions of iOS do not permit you to view timestamp on iPhone messages.

Any changes to how Apple handles message timestamps in iOS 8?
Apple has made a number of improvements to the Messages app, including support for sending short video and audio clips. They have not made changes to the handling of timestamps.

From iOS 7 and even the upcoming iOS 8 software updates, the ability to show the timestamp for a specific message can be helpful. Having the date and time you sent or received a message can be important. Finding it is a bit tricky, but I’m going to side with Apple on their decision to keep the interface uncluttered. A quick swipe gives you all of the information you need.

How about you? Would you prefer persistent timestamps for each message or do you think Apple’s implementation is the best of both worlds – information when you need it and an uncluttered interface.