How to copy text out of an SMS in iOS 10


Apple have removed the ability to copy part of a text message in iOS 10. Quite often I need to copy just part of a text message – e.g. a verification code, a bank account number, an address and so on, to paste into another application. You can’t do this anymore in iOS 10.   There is a work around.  Copy the entire message, paste it into the text reply field at the bottom of the messages window, then copy part of the message from there.

Read on for details.

If you have received a text message in iOS 10, and tried to copy just a word or two from the message, you will notice that you cannot do that anymore! Instead, you get a dialog box asking you to send a ha ha message. Apple are turning the iPhone into a kid’s toy.


There in not a way to copy just part of the message anymore. There is an option under the message to ‘Copy’ the entire message.

You can copy the entire message by selecting 'Copy'
Selecting ‘Copy’ will copy the entire SMS


So a workaround is to copy the entire message,  then paste the message into the text reply box as if you were going to reply to the message. Then, you can select only part of the message, like in iOS 9, because you don’t get those silly other options.


If you paste the entire message into the text reply window you can now select and copy the part of the message you want to copy.




18 responses to “How to copy text out of an SMS in iOS 10”

  1. Goran

    This is a colossal missed opportunity to use Force Touch. Long press could do those moronic sticker-emojis whatever they are, and if you pressed harder you could go into text selection mode. Or vice versa. But the main point is, there are two levels of interactions, and Apple failed to utilise them.

    1. Except that would not work on old iPhones. But yes, anything would be better than what they have done. They are turning the iPhone into a toy. Maybe they are going after the kids’ market.

  2. L

    Apple, please update this bafoonery! This is so aggravating and such a waste of possible features as described in the messages above. For the older iPhone market just make stickers a double tap while keeping copy & paste the same old hold its always been. It’d be much appreciated.

    Excited and open to change but not when it costs a loss in functionality.

    Your “LOYAL” users

  3. Good to share. i will update my iphone 6 to 10 version and let me try it . It seems simple.

  4. G

    Yes, all these new animations and features have led to reduced functionality!!! I always copied sections of texts (validation codes etc), so am really irritated at the need for a work around.

  5. D

    This is very frustrating. Users should be able to copy portions of a text message.

  6. Jim

    As usual Apple is always going one step forward, two steps backward. This is so annoying that my iPhone 6S Plus has less functionality in some ways than my old iPhone 4. Over the years I have often wondered where Apple comes up with so many incredibly stupid choices. Especially stupid with my iPhone 6S, which has two levels of touch. fully expected that one of these touch levels would give me access to select text out of a received text message. Once the fix the exploding battery issue at Samsung (which also happens to iPhones on occasion BTW) I am fully prepared to switch away from the customer abusive policies and intentionally limited features of the iPhones.

  7. Susan

    I can’t get the copy and paste option to come up at all, just those stupid emoji’s, which are not useful and I have NO interest in. Super aggravated about it. I have tried holding my finger down, double tap, etc. Nothing but silly emojis. I plan to contact Apple and vociferously complain.

    1. Donna

      ME too!!! I can’t even get the whole copy menu. I HATE the stupid emojis. AWFUL choice

      1. Mark Patterson

        If you double press, just the emojis come up. If you long press, both the emojis and the Copy | More menu appear.

        I think they have that the wrong way round. I hardly ever want to do emojis, and the long press is very long when you’re in a hurry.

  8. anthony

    This is my last iPhone. My next upgrade will be a Galaxy. This is a kid’s toy, or at best a fashion accessory, posing as a mobile device. From the perspective of getting work done, it is impossible. This last upgrade with the simple copy / paste replaced by stupid emojis is the last straw for me.

  9. Ryan Murphy

    I’ve been a devoted Apple fan for many, many years. I’m so absolutely frustrated by this bullshit I’m considering turning in my phone and trying an Android. Seriously, WTF? I’m a grown up: I don’t use emoji. I don’t want to ‘hand write’ texts. I need my phone as a tool for work. Since the soft wear update, it’s much less useful. The touch screen is ambivalent, my contacts have been scrambled, and I can’t paste from one text to another. I DON’T WANT TO SEND EMOTICONS, I WANT TO COMMUNICATE INFORMATION.

    1. I agree – very disappointed this was not addressed in 10.2. Probably means it’s deliberate not a mistake. I think I’m going to do a review of the google Pixel phone. It looks like the closest thing to what the iPhone should be. Hardware and software by the same company. Had a play with it in the shop and it feels nice. Bit hard to test the audio there though as it had no songs on it and no web connection.

  10. Ethan

    Same problem here. Can’t copy message texts – my touch only brings up emojis. Frustrating! Same situation- I use my phone and it’s text functions for communicating what are they called again? Oh yes: words, and sentences! Give us back the copy text function!

  11. Banway

    Thanks from britanny :) for this tip, i didn’t think of doing that ! But i was indeed in despair when i realize it wasn’t working anymore ! Funny how my iphone5s was more useful to me when i bought it few years ago than today… and since the last iphone do not have anymore the sound exit, apple is out of the competition for my next phone.

  12. Fiona

    Thanks for this but what a huge step backwards Apple – come-on apple – sort this out!

  13. Barbara

    What worked for me was to copy the full text and then paste it in the text reply box (as the person mentioned above). Then I copied the text in the reply box and was able to paste into an email. Seems stupid to have to do it this way but thanks for the help.

  14. William Burdis

    Stupid Apple iOS. It’s a becoming unusable for me as I get older. I live in the Tropics / Northern Australia, the touch screen hardly works (and no chance of the Biometrics) working either when outside.
    What a bunch of detached designers. My partner has zero issue with screen and biometrics on …well you know what platform on a phone that rhymes with Samsung.
    Grrrrrr. Rantity Rant.

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