One of the great features of using Apple’s Messages app is its strong support for sending images and videos. At some point, however, Apple decided to treat the amount of media items sent in one message in three different ways. This affects what you see in a Messages conversation and how you respond to the media in the message.
Apple divides media reports into three amounts:
Single photo or video: Appears automatically
Two or three media items: Appears as a loose stack that Apple calls a “collage”
Four or more media items: Appears as a stack aligned with a label indicating the number of items in the stack; tapping or clicking on that label reveals a gallery of images or videos.
You can tap or click a Save icon next to an amount to save all images or videos in the Photos library. While viewing an individual item inline or with Quick Look (macOS) or as a full-screen preview (iOS/iPadOS), you can tap the Share icon in iOS/iPadOS or Control-click the item in macOS for more options .
You can also tap the Reply icon when it appears to create a message thread nested under one or more images you’ve selected.
For a gallery (four or more items), tap or click the top image, then swipe left or right in iOS/iPadOS or use the arrow keys on a keyboard to scroll through the images. Tap or click on the galley label that reads “X Items” and Messages reveals a grid of images and videos. You can then select one or more items in the gallery to comment on, such as save or delete.
Ask Mac 911
We’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions, along with answers and links to columns: read our super frequently asked questions to see if your question is there. If not, we are always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@AppSixty.com, including screenshots where appropriate and if you’d like to use your full name. Not every question is answered, we don’t answer email and we can’t provide direct advice to solve problems.