iOS 7: Tweak and Disable Short Names in Messages

| TMO Quick Tip

Along with the extremely noticeable UI changes in iOS 7 came a zillion (yes, a zillion) little changes that have been mostly well received. These are the changes I love most because they tend to affect the way we use our devices every day. However, one change that I didn’t particularly enjoy was the switch to the use of “short names” and nicknames in the Messages app. Thankfully though, Apple is doing the right thing by providing users a method to tweak it to our liking.

Short Name Settings

Out of the box, iOS 7 comes set up to shorten names in Messages to provide readability. It’s also set to prefer nicknames for contacts which have them. However, this may not be the behavior that you want. Maybe you prefer seeing people’s real name over their silly nicknames. In my case, that’s exactly what irked me. You can also tweak the way people’s real names are displayed or even turn off short names entirely

To make these changes, head to Settings and then to Mail, Contacts, Calendars. From there, scroll down to the Contacts section and select Short Name. If you don’t want to see nicknames, simply turn off Prefer Nicknames.

If you don’t want Messages to shorten people’s names, you can turn that off, too. I happen to think it’s a good feature, although I’ve tweaked it to include the person’s last initial due to the number of Bens that I know.

Short Names in Messages

To see the results of this change, jump over to the Messages app and take a look. Continue tweaking until you’re satisfied.

Comments

mlvezie

Looks nice, but how do you set a nickname? Is that an iCloud-only feature? I use Google.

Michael Johnston

@mlvezie great question! The nickname field can be added to any contact within the Phone or Contacts app (Mac or iOS). Just go to the contact, hit Edit, Add Field (at the bottom) and select Nickname. Sha-boom.

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