iOS messaging and other apps (i.e. skype) only show message timestamps periodically, versus the older method of showing a timestamp for every message.

(The new method offers the ability to swipe left to see all timestamps.)

Contrast this new behavior with WhatsApp behavior, which shows a day stamp for all messages in a given day, and then embeds the time of the message within the chat bubble.

So the question is, without the ability to swipe left, what makes a better UX for a social networking chat app (average user, not power user):

a) the new iOS method WITHOUT swipe-left (datestamp periodically)

b) the old iOS method (datetime stamp on every message)?

c) the WhatsApp method

Also..what is the generally accepted time lapse in the new iOS method before a new datetimestamp is placed?

1 Answer 1


The two apps you are comparing above (iOS messaging and WhatsApp) show Absolute Timestamps, the only difference is that the way they are being implemented.

If multiple messages have arrived on the same day -

iOS shows it as: Today 11.54 AM, Today 12.00 PM etc which is basically a repetition of date which may not be necessary and will force the user to read it when it may not be important.

WhatsApp shows it as: Today and then the timestamps in message bubble which appears more appropriate in many way:

  1. Avoids repetitive date.
  2. Increases interaction speed.
  3. Combines the same day messages under one datastamp.
  4. Eliminates the need of space for data and time (2 lines in iOS messaging app).
  • So current ios doesn't continue to show a timestamp for each message, but rather attempts to only attach a timestamp to the beginning of a conversation. What time lapse causes a new timestamp?
    – lilbiscuit
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 13:16

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