How to show first and last name in iOS 7 messaging apps

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After installing iOS 7 you probably have noticed some changes with Apple’s Messages app. Yes, there is the new flattened design, the ability to show timestamps, and more, but the app also defaults to displaying only first names for contacts in message threads. The same goes for Mail.

This can be confusing, say, if you have several friends with the same name. Here’s how to get the messages app to show the first and last name of a contact, or (if you prefer) some combination of name and initial.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Under Contacts, tape the option Short Name
  4. Disable short names by turning the option to off
  5. Alternatively, choose another option to show first or last name only or first or last name with an initial.

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Under the same menu you can also choose to prefer nicknames, which will make use of its namesake field in your address book and substitute the alternate monikers of friends and family where appropriate.

The display name ultimately depends on the complete address book entry, so if you haven’t added last names for some contacts now might be a good time to do so. Once you have completed the above steps, any app (Mail and Messages included) that uses short names will now the show full names of contacts as the default.

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