Re: App Store shortcuts and Messages character count
On terms of the App Store buttons, that was happening to me for the first few times I opened the App Store after updating, I just kept opening it and closing it before it finally decided to stay normal all the time. It still OCCASIONALLY happens, but it seems to coincide with my, at the time crappy signal.
On terms of the character count, I could be very wrong, but I imagine that character count doesn't matter when it comes to iMessage. Character count really only pertains to messages sent over the cellular network, given that the network can only send a certain amount of characters at one given time. Again, I could be wrong, but that's my guess.
One side note, if you don't want to lose all your pictures, videos, messages, etc., you should really back up into iCloud. That way, when you do happen to need to restore your phone, you'll get everything back. If you already backup into iCloud, then don't fret, it backs up automatically at a certain point everyday, so, again, if you ever have to wipe your phone, just restore from the cloud and you will get all those things back.