How to Add Accounts to Messages for Mac

Put all of your instant messages in one place

After installing your Messages for Mac download and opening the instant messenger software for the first time, you will find prompts to create your own Messages account. With a Messages account, other users can send you unlimited instant messages, photos, videos, documents, and contacts right from the Mac, or using iMessage on iPhoneiPod Touch or iPad.

You can also add other messaging accounts and access them all in the same place. Here's how.

These instructions apply to Macs running OS 10.8 and later.

How to Sign In to Messages for Mac

To set up your Messages for Mac instant messaging client and start using the software, you must sign in with your Apple ID and password.

  1. Open Messages on your Mac.

  2. In the fields provided, enter your Apple ID email address and password.

    iMessage on a Mac with the sign-in window highlighted
  3. If you can't recall your password, click the Forgot Apple ID or password button and follow the prompts.

    Messages on a Mac with the Forgot Apple ID or password button highlighted
  4. If you don't have an Apple ID, click the Create an Apple ID button to make one.

    Messages on a Mac with the Create new Apple ID button highlighted
  5. If you do have your info, enter it and click the Next button.

    If you're already signed in to your Apple ID on your Mac, Messages may only ask for your email address.

    Messages on a Mac with the Next button highlighted
  6. Once you've signed in, the main window in Messages will open.

How to Add Jabber to Messages

Messages used to support multiple messaging platforms like Google Hangouts and Yahoo Chat, but the only current option for additional IM accounts is Jabber. If you have an account, you can add it to your Messages.

Doing so is a handy option if you only have an email address (and not a phone number) tied to the program and can't use it to talk to people who don't own Macs or iOS devices.

Here's how to set up Jabber for Messages.

  1. In Messages, click the Messages menu at the top of the screen and click Add Jabber Account.

    Messages on a Mac with the Add Jabber Account option highlighted
  2. Enter your email address and password and click the Sign In button.

    Sign-in screen on Messages for Mac with the Sign In button highlighted
  3. Messages will authorize your account details and add Jabber. To manage accounts, open the Preferences menu by clicking it under the Messages heading or pressing Command/Ctrl-comma on your keyboard.

    Messages on a Mac with the Preferences menu option highlighted
  4. On the General tab of Preferences, click the Default IM Application pull-down menu to decide which service to use as your default.

    General Preferences window in Messages on Mac with the Default IM Application menu highlighted
  5. Whichever service you choose will load when you first open Messages.