How to Get Text Messages on Your Mac

Never miss another notification

Woman using her Mac while sitting at a table in her living room.

Westend 61 / Getty Images 

Mac computers, including those running 10.13, 10.12, and 10.11, are capable of working hand in hand with your iPhone. Have you ever missed an important text message while deep in your work? If so, it's easy to receive text messages on your Mac so you can be sure it never happens again.

This guide is for all Mac models including the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro models.

Understanding the Difference Between Text Messages and iMessages

iMessages are Apple's unique messaging service that sends messages using an internet connection. iMessages are sent and received via Apple's Messages app, which comes standard on all iPhones and Macs. iMessages can only be sent between Apple devices. Other messages are sent as SMS messages or text messages and can be sent to any device, including Android.

Types of iMessages

Using iMessages, you can receive both SMS and MMS messages, as well as iMessages from all Apple devices. Using the iMessage tool, you can send images by simply dragging and dropping them into the text field. You can also send emojis, files and voice memos using the on-screen tools.

Within the Messages app, blue text bubbles are messages sent between Apple devices using iMessages. Green text bubbles are messages sent between Apple devices and Android devices.

How to Get Text Messages on Your Mac

  1. First, make sure you're logged into your Mac and iPhone using the same Apple ID. This is how messages are sent and received between both devices.

    To see which Apple ID your devices are using, tap Settings, then tap your Apple ID on your iPhone. Scroll to view which devices are logged into which Apple ID.

  2. On your iPhone, open Settings.

  3. Scroll down and tap Messages.

  4. Tap Text Message Forwarding and toggle the switch to the on position for the Mac you wish to receive your text messages on.

    Screenshot of Text Message Forwarding on iPhone

    Have an iPad? This is where you can make the choice to receive text messages on that device as well. Simply toggle on all the devices you wish to use to receive messages.

  5. On your Mac, open the Messages app and click Preferences from the Messages menu.

  6. Click Enable This Account to ensure you can receive text messages using your Apple ID.

  7. Select the correct phone number and email address you wish to use for messaging. Now, you've synced your text messages to your iPhone and your Mac.

Using an Android with a Mac? Unfortunately, the Messages app only works with iPhones using the iMessage encryption. However, you can receive and send messages using Android Messages.

How to Troubleshoot When You're Not Receiving Text Messages on Your Mac

  1. Try resetting the Messages app by closing it, then re-launching it.

  2. Try restarting your Mac. To restart, click the Apple icon > Restart.

  3. Try signing out of the Messages app, then signing back in using your Apple ID. To do this, simply open Messages, then click Preferences > iMessage > Sign Out.

  4. Open Messages, then click Preferences > iMessage > Enable This Account to make sure Enable This Account is checked in the Messages app Preferences.

  5. Are you connected to the internet? Messages can't be received without a good internet connection. Try disconnecting and reconnecting your internet from your Mac.

  6. Still not receiving text messages? Your Mac might be due for a check-up at the Apple Genius Bar. Schedule an appointment for help with troubleshooting the Messages app on your Mac.