How to Stop iMessages From Popping up on Other Devices

Families can share an Apple ID and route messages to specific devices

Apple's instant-messaging service iMessage, which is supported by the Messages texting app, has a number of cool features, such as the ability to send and receive messages on all your devices, including iPhones, iPads, the iPod touch, MacBooks, and Macs.

But if family members share an Apple ID, this default feature can lead to confusion and privacy issues, with messages for multiple people popping up on various devices. Luckily, it's a simple fix to disable this feature and stop iMessages from appearing on all devices connected to an Apple ID.

Person using Messages settings on iPhone
Maddy Price / Lifewire

These instructions apply to devices running iOS 8 and later.

Control Where iMessages Appear

Multiple people can share the same Apple ID and still route iMessages to specific devices.

  1. Navigate to your iPhone or iPad's Settings.

    Settings icon on an iPad
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  2. Tap Messages (on the iPad's left-side menu; scroll down to find Messages in your iPhone's Settings).

    Messages heading in the Setting screen on an iPad
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  3. Tap Send & Receive.

    Send & Receive heading on the Messages screen on an iPad
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  4. This screen lists the phone numbers and email addresses associated with the Apple ID. Uncheck any phone numbers or email addresses that should no longer receive or send iMessages that are associated with your Apple ID.

    Choose to send and receive only to an email address and remove your actual phone number completely, if you prefer.

    Checked phone number on the iMessage screen on an iPad
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  5. Select at least one phone number or email address to receive iMessages to and reply from. If you don't want to use iMessage at all, turn off the feature in the previous screen by tapping the switch next to iMessage.

    iMessages selector in the Messages screen on an iPad
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  6. If you opt to use two addresses, such as your phone number and your email address, choose which one to use by default via the Start New Conversations From setting. This setting will show up only if you choose to send messages from two sources.

How to Add a New Email Address for iMessage

Add a new email address for iMessage only via Apple's website. It's not possible to do this from your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Go to the Apple ID/Manage Your Apple Account page using your web browser and log in to your Apple ID.

  2. To the right of the Account section, select the Edit button.

    Main Apple ID account page with Edit button
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  3. Scroll down to the Reachable At section of the account settings and choose the Add More option.

    Account edit screen on the Apple ID website with the Add More option highlighted
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  4. Type in the email address you want to use and click Continue.

    Adding an email to an Apple ID with Continue button is highlighted
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  5. Apple will immediately prompt you for a code sent to the email address on file. Check your email for the message and enter the code into the boxes to proceed.

What About FaceTime Calls?

FaceTime works similarly to iMessage. Calls are routed to a phone number or an email address associated with the account; these addresses are turned on by default. If multiple users share an Apple ID, everyone's FaceTime calls may be sent to all devices on the account.

Disable this the same way you disabled iMessage, but instead of going into Messages in Settings, tap on FaceTime. Under You can be reached by FaceTime at, uncheck any email address or phone number whose FaceTime calls you don't want to receive.

Setting screen and Facetime screen on the iPhone
 Lifewire

Apple advises using a separate Apple ID for each person in a family and connecting them using the Family Sharing feature. But many people still opt to share an Apple ID among family members.