How to Set Up iMessage on the iPad

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Did you know you can text on your iPad even if you don't own an iPhone? Apple's iMessage can extend your text messaging from your iPhone to your iPad, but it can also work as a standalone text messaging app for those who don't own an iPhone.

iMessage is a free feature that routes text messages through Apple's servers and does away with the 144 character limit of SMS messages. And a nice feature of iMessage is that it can be configured to use your email address, your phone number or both.

How to Set Up iMessage

  1. First, go to the iPad's Settings by tapping the icon that looks like gears turning.
  2. Scroll down the left-side menu until you locate Messages. Tapping this menu item will bring up the iMessage settings.
  3. iMessage should be on by default, but if the on/off slider next to it is set to off, tap the slider to turn iMessage back on. You may be prompted to log in with your Apple ID at this point.
  4. Next, you will want to configure how you can be reached on iMessage. Tap the button that reads Send & Receive just below the "Send Read Receipts" setting.
  5. The next screen will let you set up the addresses that you can be reached at using iMessage. If you have an iPhone attached to your Apple ID, you should see the phone number listed here. If you have several iPhones that log into the same address, you may see several phone numbers. You will also see any email addresses you have attached to your account.
  6. If you have multiple phone numbers listed and you are the only user of the iPad, it may be better to uncheck any phone number that is not yours. This will keep you from receiving text messages sent to other members of your family. Friends and family can also send text messages to the email address you check in on this screen.
  1. Don't use your primary email address on your Apple ID? You can add a new one via this screen. Simply tap Add Another Email... and a new email address will be attached to your Apple ID account.

You must have at least one destination checked on this screen if you have iMessage turned on. So if you want to uncheck your phone number but it is grayed out, you will need to check your email address or another phone number first.

How to Send More Than Just Text in an iMessage

Apple recently expanded the capabilities of messages by adding the ability to send more than just text with a message. In the Messages app, you can now tap the heart with two fingers to draw a message to a friend. This is a really cool way to express your feelings by drawing a heart or your frustration by drawing a frowny face.

You can also tap the button with an A on it to send animated GIFs, music or other stickers you have purchased through the App Store. The images section contains the animated GIFs that come with the iPad. There's enough variety there that you should be able to express almost any emotion.

If you hold down the response bubble from a friend, you will see even more options to customize your text by adding a thumbs up or a heart to their response.

Did you know that you can also place phone calls on your iPad?