How to Sync iMessage to Mac

How to set up iMessage on your Mac

What to Know

  • To sync text messages between iPhone and Mac, on the Mac go to the Messages program > Messages > Preferences > Settings > sign in with the same Apple ID you use on your iPhone.
  • In the You can be reached for messages at section, check all phone numbers and email addresses that are available.
  • Set the Start new conversations from drop down to the same phone number on your iPhone and Mac.

This article explains how to do sync your messages and how to fix it if the Messages app sync isn't working.

How Do I Sync Text Messages Between iPhone and Mac?

Apple assumes you'll want all of your iMessage texts available on both your iPhone and Mac, so it makes syncing messages between devices really easy. In fact, you might have enabled syncing automatically when you set up both devices. To make sure all text messages sync between iPhone and Mac, follow these steps:

For the purposes of these instructions, we're going to assume you've already set up and are using iMessage on your iPhone. If not, you can learn all about how to do that in Everything You Need to Know About Messages, the iPhone Texting App.

  1. On your iPhone, to go Settings > Messages > Send & Receive. You'll need the information shown on this screen for your Mac settings.

    iMessage settings on iPhone.
  2. On your Mac, open the Messages app.

  3. Click the Messages menu.

    The iMessage settings menu on a Mac with Preferences highlighted.
  4. Click Preferences.

  5. Click the iMessage tab.

    The send and receive settings for iMessage on Mac.
  6. Confirm the Apple ID you're logged into here is the same as the one you use on your iPhone. If it's not, click Sign Out and then sign in with that Apple ID.

  7. Check all of the boxes in the You can be reached for messages at: section that are also checked on your iPhone (refer to Step 1 for that information). This makes sure that however someone texts you—to your phone number or to any email address you may use with iMessage—the texts will arrive on both devices.

  8. Match the Start new conversations from: drop down on your Mac to the same setting on the iPhone. This ensures any new message you send will be attached to the same phone number or email address on both devices and will stay in a single message thread.

Why Are My iMessages Not Syncing Between iPhone and Mac?

Syncing iMessage between iPhone and Mac usually works pretty flawlessly, but sometimes messages get out of sync. In that situation, here are some other commons causes of, and solutions to, this problem:

  • The texts are SMS, not iMessage: iMessages are not the traditional, standard text messages that any phone can send. iMessage is a special Apple technology that only works on Apple devices. You can tell a standard SMS because of its green bubble, whereas iMessages have blue bubbles. Only iMessages can sync to a Mac (though both kinds of text are supported on iPhone).
  • You're signed into the wrong Apple ID: If you're signed into a different on Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone, all of your messages may not sync between the devices. Make sure to sign into the same Apple on iPhone (Settings > [your name]) and Mac (Messages > Messages > Preferences > Apple ID).
  • Not all phone numbers and email addresses are enabled: Since you can get iMessages delivered to both your phone number and email addresses, you have to make sure all of your numbers and addresses are set up on both your Mac and iPhone. If they're not, that could explain why messages are only showing up on one device. Match the settings on iPhone (Settings > Messages > Send & Receive) and Mac (Messages > Messages > Preferences > You can be reached for messages at) and see if that fixes the problem.
  • You're not using Messages on both devices: The Messages app can only sync texts between Mac and iPhone if you're using the same app on both devices. There are many alternative text message apps available on the iPhone which you could be using. If you're not seeing texts sync, make sure you're using Apple's pre-installed Messages app on both devices.
FAQ
  • How do I sync iMessage history to Mac?

    Turn on Messages in iCloud. From your iPhone, select Settings > your name > iCloud > and move the toggle to the right (on) next to Messages. To turn on Messages in iCloud on your Mac, go to Messages > Preferences > iMessage > and check the box beside Enable Messages in iCloud.

  • How do I sync contacts to iMessage on Mac?

    Connect your iPhone and Mac to iCloud and turn on contact syncing. Go to System Preferences > iCloud > and select Contacts on your Mac. Repeat the steps on your iPhone; tap Settings > your name > iCloud > and toggle on Contacts.

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