How to Sync iMessages on iOS and macOS

The most used app on iOS is iMessage, and yet it often isn’t set up correctly. A transcript started on either a Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch might not show up on the other devices. This article will show you how to fix that, and if you’re starting iMessages with an unwanted email address or phone number, or are only able to send SMS, available fixes for that will be detailed, too.

We will start with setting up the Apple ID to manage iMessage rather than setting up a send and receive phone number or email address on each device. This error is by far the most common. If all else fails, I will detail how to reset iMessage on both iOS and macOS to get back on track.

Steps for iOS

We need to verify that your Apple ID is in use with iMessage.

Open Settings and navigate to and tap on “Messages.”


Tap on “Send & Receive.”


If your Apple ID is shown at the top of the screen, you’re set. Otherwise, tap and log in.

Have your phone number selected as the number used to start new conversations. If you do not have a phone number to associate, select your primary email address instead. We will keep this the same across devices.


Follow these steps on the rest of your iOS devices.

Steps for Mac

To begin, launch iMessage. Click on iMessage on the menu bar, and select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu.


Navigate to the accounts tab in this newly opened window. As with iOS, verify that your Apple ID is in use and that your primary phone number or email address is selected from the “start new conversations from” drop-down menu.


Further Troubleshooting

Still cannot seem to get iMessage working properly across devices? Try resetting iMessage all together.

To do this on iOS, navigate to “messages” in Settings, and flip the “iMessage” switch to off.


While a device restart isn’t necessary before turning iMessage back on, it is highly recommended. A full device restart will give the OS a chance to clear out any issues and empty RAM. Fully shut down your device by pressing and holding the lock button, and sliding to power off. Turn the device back on, navigate to Settings again, and flip the iMessage switch back to the on position. As a result, you may be prompted to re-enter your Apple ID credentials, but this should clear up any hiccups.

To do this process on Mac, launch iMessage again, click on iMessage on the menu bar, select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu, and navigate to the accounts tab. Click “sign out” next to your Apple ID, and sign back in. Like on iOS, a device restart isn’t necessary, but it could help clear up any issues.


If the issue still persists, some final troubleshooting steps and tips include checking your Internet connection and turning off or restarting your VPN (if you have one). This should be done to prove that an insufficient Internet connection is not to blame.



Of course, being able to send and receive messages freely and without burden is essential to everyday life – both for business and personal use. So with all things considered, hopefully these tips will be able to get things sorted out for you.

Corbin Telligman Corbin Telligman

I'm a junior at UT Dallas, a tech enthusiast, an adreneline junkie, and a coffee fanatic.