Using iMessage (with images)

Table of contents:

Using iMessage (with images)
Using iMessage (with images)

iMessages are messages sent over the internet between iOS devices. With iMessage, iPhones, Macs, iPads and iPod Touches can receive messages when connected to Wi-Fi (wireless network) or a 3G/4G network. Your iDevice will automatically send an iMessage when you send a message to another iMessage user.


Part 1 of 5: Understanding the basics

Use iMessage Step 1

Step #1. Send iMessages using Messages app

Messages from iMessage are sent through the Messages app, just like your Text messages. iMessage and SMS to the same person will be bundled into one conversation.

Use iMessage Step 2

Step 2. Send messages to other Apple users without having to use your carrier's SMS plan

iMessage makes it possible to send messages to other Apple users. iMessages don't take text limit into account. The appropriate message will be sent automatically. You don't have to switch when you message different people.

Messages sent to other iMessage users will be blue. Text messages will be green

Use iMessage Step 3

Step 3. Enable iMessage on all your Apple devices

iMessages are delivered to all your connected Apple devices as long as they are connected to the internet. iMessage is not available on Android devices or Windows computers.

Use iMessage Step 4

Step 4. Connect to a wireless network or a mobile data network to use iMessage

iMessage requires an internet connection. You will need to be connected to a WiFi or 3G/4G network to use it. If your iPhone is not connected to a network, iMessage will automatically switch to SMS mode. If you are not connected to a wireless network with your iPod or iPad, you will not be able to use iMessage.

iMessages do not count towards your carrier's payment plan. iMessages do count towards your mobile data unless you are connected via WiFi

Part 2 of 5: Enable iMessage

Use iMessage Step 5

Step 1. Create an Apple ID

iMessage requires a free Apple ID. You will log in with this ID on every device. iMessages will be synced across all your devices.

You can create a free Apple ID at You will need to enter a valid email address to verify the account

Use iMessage Step 6

Step 2. Sign in to your iOS device with your Apple ID

Once you have an Apple ID, you can use it to sign in to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. You can use your ID to log in on multiple devices.

  • Open the Settings app and select 'Messages'.
  • Turn on 'iMessage' and press 'Use your Apple ID for iMessage' (iPhone only).
  • Enter your Apple ID and password. iMessage may take some time to activate.
Use iMessage Step 7

Step 3. Enable iMessage on your OS X computer

You can send and receive iMessages through your OS X computer with Mountain Lion or later.

  • Open the Messages app. You can find it in your Dock or in the Applications folder.
  • Click on the 'Messages' menu and select 'Preferences'.
  • Make sure your Apple ID is selected. If you're not signed in with your Apple ID, you'll need to click the + button and sign in.
  • Check the 'Enable for this account' option. You can now send and receive iMessages.

Part 3 of 5: Sending and receiving messages

Use iMessage Step 8

Step 1. Set the address where you can be reached

On an iPhone, iMessages can be sent to your phone number as well as to your email address. If you have multiple email addresses linked to your account, choose the one you wish to use.

  • Open the Settings app on your device and select "Messages".
  • Tap 'Send & Receive' and then tap an address to enable it. You can also add another e-mail address at which you wish to be reached. You can only have one Apple ID email address associated with the device at a time.
  • Select the address or number with which you wish to send messages.
Use iMessage Step 9

Step #2. Open the Messages app

Like text messages, iMessages are sent through the Messages app.

Use iMessage Step 10

Step 3. Press the Compose button to start a conversation

You can now start a new conversation with anyone from your contact list. It will only be an iMessage conversation when the other person is also using iMessage.

Use iMessage Step 11

Step 4. Check the 'Send' button

You can tell whether a message is a standard SMS or an iMessage by looking at the color of the Send button. If the button is blue, the message will be sent as an iMessage. If the button is green then it will be sent as an SMS.

iPads and iPods can only send messages to other iMessage users

Use iMessage Step 12

Step 5. Add photos and videos

You can add media to your messages just like a text message. iMessage makes it possible to send these without charging your provider's MMS plan.

  • Press the Camera button in the lower left corner of the conversation.
  • Press the Gallery option to view all the photos and videos on your device.
  • Tap a photo or video to add it to your post.
  • Send the message. If you send a message over a mobile data network, you will be charged.

Part 4 of 5: Getting more out of iMessage

Use iMessage Step 13

Step 1. Send a voice message with iMessage

You can send voice messages to your iMessage contacts. This does require iOS 8 or later.

  • Open a conversation in Messages.
  • Press and hold the microphone button in the lower right corner.
  • Keep your finger there and say the message you wish to record.
  • Swipe up to send the recorded message.
Use iMessage Step 14

Step 2. Send information about where you are

You can share locations with all your contacts who use iMessage via Apple Maps.

  • Open the Maps app and find the location you want to share.
  • Tap the Share button in the top right corner.
  • Select 'Message' from the list of options. Press 'Send' to send the location. When the recipient taps on the map in the call, the Maps app will launch.
Use iMessage Step 15

Step 3. Disable iMessage previews on your device's lock screen

By default, previews of messages will appear on your device's lock screen. If you prefer a little more privacy, you can turn this off.

  • Open the Settings app and select 'Notifications'.
  • Press the 'Messages' option and then scroll down to 'Show previews'. Turn this off.
Use iMessage Step 16

Step 4. Set old iMessages to be deleted automatically

Old messages can take up a lot of your device's storage space, especially messages with photos and videos attached. By default, your device will save the entire message history. You can set your iOS device to automatically delete old messages if you are using iOS 8 or later.

  • Open the Settings app and select 'Messages'.
  • Press the 'Keep messages' option and select either '30 days' or '1 year'. You will be asked if you want to delete messages on your device that are older than the time limit you have set.
Use iMessage Step 17

Step 5. Leave group conversations if you don't want to receive notifications

You can leave a group conversation if you no longer want to receive notifications. This only works when 'all' participants are using iMessage and iOS 8 or later.

  • Open the conversation you wish to leave.
  • Tap the 'Details' option in the top right corner.
  • Scroll down and tap "Leave This Conversation." If this option is gray, at least one participant is not an iMessage user on an iOS 8 or later device.
Use iMessage Step 18

Step 6. Turn on or off 'Received read' to show or hide that you have read a message

Any iMessage contact will be able to see whether or not you have read their latest message. You can disable this if you do not wish to share this information.

  • Open the Settings app and select 'Messages'.
  • Turn 'Send read receipts' on or off depending on your preferences.

Part 5 of 5: Troubleshooting

Use iMessage Step 19

Step 1. Check your connection

iMessage requires an internet connection. If you can't load web pages then something is wrong with your network connection and this is not iMessage's fault. Try disconnecting from the wireless network and then reconnecting. You can also try rebooting your device.

You can check the status of the iMessage service at

Use iMessage Step 20

Step 2. Check the settings of iMessage if you can't send normal text

Sometimes one of the iMessage settings can cause problems with the service.

  • Open the Settings app on your iOS device and select "Messages".
  • Make sure 'Send as SMS' is turned on. This will cause messages to be sent as SMS messages when iMessage is not available.
  • Press the 'Forward text message' option and uncheck Forward all. Forwarding allows you to send and receive SMS on all your iCloud devices, but this is known to cause problems.
Use iMessage Step 21

Step 3. Check the date and time settings

iMessage may fail to activate and connect to the iMessage servers if the date and time are incorrect.

  • Open the Settings app and press 'General'.
  • Select 'Date & Time' and then check that your location settings are correct.
Use iMessage Step 22

Step 4. Restart your device if you cannot send or receive messages

Sometimes problems with iMessage can be solved with a quick reboot. On your iOS device, press the Power button. Use the slider to turn off your device. Press and hold the Power button to turn the device back on.

Use iMessage Step 23

Step 5. If iMessage continues to cause problems, perform a system restore

Sometimes a system restore is the only way to fix problems with your iOS device. You can make a backup via iTunes and then load it after the restore to protect your data.

  • Connect your iOS device to your computer and open iTunes. Select your iOS device from the top row of buttons.
  • Click the Back Up Now button. This will back up your iOS device to the computer.
  • Click the Restore iPhone/iPad/iPod… button.
  • Wait for your device to recover and reset. Select the backup you just created when you set up the device. Click here for more detailed instructions.
Use iMessage Step 24

Step 6. Disable iMessage when switching to a phone that is not Apple

Turn off iMessage before switching phones, otherwise you may not be able to receive text messages from your old iMessage contacts.

  • If you still have your iPhone, open the Settings app and select 'Messages'. Turn OFF 'iMessage'. It may take a while for iMessage's servers to process this change.
  • If you no longer have the iPhone, go to and enter your phone number. You will receive an SMS on your new phone with the code. Enter this code in the second field of the site to disable iMessage.

Popular by topic