Mastering iMessage On Your iPhone: Manage Multiple Devices [iOS Tips]

iMessageSettings

Let’s be honest, the fact that you can conduct iMessage conversations across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac is pretty freakin’ cool.

Let’s also be clear, sometimes this very same feature is a pain in the butt. Getting iMessages on all three of my Apple devices in the same room can be a bit daunting, especially when I’m trying to concentrate on, say, writing an iOS Tip for the next day.

What’s a busy, popular, connected person to do? Manage those devices and their iMessage settings a bit better, that’s what. Here’s how.

On each device you want to use iMessage on, tap into the Settings app, then tap on Messages. Scroll down to Send & Receive, and tap through to that screen. You’ll see your Apple ID at the top, and then a section titled, “You can be reached by iMessage at:” with one or more phone numbers or email addresses there.

Let’s say you want to get iMessages on all devices you own. This is easy. Make sure that every iOS and OS X device you use has all of the phone numbers and addresses you’ve entered into iMessage checked off in these preferences. That way, each device will get every iMessage sent to your iPhone, your iPad, or your Mac.

To get trickier, you could only enable *one* phone number or email address per device. For example, I could only allow iMessages to my phone number to show up on my iPhone, by unchecking all the email addresses in the iMessage Settings page there. Then I could only check one of my associated email addresses on my iPad, and then a second one on my Mac. That way, I’d still be using iMessage, logged with my Apple ID, but messages would only go to and from the specific device I was currently using.

The great thing? You can mix and match these strategies. If you don’t want to get iMessages on your Mac for a bit, uncheck all the email addresses and phone numbers. Say you don’t want anyone reaching you at your email address via iMessage on your iPhone? Simply uncheck it there, but leave it enabled on your iPad and Mac. The permutations are up to you.

Hopefully this will have given you some ideas on how to manage the information overload that can come from iMessages and multiple Apple devices. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

  • joewaylo

    You missed one whiteout. Unless you mean for us to call you at (907) — – —-

  • augieortiz

    Alaska!!!!!!!!

  • GigaTigga

    Yeah and its pretty obvious that one is (sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

  • chriswtburke

    Lol.. Good job at blocking out that email.. Not..

  • Jonathan Ober

    came for the tips…left with Rob’s phone number. for a good time call ;)

  • bondr006

    How come my Messages screen looks so much different than Robs? And I cannot even locate the iMessages screen that he shows in the second picture.

    Here’s mine:

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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