How to Sync iMessages Across iOS and OS X

One of the great features that was introduced with OS X Mountain Lion last year was the inclusion of the Messages app, which allows users to have their iMessages from their iOS devices synced to their Mac. That way they can chat with other iMessage users without being subjected to just their iPhone.

Messages makes its way back in OS X Mavericks, and if you’re like me and waited until Mavericks before upgrading from OS X Lion, this is the first time that you’re getting access to iMessage on the Mac. Setting it up and getting iMessages to sync can be a little tricky, so we’ll show how to do that in this quick guide. Hopefully you’ll be on your way to cross-platform iMessaging in no time.


Start with Your iPhone or iPad

iMessage should sync up with all of your Apple devices together as long as all of them are signed in under the same Apple ID, but surprisingly, it doesn’t work that smoothly sometimes. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. 2013-11-13 15.17.32Open up the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Messages.
  3. Tap on Send & Receive.
  4. Make sure your email address shows up at the top next to Apple ID. If not, tap on this and sign in with your Apple ID.
  5. Also, make sure your phone number is selected under the section titledĀ Start New Conversations From.

Repeat these four steps on all of your other iOS devices. This will allow you to send and receive iMessages not just between your iPhone and Mac, but you’ll be able to add in an iPad you might have lying around as well.

Sync iMessages with Your Mac

Screenshot 2013-11-13 15.19.45

The steps for setting up iMessage on your Mac is similar to that of iOS, except it’s simply a different user interface:

  1. Open up the Messages app.
  2. Click on Messages in the menubar in the top-left corner and then select Preferences (or just hit Cmd + comma on your keyboard).
  3. Next, click on the Accounts tab and you should see your Apple ID email address in the sidebar. If not, click on the + sign at the bottom and add your Apple ID.
  4. Once added, click on it and you’ll see some similar settings that you did on your iOS device. Simply make sure that Enable this account is checked, along with your phone number further below.
  5. At the bottom of the Preferences pane, make sure your phone number is selected from the dropdown menu under Start new conversations from.

After that’s set up, you should be good to go, and any iMessages you receive on your iOS device will also show up on your Mac, and vice versa. If you ever have problems with iMessages syncing, simply log out of iMessage on all of your Apple devices and log back in; this is a quick fix and it works most of the time when dealing with iMessage syncing problems.