How to Sign Into iMessage on iPhone, iPad & MacBooks

By John Adebimitan

iMessage allows Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch users send messages over cellular data or WiFi. However, although signing in is relatively straightforward, some first-time users have reported having issues signing in and completing other necessary settings as you have to activate your iMessage before you start using it.

So, in this article, I’ll show you how to sign into iMessage on iPhone and other Apple devices. I’ll also walk you through the issues you’re likely to encounter with iMessages and tips on how to fix them.

How to sign into iMessage on iPhone

  1. Go to Settings >> Messages, turn on iMessage
  2. Log in with the same Apple ID you use on your other devices.

How to sign into iMessage on Mac

  1. Open your “Messages” app. You can open it from the dock or the desktop.
  2. Click the Messages option.
  3. If you’ve never used Messages on that Mac before, you’ll need to sign in or create an Apple ID. First, enter your username and password. Then, to register for a new account, click “Create Apple ID.”
  4. Click Preferences
  5. Click Accounts.
  6. Click the iMessage account in the menu on the left side
  7. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  8. Then click on Sign In.

How to activate iMessage on iPhone

  1. Open “Settings” on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down to Messages and tap it
  3. Move the iMessage slider to “ON” until the slider turns green.
  4. Tap on Send & Receive to open an iMessage settings menu where you can set which email addresses and phone numbers you want to use to send and receive messages.
  5. Tap an email address or phone number to activate it until a checkmark appears next to the account.

How to turn Read Receipts ON or OFF in iMessages for iPhone or iPad for everyone

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Go to Messages
  3. To turn ON receipts, toggle on Send Read Receipts until you see it turn green. To turn it OFF, ensure the toggle is switched to the left.

How to turn Read Notification ON or OFF for someone on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap open the conversation you want to turn Read Notification ON or OFF for.
  3. Touch the name of the person at the top.
  4. Tap on the “i” that appears.
  5. Activate or deactivate receipts by toggling the Send Read Receipt ON or OFF.

How to turn message previews ON or OFF in iMessages

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone
  2. Scroll down to Notifications  
How to Sign Into iMessage on iPhone
  • Tap on Messages under the Notification Style
How to Sign Into iMessage on iPhone
  • Scroll down to the Options section
  • Next, tap Show Previews. Then “Always choose“, “When Unlocked” or “Never.”
How to Sign Into iMessage on iPhone

Images source: Emma Witman/Business Insider

Why is my iMessage not working on my iPhone?

Below are the common reasons why an iMessage will not work on your iPhone, reasons it’s not working, and tips to fix the problem:

#1. Your iMessage is not sending

Note that iMessages are only sent between users of iOS devices (Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch). So, for example, if your recipient has an Android and a Mac with iMessage activated, he will receive the iMessage on his Apple computer and not on his smartphone.

Are you sure your friend has an iPhone, yet your iMessage hasn’t been delivered? Either he hasn’t activated iMessage (Settings >> Messages >>  iMessage ), or he recently switched to an Android.

#2. The iMessage server is down

If you think iMessage’s server is down, go to Apple’s System Status page. This indicates the status of all Apple services (iTunes, iCloud, FaceTime, etc.). When a problem is detected, Apple reports it and takes care of fixing it. However, all Apple services are operating optimally at the time of writing.

How to Sign Into iMessage on iPhone

You can also go to the  Down Detector page. Just enter the name of the service in the search engine at the top right corner, in this case, iMessage, and then a graph will automatically generate. It shows all iMessage outages seen in the last 24 hours.

#3. Your internet connection is poor

To use iMessage, it is necessary to have a good internet connection (3G, 4G, 5G, or WiFi). So, you need to check the status of your network.

Toggle Airplane Mode ON and OFF, then observe the reception signal. Also, make sure you haven’t exhausted your cellular data; otherwise, connect to a nearby WiFi hotspot (Settings >> WiFi).

If you cannot join a wireless network, perform a reset of your settings, Settings >> General >> Reset >> Reset network settings.

#4. iMessage isn’t set-up correctly

Make sure iMessage is set up correctly. To do this, go to Settings >> Messages. Ensure iMessage is activated. In the Send & Receive option, ensure you have the correct phone number and email address.

I suggest that you deactivate and then reactivate your addresses and numbers.

#5. Close and relaunch Messages

I also suggest that you close the Messages application and relaunch it. Double-press the Home button and swipe the app window up your screen. Then open it again. If the Messages app is not responding, you can try to reset it. 

  1. Go to Settings >> Messages and turn it OFF to do this.
  2. Next, turn OFF Send & Receive and sign out of your Apple account.
  3. Now turn OFF and reboot your iPhone.
  4. After this Reset, see if the Messages app is working correctly. Then, re-enable iMessages and log back into your Apple account.

#6. You have too many messages

Consider freeing up space on your iPhone by deleting SMS and MMS. These can slow down the Messages app.

  1. To delete them, choose your conversation
  2. Tap the message
  3. Select Delete

Note that it is possible to configure your iPhone to delete your messages automatically.

  1. Go to Messages
  2. Select Keep Messages
  3. Choose the 30-day option

In addition, lowering the quality of images and photos also frees up storage space and lightens the Message application. Head to Settings >> Messages, then turn OFF the Lower Picture Quality option

#7. iOS is out of date

An iOS update can also resolve your iMessage issue. So, I recommend updating it if it’s not already updated. Go to Settings >> General >> Software Update to do this.

#8. Your time zone is incorrect or not automatically set

The iMessage app works with your time zone. It must be set to update automatically, or your iMessage will not work.

To ensure your device updates automatically, go to Settings >> General >> Date & Time and set the time zone Automatically to ON.

#9. Your iPhone setting needs a full reset

If iMessage remains stuck despite the previous tips, consider doing a full reset of your iPhone.

Go to Settings >> General, then tap Reset All Settings.

#10. Take it to the Genius Bar

If the issue remains unresolved, I recommend you book an appointment at the Genius Bar of an Apple Store using this link.

How do I restore iMessages on my iPhone?

You can easily restore them from any other device as iOS syncs your data to all your devices if the sync feature is turned ON or by restoring from iCloud, iTunes Backup, or the iMessage Recovery Software.

  1. To restore from iCloud, erase your iPhone content and settings by going to Settings >> General. Then look for Reset and tap on Erase All Content and Settings.
  2. Reboot your iPhone and set it up following the on-screen instructions
  3. When you get to Apps & Data, select “Restore from iCloud Backup” 
  4. Log in to iCloud and choose the backup you wish to restore
  5. Finish the restore procedure, and your backup data which includes deleted iMessages, will restore to your device.

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