Deemable Tech: iMessage Isn't iWorking




Q: I thought that when iOS 6.0 came out iMessage was supposed to be synchronized between the iPad and the iPhone. I have an iPad and an iPhone, and my husband has an iPhone, but he has to send texts to either my iPad or iPhone. It doesn't send his text messages to both. Did I setup something wrong?

A: Usually when Apple makes something “it just works,” right? This time, not so much. For our readers that don't have iOS devices, iMessage is a text messaging system that works on iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. It replaces text messaging for folks using those devices. So, your iMessage texts don't use your texting plan, but go over your data plan instead.

The problem was that you had to keep track of which device you were messaging. So, for instance, I could send a message to my wife’s iPhone or her iPad, but not to both at the same time. And to make things worse, iMessage would show the message based on who sent it, not which device sent it. So, I would have two message threads that both had my wife’s name on them. It was really frustrating, and there wasn't anything we could do about it. The problem was that on an iPhone, you signed into iMessage with your phone number, but on the iPad and iPod touch you signed in with your email address.

Then, iOS 6 came out, and you could sign into iMessage on any device with multiple sign-ins, including additional email addresses and your phone number. That was supposed to fix the problem. Now, all your iMessages would appear on all of your devices; which is great, except for the fact that they didn't.

iOS 6 did fix the problem, but it didn't fix it automatically. If you want to sync your iPhones, iPad and iPods across iMessage, you'll have to follow a couple of steps. First, open the Settings app on all of your devices and go to Messages, and tap Send & Receive. Then, scroll down to the heading that reads “Start new conversations from:” Make sure that you are using same sign-in in this field on every device. If you have an iPhone, I would suggest using your iPhone’s number, but otherwise, just make sure you are using the same email address. Also, if you have multiple Apple IDs, make sure you are using the same Apple ID for iMessage on all of your devices. Then you should be good. Try it out, and see if you get your messages on all of your devices at the same time.


Ray Hollister co-hosts the call-in help show Deemable Tech. Each week, he and his co-host, Tom Braun, answer questions submitted by users and provide helpful tips about computers, tablets, mobile phone, the Internet and technology in general. Need tech help? Call 1-888-972-9868 or send them an email at Listen to the show on their website, or subscribe to Deemable Tech's podcast by clicking here, searching for "Deemable Tech" in iTunes, or by entering the RSS feed,, in your favorite podcast app.