iMessage is an Apple service that sends messages over Wi-Fi or cellular connections to other iOS devices (with iOS 5 or later), Mac computers (with OS X 10.8 or later), and Apple Watches. These messages don’t count against your messaging plan. Messages sent via iMessage can include photos, videos, and other info.
FaceTime is an Apple service that makes video or audio calls to someone who’s also using an iOS device or a Mac, or audio calls using an Apple Watch. These calls don’t count against your cellular minutes.
We designed iMessage and FaceTime to use end-to-end encryption, so there’s no way for Apple to decrypt the content of your conversations when they are in transit between devices. When a passcode or password is set on your iOS or watchOS device, stored messages are encrypted on your device so that they can’t be accessed unless the device has been unlocked.
You can choose to automatically delete your iMessages from your device after 30 days or a year, or to keep them on your device forever. For your convenience, iMessages are backed up in iCloud and encrypted if you have either iCloud Backup or Messages in iCloud enabled. You can turn off both iCloud Backup and Messages in iCloud whenever you want. On iOS, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud. On macOS, open Messages, choose Messages > Preferences, select iMessage, and turn off “Enable Messages in iCloud.” We never store the content of FaceTime calls.
You can sign into iMessage and FaceTime using your Apple ID, or just your phone number. If you sign in with your Apple ID on your device, you will be signed in to iMessage and FaceTime automatically. Your Apple ID or phone numbers will be shown to the people you contact, and people can reach you using your Apple ID, and email addresses or phone numbers on your account. You can select which phone numbers or email addresses you’d like to start new conversations from, and which phone numbers or email addresses you can receive messages and reply from, in iMessage and FaceTime settings. You can add and verify additional “Reachable At” information from your Apple ID account page.
Apple may record and store some information related to your use of iMessage and FaceTime to operate and improve Apple’s products and services:
- When you use iMessage and FaceTime, Apple may store information about your use of the services in a way that doesn’t identify you.
- iMessages that can’t be delivered may be held by Apple for up to 30 days for redelivery.
- Apple may record and store information about FaceTime calls, such as who was invited to a call, and your device’s network configurations, and store this information for up to 30 days. Apple doesn’t log whether your call was answered, and can’t access the content of your calls.
- Some apps on your device (including Messages and FaceTime) may communicate with Apple’s servers to determine if other people can be reached by iMessage or FaceTime. When this happens, Apple may store these phone numbers and email addresses associated with your account, for up to 30 days.
By using these features, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information as described above.